Donald Trump and Kanye West in the lobby at Trump Tower on Dec. 13, 2016, in New York City
Photo: Drew Angerer (Getty Images)

Although I am rarely amazed by racism, privilege or America in general, when it comes to the audacity of whiteness, I am sometimes astounded at white people’s perception of black people. I often marvel at the Caucasian notion of our inherent simplemindedness; the idea that dangling any dancing black puppet in front of the Negro masses is all that is required to get black people to buy Chicken McNuggets, Katy Perry singles or the conservative agenda.

According to their narrative, Barack Obama won the black vote only because he was black, and not because he outmaneuvered and outshone every other candidate in the field.

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They so believe in the mass stupidity of blackness, they believed that a Killer Mike cameo on NRA TV would induce a form of amnesia that would make us forget about the sons and daughters lost to gun violence in black neighborhoods.

They trot out blackface puppets like Ben Carson and Candace Owens in desperate attempts to lure black voters into conservative thinking.

But this simplistic view of black people is not bound by conservatism; it is a white thing. It’s how Stacey Dash became a political analyst on Fox News. It’s why white liberals begin every conversation with a nudge and a whisper explaining that they voted for Obama. It’s why they think they can disprove their racism by explaining that one of their best friends is black.

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And while Donald Trump might have the IQ and temperament of a rabid howler monkey, he honestly believes that he can convince black voters that he’s OK by pardoning a black woman, summoning Steve Harvey to Trump Tower and adding a “Make America Great Again” fitted to the Yeezy fall collection.

But he’s not the only one.

News outlets everywhere have simply assumed that black voters are going to embrace a presidential administration embedded in blatant white supremacy because we like Kanye’s beats and Kim Kardashian’s booty.

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After a flawed Reuters poll that surveyed fewer than 200 people indicated growing support for Trump among African Americans, NBC, Rolling Stone and Trump himself took off with the narrative. Everyone is now publicly theorizing about how Alice Marie Johnson’s freedom and Kanye West’s “free thought” will lure black voters over to the Republican Party.

In an op-ed for the Detroit Free Press titled, “Donald Trump Is Wooing Black Voters and Killing the Democratic Party,” Rochelle Riley writes:

Donald Trump is succeeding at something few people thought possible. He is getting some black people to compare him to Barack Obama. Obama didn’t get Alice Johnson out of jail. Obama didn’t pardon Jack [Johnson], even though Ken Burns asked him to and produced an entire documentary explaining why.

Donald Trump isn’t killing the Republican Party.

He is killing the Democratic Party ...

Trump is wooing black voters by accepting the friendship of people like the comedian Steve Harvey, who believes that wealthy is a choice, and Kanye, who believes that slavery was a choice.

By pardoning the Johnsons, Trump ramped up his efforts to woo black voters. I can imagine he thought pardoning Ali would connect him with many more ...

If they’re not careful, the Dems will look up and realize that the black base they’ve taken for granted for decades, might not be as enthusiastic as in the past. It’s not that they might vote for Trump. But they may not vote against him.

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After Johnson’s sentence was commuted by Trump, you could hear the little hamster running on the wheel in Kim Kardashian’s head when Van Jones insinuated to her that she was used to appeal to black voters.

Everybody calm down. Ain’t nothing changed but the headlines.

Although it’s fun to hypothesize that Kanye is some kind of pied piper whose Frooty Loops can seduce black people into discarding decades of political ideology because of a Twitter account and a few soul samples looped over a banging beat (I don’t feel bad admitting that the “poopity scoop” song slapped hard), black people see Kanye for what he really is: a nigga who can rap.

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Nothing more, nothing less.

Even at the height of the Yeezy debacle, Trump’s favorability among black voters remained unchanged. When The Root looked at the most recent polling data from firms that publish the breakdown of Trump’s favorability/approval ratings by race and compared that with ratings from last month’s data and the numbers from Trump’s first month in office, the results were clear: Nobody likes Trump.

Trump favorability rating among black voters by percentage. Data from: Economist YouGov Jan. 28-31, 2017, May 6-8, 2018, and June 3-5, 2018; Investors Business Daily/TIPP February 2017, May 2018 and June 2018; Quinnipiac February 2017, May 2018 and June 2018; Harvard Harris Feb 11-13, 2017, April 22-24, 2018, and May 21-22, 2018. Survey Monkey February 2017, May 2018 and June 2018.
Image: Michael Harriot (The Root)

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While poor, white, Southern voters were easily conned into believing that a billionaire trust fund baby from New York with multiple bankruptcies under his belt was a business savant who understood their plight, black voters are not that gullible.

Like Rachel Dolezal trying to convince us how she makes the best hot wings, just because someone says it doesn’t mean we’re buying it. Even Ye’s biggest stans aren’t checking his Twitter feed before they go to the voting booth.

Anyone who suggests that handing out pardons and cuddling up to celebrities can bait black voters into conservative thinking are grasping at the same straws as Trump.

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Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West are just sideshows. This is all a distraction meant to divert our attention from the one celebrity who actually needs a pardon to get past his one tragic mistake:

J.R. Smith.