This article was taken from the www.blackelectorate.com/a...sp?ID=1454 ------------------ THANK YOU, KANYE! by Fanon Che Wilkins, Ph.D. Barely a week after rapper/producer Kanye West appeared on the cover of Time Magazine and was branded "the smartest man in hip-hop,: he did, what many believed to be the unthinkable. West used the platform of the NBC sponsored Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort Live Telethon to tell the world that racist media images were depicting Black people as "looters" and whites as "finders" of food and basic necessities. West’s comments echoed what many have been saying for days after Associated Press images circulated on the Internet with captions describing whites as "finding" and Black’s as "looting". Visibly nervous, West declared that he found it difficult to watch the news because the overwhelming majority of those facing the harshest consequences from the hurricane and its aftermath were Black. After acknowledging the noble deeds of the Red Cross, West told the world that the recently deployed National Guard and Marines were given permission to shoot and kill "us." Indeed, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco told reporters that the National Guard had M16s that were "locked and loaded." "They know how to kill; they are more than willing to kill, and they will kill," the stern Governor declared. West was no fool. He made the connection between racist media images and how those depictions would structure the relationship between the military and those labeled as "looters." For West, the dye was cast for the victims to be further victimized by the media and those purportedly there to help. Even more profoundly, West said that America was "set up to help the poor, the Black people, the less well-off, as slow as possible", linking the Bush Administration’s neglect and failure to act, with larger systemic problems rooted in the American body politic.