The Kanye West Controversy Show Just How Tribal Public Discourse Is

Kanye West recently kicked off an online furore when he tweeted in support of Donald Trump and American conservative pundit Candace Owens who runs a well-known YouTube channel called “Red Pill Black” in which she rails against African-American support for the Democratic Party.

It is certainly not a secret that Kanye West has supported Donald Trump in the past. He said that he would have voted for Trump in the 2016 election and paid a high-profile visit to Trump in Trump Tower just after his win. Though, his support for Trump has been somewhat fickle; he also tweeted in 2017 that he was “done with Trump”, so who knows how long this current bout of Trumpism will last.

Predictably, Kanye’s recent tweets have ignited a fierce partisan row, with many of his fans expressing disappointment in his political views. Some have even questioned his mental stability. Right-wing Twitter, however, has been excitedly retweeting Kanye’s political commentary.

I don’t personally share Kanye West’s political opinions. I’m not even sure how serious he is about them. But the reaction to his tweets has been completely over the top. It shows just how difficult it is to create genuinely pluralistic political discourse. It very quickly collapses into tribalism, with one side claiming defeat and the other victory.

We need to move beyond this if we want a mature public discussion.


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Candice Holdsworth

Candice Holdsworth is the founder and editor of Imagine Athena. It is mythologised that she sprang fully formed from its pages. Candice has an MSc in Political Philosophy from the London School of Economics, and thus can be most commonly found discussing ideas and culture. Her writing can also be found on Thought Leader and On Netflix Now. Follow her on Twitter @CandiceCarrie and Instagram @candicecholdsworth