US rapper @KanyeWest’s comment referring to slavery as a choice applies to Filipinos who choose to be slaves too


American rapper Kanye West’s latest controversial remarks have angered not just the usual Liberal-minded mob, but also his fellow African-Americans. After all, he wasn’t just showing his love for his “boy” American President Donald Trump, he was analysing black slavery – something some people think he is no authority on.

During a recent interview on the US entertainment site TMZ, West suggested that African Americans who were brought to America starting in the 17th to the 19th century “chose” to remain slaves:

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“When you hear about slavery for 400 years … for 400 years? That sounds like a choice.”

It’s not surprising why his remarks would attract outrage. Slavery may have been abolished in America in 1865, but segregation only officially became outlawed all over the US in 1964. That’s just half a century ago. Meaning, blacks were not allowed to mix with white folks before that. One can only imagine the emotional scars that still haunt some African Americans until now.

The problem with some people who were quick to react against West’s remarks is they were too angry to try and understand where he was coming from. They simply dismiss his explanation or his succeeding remarks trying to clarify himself. He did add that “We’re mentally imprisoned.”.

As someone who grew up free and who enjoys a lot of privileges, an outspoken West probably found it baffling why black people back then didn’t take matters into their own hands and fight back against their oppressors much, much earlier.  

I can understand where West is coming from. With the popularity of pop movies like Black Panther where black people are portrayed as possessing equal or even much more advanced technology and physical prowess than other ethnic groups, a lot of people like West are more enlightened nowadays and realise that the shackles attached to the black slaves centuries ago were in their minds, not on their bodies – they were psyched to think of themselves as lower class and not worthy to be anything else other than slaves. He made this point in his subsequent Twitter posts:

“We need to have open discussions and ideas on unsettled pain… to make myself clear. Of course I know that slaves did not get shackled and put on a boat by free will.”


“My point is for us to have stayed in that position even though the numbers were on our side means that we were mentally enslaved.”

Those who say that West’s remarks are stupid and disrespectful to those who suffered in the hands of their white masters are narrow-minded. His views may not be popular, but it doesn’t mean he is wrong. It doesn’t mean he is right either. The point is, there needs to be a continued discussion about issues especially since a lot of African Americans still hold grudges over their forefathers’ treatment and a lot still believe that the marginalisation of subsequent generations is a direct result of black segregation, which was only recently-outlawed.

No one has a monopoly on the truth. All ideas should be respected, even those we think are stupid. Our thinking processes should evolve so humanity can evolve. Not all blacks are right, just like not all whites are right. Not all blacks are wrong, just like not all whites are wrong. Just because you don’t agree with West doesn’t mean he is wrong. He actually has a strong point because the reason why African Americans are free today is because of the African Americans who fought for freedom and the white folks who helped them get it. All West is saying is, they could have fought earlier, like maybe 350 years earlier or something.

Of course it is easy to say it now in hindsight, but West is trying to promote the idea that African Americans cannot play victim forever especially since the US government has made concessions to promote equal opportunity for all regardless of colour. It’s all up to each individual now to make something of his life. Everyone in America whether black, white, yellow or brown can do whatever they want to succeed.

As a Filipino, I can relate with West’s views on slavery. I feel that way about millions of Filipinos today. Filipinos also have a history of being enslaved by their colonisers. The Spaniards occupied the Philippines for 300 years and treated Filipinos like second-class citizens. The fact that the name Philippines came from King Philip II of Spain means Filipinos can’t escape our former masters and will be reminded of their “generosity” in putting one name to the 7,000 islands they “discovered”.  

To this day, a lot of Filipinos still wear mental shackles and are still willing to be slaves to people who take advantage of them. We may be free from our former colonisers, but Filipinos still choose to be slaves to members of the Philippine oligarchy. Some of these “elite” were descendants of Spanish settlers and their native allies. A lot of Filipino voters today vote for the same bozos over and over even when it’s quite obvious public funds are being syphoned into the politicians’ personal pockets.

The Philippines’ modern-day slaves have minds imprisoned by their oligarchs.

A classic example of this are the supporters of the Liberal Party. They idolise members of the political party particularly land owners like the Aquinos and the Roxases. They think they are God’s gift to the Filipino people despite the criminal negligence they committed when they were in power for years. This is modern-day slavery and is no different to the mental slavery West was talking about. It has kept the Philippines backward for hundreds of years.

All those who condemn West for his unpopular views are similar to those who condemned people like us who criticised the mentality that kept some Filipinos beholden to members of the oligarchy for decades. It will take time for them to change their views especially if they refuse to listen.

16 Replies to “US rapper @KanyeWest’s comment referring to slavery as a choice applies to Filipinos who choose to be slaves too”

  1. A South Korean singing group just performed in Manila and the venue was SRO, so to speak. Could
    Filipinos go to South Korea to perform and get similar accolade? As far as I know, when Filipinos perform, they get such recognition from fellow Filipinos only. We have not been colonized by South Korea but it looks definitely like it. I guess the Filipino has ridiculously brought his colonial mentality to a new level.

    1. I’ve also heard that some Filipinos get discovered abroad, because they were barely noticed by fellow Filipinos. Was it Charice (or is it Jake, lol) who just placed third in a local contest, but upon singing in Youtube, got noticed in the US and got better recognition there? Then, after that moment of fame, Filipinos suddenly cling to her and claim they’re great because of her. It’s Pinoy Pride chicken again. This colonial mentality is all about seeking validation elsewhere, assuming that “international” recognition is great validation.

  2. Kanye West is simply speaking, what is in his mind. It is a free country in America; West decided to support Pres. Trump. The Blacks, who are mostly Democrats and beholden to Hilary Clinton, are outraged. The Liberals who are mostly Democrats, are more outraged too.

    It is stupid thinking for the African Americans. Because, it was the Democratic Party, who supported and fought for the continuation of slavery. It was the Republican Party, under the late, Pres. Abraham Lincoln, who freed the Black slaves.The Civil War was won by Pres. Lincoln.

    However, after the slaves became free; they became second class citizens of the U.S. There were Laws of Segregation, like the: Jim Crow Law, imposed in Southern States…. Jim Crow Law of black and white segregation, was the law in the Southern States…Blacks/colored people must sit at the back of the passenger buses. They must give their seats to white people in the passenger buses. Blacks/colored people are prevented to go to white restaurants, entertainment places, hotels, parks, etc… There were separate restrooms, one for blacks and another for whites. In education, Blacks/colored people cannot go to white universities or colleges. They were told not to pursue any education.

    It was only in the 1960’s, when civil rights leaders, like , Martin Luther King , Jr., fought for the civil rights of blacks and colored people. Until now, blacks are traumatized by those discrimination.

    Looking in our history. The Filipino Oligarchs, were mostly descendants of our Spanish colonizers. If you just observe any town in our country. You can see the Center of the town is a Poblacion or town proper. It is surrounded by agricultural lands. The inhabitants in the town proper , were mostly the landowners. The surrounding barrios, are inhabited by mostly the tenants (Indios) of the landowners, who are the tillers/tenants of their agricultural lands.

    It is the same in the set up of our government. Most of our political leaders, are the Oligarchs. Most of them are Hacienderos. Example: Aquino, Roxas, etc… So, I always call our government, a Feudal Oligarchy. By the way, is Land Reform being implemented ?

    We all still have that mindset : that, we are the Filipino Indios, and they are the Oligarch (colonizer) rulers. It is time for us to change our mindsets. The Spanish Colonizers are gone for more than a century. Yet, the “Padre Damaso”, of the Roman Catholic Church, are still there, minding in our political system.

  3. While I’m not a fan of Kanye, especially after that funny thing with Taylor Swift, he did say something that’s a gem no matter who says it. That could apply to people who have been in poverty long. It’s true that at times people are in poverty because of others’ actions. But as time passes, you also have the time to try and do something about it. So when poor people are in poverty for long, you could say they keep themselves there. Perhaps they want to stay there because they see being poor is their ticket to dole-outs. In that case, they don’t elicit pity anymore. Unless there’s another big factor keeping them locked down, then they should do something for their own situation.

  4. The Democrat Party has been experimenting with “Affirmative Action” and now on their platform “Reparations” with hundreds of years after the Civil War and no modern victims who were ever slaves, it has done absolutely nothing to uplift their culture, whether it’s the ghettos and social welfare, oh you can have Black Lives Matter cite Martin Luther King and Malcolm X all day long, the former would be disappointed with their state while the latter wouldn’t be surprised considering he saw first-hand how a post-colonial Africa looked like in the hands of it’s so called native people, it also applies to us, we can cry about foreign powers all day long with the Yellows wanting us to go to war with China with nothing while the average Filipino is being robbed by it’s native corrupt Government, or the Communists and Muslim Terrorists, but that’s okay according to them, because it’s your fellow Filipinos who are doing the robbing and killing against you, not foreigners.

  5. In the defense of this topic but not to Kanye West but I get a point on why he said that, especially to the issue on the Filipino people who are still or want to be a slave in the application on a modern day slavery that are seen to this day. The best example on what we’re talking about is our OFWs who are working abroad and on this recent news about a Filipina maid who’d died & tortured from her Syrian boss in Kuwait & later he’d dumped her unto a freezer from an abandoned apartment that kept there for a year & later strained the diplomatic relationship between our country & Kuwait. And due to that incident, President Duterte had called our OFWs there to pack their bags, leave their work in Kuwait & go home to our beloved country but some of them refused to go back here but rather stay & worked in Kuwait & they don’t care if they’ll be killed and/or abused by their Kuwaiti or other Arab bosses there for as long as if they could earn more money on their pockets in Kuwait. And if they will get home in here, there’s no guarantee if they could find a new job & hope here in our country unless if President Duterte lifted the 60/40 ownership mandated on our current Yellow Constitution & allow the foreign companies to heavily invest here in able to get more jobs to the Filipino people without leaving their home & work abroad, and of course if our president could shut up those oligarch masters in our country, but for now we could wait for this scenario but that’ll take some time. This is a modern day slavery, Philippine style, the Filipinos had no other choice but they become a slave to the non-Filipino masters abroad because they want to earn more money in spite of the cost of their lives rather than living & working in here forever without hope, better future & big fat money on their pockets. It’s a brain drain syndrome that plagued to the Filipino people for many years & that should be stop! This is a huge challenge to our president, and it’s really a big headache. 🙁

  6. “…you could say they keep themselves there. Perhaps they want to stay there because they see being poor is their ticket to dole-outs.”

    As if there’s such a thing as “perks of the poor”, ChinoF thinks that the KADAMAY types or those possesing like-minded attitudes is the official representation of the filipino poor!

    It’s not only impolite but improper as well for someone who, we presume, has been a freeloading moocher for years to his economically-abled parents up to a time until he has yet to achieve a certain degree of economic independence for himself.

    Sadly, it’s just the pseudo-intelligence and baloney entitlement of superiority of a lazy thinker who appears not to have an actual experience of wealth denial that makes him an ignorant pretender to even have the humility to understand or recognize certain aspects and dynamics of issues about poverty.

    Sometimes I have this feeling that some people like ChinoF, have deeply embraced the mindset of an arrogant elite that makes them perennially fixated on their lazy idea that being poor is always synonymous to being lazy. And that, by attacking certain negative inconsistencies of the filipino culture, they pride themselves with their phony thoughts of exemptions…tsk…tsk…tsk!

    In observation, ChinoF has contented himself of being an expert authority in identifying and criticizing every imagined faults (which is so much easier) but failed miserably, devoid of any actual and concrete attempts, in finding solutions to a problem to which he is actually a part of.

    There is no added value in an arrogant mindset to be gained that can be claimed. This attitude of imagined superiority is just an example of a completely useless hypocrisy.

    Given the “hand-to-mouth” condition of most poor in their “from womb-to-tomb” existence, the prospects for social upliftment become just a rude vicious cycle of denial (due to factors like lack of education, no work experience, no adequate skills/training, zero financial support, inadequate food, no social connections, no pertinent documentations, having health problems, old age, no permanent address, etc.). Coupled with the government’s failure to provide socio-economic conditions for opportunity, how could they possibly compete on an equal footing with the likes of the privileged class of ChinoF in a very competitive and limited job-market that proved to be insufficient even to accommodate the yearly batch of filipino graduates?

    (Out of the borders of this social complexity then gave rise to the so-called “dysfunctional” OFWism? But what GRP sees as a perspective of dysfunction is a very rare window of opportunity for upliftment. An alternative still not readily open to all poorer sectors as a choice. Still many of them are left behind. It’s the government’s duty/responsibility as leaders with vast powers and resources to help the marginals help themselves to end the dysfunction!)

    For some filipino pretenders, subjecting filipino cultural vagaries to mockery, is their only assigned social responsibility of choice.

    It’s about time for Chinof to change his game, especially, when he says, “…you also have the time to try and do “something” about it”! What is that “something” exactly? Can he present a real case study (not a theory) of that “something” that works and can be naturally repeated by others?!

    What separates true innovators of ideas from poseurs like ChinoF is their ability to formulate socio-economic prescriptions that will help the poor of societies uplift themselves up towards emancipation from poverty.

    1. Everyone comes into this world with no education, no work experience, no skills etc etc etc. We expect our parents to provide for us until we become thinking, responsible adults, and after that, the rest is up to us. If one knows that the government isn’t going to provide “socio-economic conditions for opportunity” then the answer is simple: you provide them for yourself. If one is dirt poor then one has only two choices: continue to remain poor tomorrow, or do something, anything, that moves you a step further towards being not-poor.

      I know a lot of chronically-poor people well enough to state that they are invariably the source of their own problems. Not only do they have no skills etc. – which is forgivable – but they have absolutely no intent to acquire such skills. Ever. How, exactly, do you propose those people can ‘uplift themselves’ if they don’t have the slightest desire to actually do so?

      While it’s true that the government is actively anti-business, anti-intellectual, and pro-poverty, the only people who can possibly be to blame for that scenario are the Filipino people. It is a government’s duty to allow people to behave like functioning adults, and if people want a government that does that, then they should support and elect officials who are likely to deliver it, instead of supporting the dull, the criminal, and the lazy in their political ambitions. Sadly, since the average Filipino citizen is dull, criminal and lazy, he’s more likely to elect those who most closely mirror his own ambitions.

    2. I’m flattered to be the dedicated subject of ad hominems and personal attacks without any real real point. Anyway, thanks Marius for being around to show them that I’m only one of many who think the above. If you’ve been poor too long, probably it’s because you don’t want to do anything at all, so lamenting “I’m poor, I’m poor” becomes inane at that point.

    3. @Marius, your first statement can be seen and recognized as an agreeable truth. The second statement, however, is only a conditional half-truth, a half-lie if you may (just an “ought to be” situation type of thing for some but not all), reserved to the select class of the moderately and the highly privileged few.

      How can neglected children expect something more (like education) from parents who, perhaps have been also neglected themselves by incapable parents (in a cycle of condition forced by circumstance), whose foremost problem upon waking up on a daily basis is to find ways for their next meal? It’s a very real scenario not everyone is considering and instead choosing to ignore. Making something easier said than done by poseurs who are outsiders of the actual experience!

      Anyway, who cannot agree with the “simple answer” you mentioned as an advice that, in the absence of any given conditions for one’s economic upliftment, “you (have to) provide them yourself”? As a matter of fact, it has been proven by some filipinos that it can be done, to name a few, with the likes of:

      1. Manny Pacquiao, who started as a poor hungry amateur boxer, then being a world champion to becoming a Senator, became a billionaire through his skills/dedication in the sport of boxing and, with the lucky association with the good guys in the industry, gave him his winning super prize fights;

      2. Boy Logro, an elementary undergrad who started as a houseboy, then from being a cook’s assistant to becoming a personal chef of His Majesty of State of Oman; and, as an OFW, he served a king, a princess, the Queen, and at least three former heads of state, then having the distinction of becoming an Executive Chef in 1995…the first Filipino to do so for a five-star luxury hotel;

      3. Juan Ponce-Enrile, the former Senate President’s humble beginnings began as a poor son of a poor fisherman’s daughter (a “labandera”)-born out of wedlock to a regional politician (he became rich courtesy of his affinity to a rich father who later took him in his wings (when already in his teenage years) and provided him with the best education and introduced him in the realm of professional legal practice and politics);

      4. Socorro Ramos of National Bookstore, from being a salesgirl to bookstore-owner (she became rich, by association, being married to the son of a wealthy bookstore-business clan); and

      5. Henry Sy of SM Group of Companies, a Chinoy who, according to myth, started from being a street “sapatero” to become “currently the Philippines’ richest man with an estimated net worth of $14. 2 billion (still rising!) ranking 73 in the Forbes’ list of world’s billionaires, the only one from the Philippines in the top 100”.

      (Of the five personalities, in as far as the struggle of breaking from the shackles of real poverty is concerned, I have more respect for the likes of Pacquiao and Logro. I have my doubts if Mr. Sy’s poor beginnings were accurately true since most of them are based only from testimonials from friends/relatives/associates and paid releases. The filthy rich have their tendencies of romanticizing their humble past! Just search the net if you can find anything verifiable to backup the narrative (photos, documents… that can convince us otherwise).

      But, on the other hand, it also has been proven that not everybody can go the same route and expect the same results of success. There’s also a bit of luck, or an absence of it, that determines the final outcome.

      (Rustico Torrecampo, the first and only filipino boxer to have scored a win by knocking out Pacquiao in the early days wasn’t as lucky to become a world champ like him, went out of boxing and decided to become a mami vendor! We do not know the circumstance behind that decision.)

      In a larger social scale, such above ‘hit-or-miss’ attempts of breaking from the bondage of poverty cannot truly be something reliably sustainable nor repeatable!

      The government still has to come in! If the West, being First World, still cannot completely eliminate nor escape poverty issues with their better and stronger social security system what’s more here in a Third World country like The Philippines?

      @ChinoF, you are entitled to your own opinion if you happen to miss the point! And by simply repeating and/or sticking with what you’ve already said without adding value, as your personal chosen choice, it only becomes a re-affirmation of the limitations of that something what you stood for.

      But the question about what you stated, that “…you also have the time to try and do “something” about it”, still remain. What is that “something” exactly?

      Please be honest! If you are them or know somebody like them, what are some of the realistic things that can be done? You have to remember, as an educated/privileged hip, you can far think better… and smarter. There lies the difference!

      Both ChinoF and Marius can understand more about the complexity of what is being talked about in this real struggle of ordinary people with issues of poverty in some far away areas in The Philippines in this excellent I-Witness documentary:

  7. Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not, are slaves.

    1. No, but this Youtube video coming from the Vox account will tell you on why the African Americans still prefer to be a slave as their “choice” & I like it. Quite interesting & it’s more legit than Kanye West. It really foretells about the history of the African Americans on how they’d struggled, survived & even thrived & shaped the history of the US from the event of the American Civil War up to this present time:

  8. Very interesting point of view! I was nodding in agreement until the article simplistically related slavery to the supporters of the Liberal Party. There was a disconnect for me there. It was oversimplifying the colonial mentality, the poverty trap. I agree with the Filipinos’ slavery mentality of bowing before a richer or more powerful person, group, institution.

    The Liberal Party connection doesn’t jive. It’s like apples and oranges. I am not an LP supporter but I voted for Noynoy in 2010 and then didn’t vote for Mar Roxas. I’m not rich nor of superior intelligence.

    Just saying.

  9. You’re right. Kanye, I believe, has gotten insightful & in-depth with history. He also makes time to tweet the heart-wrenching facts about this anthropological side of slavery.

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