Sorry Kanye stans—bigotry isn’t a symptom of bipolar disorder

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The ever-controversial Kanye “Ye” West has crossed several new lines over the past few weeks. During his past bouts of misbehaviour, fans have defended the star, citing his bipolar disorder—and this time is no different. 

However, West’s blatant antisemitism—among other recent actions—is tough to excuse, regardless of the state of his mental health. 

People with bipolar disorder are becoming increasingly frustrated with this scapegoating of the disorder to justify West’s hateful words. Fans must acknowledge the singer’s current behaviour is unacceptable and hold him accountable. 

By following up his most recent comments with an appearance on Tucker Carlson’s Fox show, West seems to have realized how much money and attention there is in pandering to the alt-right. 

His behaviour is disappointing for people who respect him as an artist and enjoy his music, but there’s no excusing it. If you find yourself justifying antisemitism, racism, and misogyny for his sake, you should re-evaluate your priorities.

West’s social media spectacle has become a public trainwreck; it’s hard to watch, but we can’t look away. In the past, the rapper’s erratic behaviour has mostly only embarrassed himself, but now the harm his words are causing is more widespread.

The way society coddles West due to his diagnosis is frustrating, especially when female rappers like Megan Thee Stallion don’t get nearly the same kind of compassion when they go through traumatic experiences—and she doesn’t spew racist vitriol on social media. 

Despite shouting about it via Instagram, Kanye West is far from repressed. 

Unfortunately, West’s actions show he lacks a good support system to help him see the harm he’s causing. The rapper has recently alienated fellow celebrity friends like Justin Bieber on top of losing the support of the Kardashian family via his ex-wife Kim. 

It’s puzzling how West is acting as if he speaks for the Black community while simultaneously aligning himself with white supremacist politics. It’s hard to believe that someone so aware of his racialization wouldn’t realize he’s become the alt-right’s token Black person.

Even though he must realize the harm this association will cause, West is purposefully allowing the right to tokenize him to further their agenda. He has shown us the hatred he’s willing to condone in a variety of ways, including his support for former U.S. president Donald Trump. 

Yes, public figures who belong to marginalized communities tend to be held to an unfairly high standard. Often all it takes is one person’s mistake to fuel hatred towards the community they didn’t necessarily ask to represent. 

However, it’s not unreasonable to expect celebrities—or anyone for that matter—not to be racist bigots and spread hate on social media. 

Stans desperate to defend Ye consistently blame his behaviour on mental illness, maybe we should believe West when he shows us who he is instead of grasping at straws in his defense.

The rapper doesn’t care who his words and actions harm, and he never shows remorse. Fans and the media are perpetuating the bipolar narrative, but maybe the mental illness defense that accompanies every Kanye West fiasco isn’t as relevant as it’s made out to be.

While it may not be wise to comment on others’ mental health—especially strangers—we can agree no matter what you’re going through, it’s never okay to act how Kanye West is acting. 

Our opinions on his mental health don’t matter, but his behaviour and its impact does.

Blaming bipolar disorder or other disorders for deplorable behaviour harms people with mental illness. West doesn’t deserve to be defended, so let’s stop making excuses.

Corrections

A previous version of this article used "BPD" when referring to bipolar disorder when the acronym actually stands for "borderline personality disorder." The headline had been changed to reflect this. 

The Journal regrets the error.

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