Lists, Pop Culture, Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

Three Quick Thoughts On Kanye, Kim, And Confrontation Contemplation

KIM KARDASHIAN and Kanye West Out Dinner

1. A couple is at a mall. She has a couple stores she wants to visit, and he’s hungry, so they separate for a half hour or so while he goes to the food court. While separated, the woman accidentally bumps into a man while she’s leaving a store. She apologizes, but he calls her a “f*cking bitch.” She confronts him after he says it. (“Wait. What the hell did you just say?”) But, he ignores her and keeps walking. Pissed, she leaves the store. The boyfriend, however, is still at the food court. Or maybe he walked to Macy’s. Wherever he is, he’s not there.

With that in mind, If you’re the woman in this situation, do you tell your man about what happened? If so, do you wait until he comes back to meet you? Or do you go find/text/call him immediately? Or do you do none of the above and just tell mall security?

I posed this scenario to my fiancee last night. Her reply was that she would tell me. But not if it meant I would do something about it. Which manages to make perfect sense and absolutely no sense at the same time.

It’s not her fault that it makes no sense. The scenario is pretty much a lose/lose. I understand her urge to tell me. I also understand that she wouldn’t want me confronting (and potentially fighting) random assholes. This is how people (and by “people” I mean “Black men”) get arrested. And worse.

But at the same time, as a man, you can’t not do anything when someone insults your woman like that. So, even if it’s not her intent, telling the man in that situation is basically forcing a confrontation.

My perspective makes just as little sense. You definitely don’t want your woman to keep something like that from you. But — and I think I speak for most men here — you don’t exactly want to have to confront and potentially fight someone either. Of course, you’ll do it if you have to. But it’s just not something you want to have to do. If anything, this could make you more upset at the asshole, because now you’re thinking “Man, why are you forcing me to f*cking confront your silly ass? I’m a f*cking grown up! I don’t want to do this. She doesn’t want me to do this. And, you definitely don’t want me to do this. But now, I have to do this. F*ck!”

With this in mind, after reading that Kanye West reportedly punched a man who called Kim Kardashian a “nigger lover,” I sympathize with him. Although he wasn’t necessarily right, I’m sympathetic to the position an act like that can put a man in. Most men — yes, Black men too — are not actively looking for fights. In fact, while you don’t cower from physical confrontation, part of making it to a certain age as a Black man is learning how to avoid situations where that’s a possibility. So, even if the “nigger lover” comment (more on that later) didn’t get him upset, when someone makes a comment like that, they’re effectively removing choice from the person the comment was directed towards. Yes, you can still choose to turn the other cheek, but he’s forcing your hand by making you have to consider unfavorable options. And, while that may not be enough to punch someone in the face, I understand.

2. I’ve never been called a “nigger” (at least not to my face), and I feel like I’m missing a valuable rite of Blackness by not experiencing that. Now, I don’t want it to happen — I’m happy to continue with my “nigger”-less life — but I do wonder what would happen if it did. I think I’d be more incredulous than anything (“They still make people who call people niggers? Damn! Who knew?“), but I can also imagine putting on an angry act out of principle. Maybe I wouldn’t start throwing shit at the walls, but there’d be some furniture moving. Well, maybe not some furniture. But my brow would be furrowed like a motherf*cker.

Seriously though, although the Glover skit I linked jokingly alluded to this, there really isn’t a wrong emotional reaction to being called a nigger. If it upsets you, that’s reasonable and understandable. If it doesn’t upset you, that’s also reasonable and understandable. I wouldn’t quite call it a racial Rorschach test, but I do think the reaction to something like that says a lot about how you personally view race and racism.

3. Kim Kardashian is known for dating Black men. She has a child by one, and is engaged to that man. Her popularity is also largely due to the fact that she has certain physical features commonly associated with women of color, Black women specifically.

But, as VSB contributor Maya Francis reiterated in a Facebook status last night, she is not a Black woman.

“As black women, many of us get a lecture and/or figure out on our own there’s some things we best keep to ourselves… because police. As in, I’m not calling my boyfriend/brother/father because someone called me names. You call in the army when you’re ready for war, otherwise, hold your head high and block it out. I’m not saying it’s fair (and this is one of those intersectionality moments), but black women (for right or wrong) don’t often call in for reinforcements as a means to protect the men they love.

So here lies Kimmy’s teachable moment about “not seeing race” if she decides to take it that way. I’m not saying that Kim wasn’t within her right to call him. I’m just saying a lot of us wouldn’t want to. I’m not even saying that Kanye’s behavior is extraordinary; I’m sure many a black man would WANT to do exactly what he did under this particular set of circumstances. However.

I’m not sure many of us would’ve made that call. I’m sure many of us would’ve walked in the facility and called security, and told our boyfriends/brothers/fathers before the day was over while explaining why we didn’t tell them when it happened. Is it fair? No. Do black men have the right to defend us? Absolutely. But police.”

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. He resides in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes.

  • http://vagabondaesthetics.tumblr.com/ Ricky

    Just don’t ask me to fight for you if you’re not going to respect me if I get my a** whooped.

    • SuperStrings

      Or if I get shot.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        Word, Cats don’t fight no more.

        • http://vagabondaesthetics.tumblr.com/ Ricky

          Gun control means using both hands in my land.

          STAKES IS HIGH!

          • Sigma_Since 93

            Nice De La Soul reference.

          • SuperStrings

            Classic

    • locks & beards

      oh dear heavenly Father.

  • iamnotakata

    After cursing the rude guy the entire f**k out I would likely tell my guy about the incident when we are already in the car heading out, saves lives.

    • girlgetalife

      Exactly. If you know your man is hot-tempered, why would you involve him in some mess, especially when your physical being was not threatened?

    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

      I don’t think Kim wants Kanye to prosper personally. Everyone knows he’s quick to anger and has little, if any, control over his emotions. She knew what was going to happen. She recorded Kanye confronting him. She wanted it to escalate to that level as far as I’m concerned.

    • http://wildcougarconfessions.com Wild Cougar

      This is me totally. He called me a name. So what. He didn’t threaten my safety. I would respond by calling him names back, or more likely, rolling my eyes and moving on. I’m a big girl, unless I’m in physical danger, I can handle it. If I tell my man it’s a “can you believe what happened at the mall” kinda thing. Adults don’t fight over words.

      • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

        Thank you WC.

  • Yonnie

    What your friend said on Facebook was accurate. Kim wasn’t in any danger. It was irresponsible of her to call Kanye knowing what kind of man he is (impulsive, lacks self-control) and knowing what kind of position this puts him in. I mean, really, what was the purpose of calling him if not to see some type of confrontation (physical or otherwise). And why would she, or any of us, want to see our man in a physical confrontation? It is great that he’s willing to protect and defend her but I think she should have used some discretion. It really wasn’t necessary in this case.

    • iamnotakata

      I would have been too much like right for the attention wh*re of the century to use or even know what discretion is.

      • Yonnie

        If Kanye weren’t wearing the rose-colored love goggles, he’d see that she didn’t have his best interest at heart in this situation. In my book, that’s serious cause for concern.

        • girlgetalife

          Kanye can’t think straight when it comes to Kim, because… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5a8Zu8I8yT0

          • LeeLee

            I Love this! True song, dope video, perfect reference!

          • Yoles

            i remember when i used to dance like this… so hard and having the time of my life on the dance floor…

    • TheOtherJerome

      Cut the woman some slack. She was basically threatened so she called her man. She is not the first, nor the last woman to do this.

      • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

        I’m with you on this. Dumb as it is, I can’t necessarily say that anyone was necessarily wrong. I understand that’s it’s dangerous to put your man in danger, but people do dumb stuff when provoked in a tight spot.

      • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

        ppl letting their biases control the narrative

        • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

          I didn’t realize the Kim K hatred was that real in these streets. #nocountryforsnowbunnies

          • HarteeHarHar

            Um, I’ve seen a lot worse said about Kim K than the above which is actually pretty tame.

      • Yonnie

        See that’s the thing. She wasn’t threatened. An asshole shouted some horrible things to her IN PASSING. Granted, that sucks. But then she watched which office he went into, she called her man, and they went after him in the office. I think that was both irresponsible and selfish of her.

        • pls

          i’m with you yonnie. not because i hate everything kim stands for (she’s not a bad person, i just hate her ways).

          she’s basically been living life as a light skinned black woman since 2007 and has been dating black men since high school. i’m sure this ain’t her first rodeo with racial slurs. that being said, i do think she was wrong.

          maybe she really didn’t know what to do right then and there. but if i know my bf/baby daddy is crazy as hell i’m not gonna give him a reason to potentially get locked up and ruin his/our livelihood. you don’t have to be black to understand that.

    • pls

      honestly i think this is a story line for the show. ye just doesn’t/didn’t know it yet.

      similar to how kim was quoted as saying her goal was to be pregnant in 2013 (nevermind married, or even divorced from her 2nd husband…just pregnant with ye’s baby, i’m sleep though -_-). sneaky

  • TheShip

    “I’m not sure many of us would’ve made that call. I’m sure many of us would’ve walked in the facility and called security, and told our boyfriends/brothers/fathers before the day was over while explaining why we didn’t tell them when it happened.”

    The key point here is the Black community HATES snitches/snitching/being snitched on… and Kim snitched.

    (1) Black people don’t want to look weak, look like they can’t handle the situation on their own or air their dirty laundry (even if it’s a woman being harassed)

    (2) They don’t want to confront their allegiances (to whomever), whether that’s the allegiance to their man’s pride, their own or the Black community.

    snitching 101

    ::popping vsb cherry::

    • girlgetalife

      I call BS on the ‘black community hates snitches’ thing. Black people, in general, are the most gossipy of all people, always telling folks’ business to others. When people don’t cooperate with police, it’s usually because they are afraid. If we don’t fear for our lives, we have no problem telling what we saw and who we saw doing it. Only whack thugs hate snitches.

    • Val

      Speak for yourself. Black people are no different than any other group. I’m tired of this BS that we don’t snitch. Black people don’t snitch when they feel to do so would put them in a worse situation than they are already in. That’s just common sense.Just like any other reasonable person no matter the ethnicity.

      And, for the record the biggest offenders in the no snitch world are police. They talk ish about Black folks not snitching but let one of them do wrong and they all keep they mouths shut.

    • eyecande

      Why do you think this particular situation qualifies as snitching? I wouldn’t have told (at least not at any time that provided a window of opportunity for Ye to get all Yeish) but IMHO, this ain’t snitchin.

    • The Champ

      while its true that not all Black people have an antagonistic relationship with the police, you (well, val and girlgetalife) have to admit that mindset does exist with very many of us. involving an “outside” source, whether it’s cops, security guards, or even someone like a teacher is frowned upon by many of us. there are myriad reasons for this — the most notable being a latent (and justifiable) distrust of certain authority figures — but you can’t deny that way of thinking doesn’t exist.

      • Val

        I don’t think the no snitch thing exists the way it is portrayed amongst Black folks. Like I said below, we just use common sense when it comes to opening our mouths about something. And, I really don’t see how that makes us so different from any other group of people. Sometimes it’s just not safe to go to law enforcement.

        • girlgetalife

          Right…you can’t let the block see you talking to the cops if you think someone from the block is going to retaliate. I don’t disagree that there is a serious and justifiable distrust of law enforcement in our community, but I’ve never known a reasonable (i.e. someone who isn’t a criminal and who isn’t a kid who believes rap music is real life) black person to not report a crime when they felt safe doing so. Now, they may dread talking to the cops and talk ish about the cops when they leave…but they will talk to them.

        • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

          You’re talking out of both sides of your mouth. It seems like you don’t want this to be the case more than it’s an actual fact. Pretending that Black people don’t have a unique relationship to police thanks to our history, above and beyond other groups in the US, is being equivocal, to say the least.

    • Yoles

      wrt snitching… I’m going to tell… that whole snitches get stitches and other codes of silence is a criminal code of conduct and EYE am no criminal… i feel that criminals have taken over… and it has turned everything upside down… having seriously ignorant black entertainers saying that if they found out they lived next door to a serial killer they would just move but never tell… what part of life is that?!?! i feel like I’m on one of those movies in which i am in a head scarf and rollers at a town hall meeting yelling WE NEED TO TAKE BACK OUR STREETS!

      i don’t want to be associated nor will i allow myself to be in with people that think like that…

      in closing: don’t rob, cheat, kill, kidnap, home invade, carjack, rape, steal and let me see or know about it… because i AM telling…

      • http://trulytafakari.com/ dtafakari

        tell em, Yoles!

      • Kema

        ” i feel like I’m on one of those movies in which i am in a head scarf and rollers at a town hall meeting yelling WE NEED TO TAKE BACK OUR STREETS!”

        I’m right next to you Yoles… Not yelling but shaking my fist.

    • http://trulytafakari.com/ dtafakari

      In its original form, snitching implies complicity with whatever crime has occurred. You can’t snitch if you’re a victim; that’s called reporting a crime.

      With that said, if the “Black community” hates being snitches/snitched on, then they should stop doing stupid illegal isht.

      Like Yoles said, whatever “Black community” you’re referring to, I must not be a part of it. Because I’m not about to let someone violate me and rock in a corner in silence or take a Glock into my own hands over it. There are better ways.

      • Rachmo

        Yes ma’am

    • SuperStrings

      “Black community HATES snitches/snitching/being snitched on”
      Bull ish. The “black” community is talking out of both sides of their mouths on this one. Everyone is against snitching until they’re the victim. They talk that ish until someone runs up in their house and steals all their stuff. If you’re not Nat Turner, Nelson Mandela, Marcus Garvey, Martin, Malcolm, or someone genuinely dedicated to the empowerment and advancement of our people, then “no snitching” does not apply to you.

      • Rachmo

        I stay knowing where the police department is.

      • 321mena123

        My friend works with the cops a lot. He asked them about this lack of snitching “problem” in the black community and the cops flat out told him “where do you think we get our tips from? There is always someone who is willing to talk. It really isn’t hard for us to find out what, where and how it happened.”

        I think the real problem is getting people to testify in court.

        • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

          ohmgosh i heard some ish about snitches when i was working on a graffiti project that blew my mind. folks out here be double agents. it’s wild.

  • bworthington

    Its not so much that they still make racist people as it is that the ones that were made decades ago haven’t all died off yet.

    The overall principle, standing up for your woman’s virtue is a lose/lose for Black men. It almost never ends well.

    • nillalatte

      I was thinking/hoping that the racists would die off, but sometimes I see/hear things that totally contradicts the hope.

    • eyecande

      The ones that haven’t died off are still making racists. The level of racism among young people (children, tweens, etc) was made alarmingly clear to me during the whole “What?! There are BLACK characters in the Hunger Games?! EWW!” debacle a few years ago. And the internet is providing a lovely breeding ground for it.

      • bworthington

        Not ALL racists are the old ones, but the younger generations are far more tolerant than their parents were.

        The net does breed a lot of keyboard racists.

        • Val

          Tolerant? I wouldn’t call the yearly round of “ghetto parties” at college campuses around the country tolerance.

          • http://trulytafakari.com/ dtafakari

            I rather hate the word tolerance now. What we are really calling for is acceptance, not tolerance. People tolerate you by not assaulting you or not confronting you. Tolerance is the lowest form of social interaction, really. If I tolerate you in my space, I really don’t want you there. I won’t bother you, but I don’t give a f### if you’re offended either.

            • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

              The problem with acceptance is that not everyone wants to be around some people, and short of a totalitarian regime which mandates friendships and acquaintances, you can’t do much about it.

            • Jay

              Exactly. Tolerance is the bare minimum.

            • h.h.h.

              Question from the back:

              is there a term for the (grey) area between tolerance and acceptance?

              from my personal experiences, this is where i reside, so i just wanted to get clarification

              • http://trulytafakari.com/ dtafakari

                Iont eeem know, h.h.h. Peace?

          • Kozy

            I’m thinking it’s just a different brand of racism there. no less valid, though. more like a Wal-Mart brand as opposed to a named one.

        • eyecande

          True. I was just surprised that the gap between the generations in tolerance wasn’t as wide as I previously believed.

    • Yonnie

      While the whole “racists dying off” thing sounds good in theory, that theory is quickly dispelled by one or two quick twitter searches during a beauty pageant, political debate, or sporting event/press conference. I used to be amazed at seeing young racists, but not anymore.

      • bworthington

        I’m just saying that for each new racist that develops, we are losing about 3 old ones. They aren’t replenishing them as quickly.

        • Shamira

          we lose active racists, but passive ignorance is born every day. are we really winning?

          • bworthington

            I’m actually more concerned about our lack of action as a community…but that is a whole ‘nother discussion.

  • nillalatte

    Wow. Welcome to ranks of ni**er lovers Kim K! Yup, had this happen a couple of times. Come on. I was raised in the South. Unfortunately, I don’t think those prejudice, misinformed attitudes change rapidly. Case in point, Duck Dynasty. Ugh. At any rate, no, I did not relay these encounters to the man I was with. Why? So, he can get mad, testosterone exploding and get thrown in jail? Nah, we don’t play it like that. Ignorance is not worth my energy.

  • 321mena123

    I wouldn’t tell a man as volatile as Kanye that the cook at the chicken shack messed up my order let alone something like this. Kim knows her man and him fighting dude probably fed her ego.

    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

      Agreed. Kim actually had the incident recorded. She wanted the confrontation to happen.

  • Val

    I really don’t get why having some random idiot call you a name is a reason to get upset. I couldn’t care less if you call me a name . What am I a three year old? If you aren’t my boss, a cop, a doctor or a personal acquaintance then it’s a whatever moment for me.I’ll just keep it moving. Heck, I’m even liable to laugh at you calling me a name.

    • girlgetalife

      I really wish that ‘black people don’t snitch’ myth would die.

      • Val

        Well, it’s just one of the many things people try to make true about us by saying it over and over. But, I wish it would die too.

      • SuperStrings

        Yeah, add me to that list. I mean, if you were Nat Turner, then I’d keep my mouth shut. Robbing people’s houses and selling crack to kids though. Yeah, you don’t deserve the privilege of not snitching. Besides, all that “no snitching” ish goes out the window when your house gets robbed, you KNOW someone saw something, but no says ish. You’ll be hoping and praying someone would snitch.

    • h.h.h.

      I really don’t get why having some random idiot call you a name is a reason to get upset.

      sorry for giving my opinion, But women get upset all the time and call it street harassment. maybe this time kim didn’t want to deal anymore. or maybe the cameras were rolling.

      • iamnotakata

        There is a huge difference between the two….

      • Val

        The main reason we get upset about street harassment is that it happens so much. It happens not just daily but many times a day, every day, for most of our lives. There is a difference.

        • h.h.h.

          There is a difference.

          #AgreetoDisagree

          • Val

            You’re being obtuse.

          • Thriftybynature

            Hmmm…I’m of the opinion that they are not mutually exclusive.

          • Rachmo

            I actually see where you are going here.

    • TheOtherJerome

      I don’t know Val, if some random weirdo jumped in your face and called you all types of names you mean you’d just laugh it off? Most would be shocked, then defensive i think.

      • Val

        I might be shocked but I’m in control of myself not some random person on the street. So, just because they decide to throw insults at me doesn’t mean my world is going to stop and I’m going to join in or even be offended.

    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

      Lol I guess for someone like Kim to have lived a sheltered life away from bigotry and racism, that’s a shock for her. I think I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been called a myriad of racial slurs. At this point in my life, you have to physically assault me to draw any sort of reaction from me.

  • LehcarB

    Never been one to get upset over words. In this situation it’s one of those, “Hey guess what happen to me today?” conversations that we laugh and discuss later. Kim simply did not know her man. Or at least forgot momentarily forgot who her man was; A man who is known for emotional outbursts. Here we are..

    Sn: I’ve never been called a n*gger either and I always wondered what I would do.

    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

      Yeah u gotta know ya man, I’ve had my girl or my sister tell me things after the fact and while I was frustrated at the time in hindsight it was the right call

  • HarteeHarHar

    But she was once caught on video smiling during another one of Kanye’s confrontations with a paparazzo who was inquiring about Kim’s feelings on Reggie Bush’s new baby and engagement or something to that effect. I mean when you think deeply about this it reminds of a more extreme situation that was chronicled the First 48 in which a woman called a dude after she had gotten into it with another man and his female cousin and dude just rang the doorbell shot homie in the face execution style at the door step, no questions asked just based solely off of ol’ girl’s testimony. And this chick during her confession actually admitted to stepping over the body with no care in the world and leaving with the killer. Yeah, so, the men if my life (especially one of my brothers who’s a hot-headed gun owner) don’t need to be called to help me fight my battles. You’ll get an after report.