Kanye West already had some controversial thoughts about slavery that resulted in plenty of backlash from the internet this year, but new pushback arrived Sunday after he appeared to suggest abolishing the 13th Amendment, which prompted criticism from none other than Captain America himself.
After performing on Saturday Night Live, West posted a photo of himself on a plane wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat—which he’s worn before—and called for the abolishment of the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery.
“We will provide jobs for all who are free from prisons as we abolish the 13th amendment,” he wrote.
this represents good and America becoming whole again. We will no longer outsource to other countries. We build factories here in America and create jobs. We will provide jobs for all who are free from prisons as we abolish the 13th amendment. Message sent with love pic.twitter.com/a15WqI8zgu— ye (@kanyewest) September 30, 2018
The disconcerting Kanye West 13th Amendment tweet was almost instantly criticized. Chris Evans, in particular, noted how frustrating it is to debate someone “who doesn’t know history, doesn’t read books, and frames their myopia as virtue.”
There’s nothing more maddening than debating someone who doesn’t know history, doesn’t read books, and frames their myopia as virtue. The level of unapologetic conjecture I’ve encountered lately isn’t just frustrating, it’s retrogressive, unprecedented and absolutely terrifying. https://t.co/4jCFwB4T5U— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) September 30, 2018
West later clarified that he simply wanted to get rid of the loophole in the 13th Amendment, which allows an exception for slavery or involuntary servitude “as a punishment for a crime of where the party shall have been duly convicted.”
the 13th Amendment is slavery in disguise meaning it never ended We are the solution that heals— ye (@kanyewest) September 30, 2018
not abolish but. let’s amend the 13th amendment— ye (@kanyewest) September 30, 2018
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He’s likely referring to the U.S. prison industrial complex. While the overall incarceration rate is at a 20-year low, it disproportionately affects people of color; it especially affects Black people, who are imprisoned more than five times as much as white people. The U.S.’s mass incarceration and how many say it’s essentially continued slavery since its abolishment is covered in Ava DuVernay’s Oscar-nominated documentary 13th.
DuVernay, for her part, chose not to engage with West’s tweets about the 13th Amendment, both his call to abolish and later amend it.
I’m consciously choosing to tweet about plant-based burgers and not current statements about the 13th Amendment from a certain MAGA follower. Respectfully, please don’t @ me. I can’t do nothing for him. pic.twitter.com/NX2Vphaz9m— Ava DuVernay (@ava) September 30, 2018