William Darity, chair of the Department of African and African American studies and professor of public policy and economics at Duke University has called for a boycott of merchandise being marketed in connection with Kanye West’s Yeezus Tour. Some of the items being sold in connection with the tour have depictions of the Confederate battle flag.
Professor Darity states: “The stars and bars is the iconic symbol of the Confederacy, which was formed to conduct a traitorous secession and to preserve slavery in America. Southern blacks, in particular, see this flag as a sign of both danger and degradation and have fought for many years to have it removed from public places. In ‘appropriating’ this symbol, Kanye West is either naive, ignorant, or engaged in a cynical ploy to expand the market for his products. A boycott should be conducted against the Yeezus brand.”
Professor Darity told JBHE that he had received no reaction from Kanye West or his associates since calling for the boycott. But he noted that several hostile comments about his efforts had been posted on a Facebook page about the boycott.
Dr. Darity is a graduate of Brown University and holds a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.