Kanye West, who fathered a child and a hit album the same week, is being criticized for insensitivity for referring in the lyrics of a new song to a “bitch shaking like Parkinson’s.”
The song On Sight, which is laden with derogatory terms for women, as well as references to the singer’s desire to have sex with other people’s wives and to get a girl to return to a Miami nightclub she has been kicked out of so she can perform oral sex on him one more time, caught the eye of the American Parkinson Disease Association.
“We find these lyrics distasteful and the product of obvious ignorance,” the association’s vice president, Kathryn Whitford, told the gossip website TMZ. She did not elaborate, but Steve Ford of Parkinson’s UK was happy to take things further.
“Kanye West has shown an inexcusable level of stupidity and cruelty towards people living with an incurable condition,” Ford told the Independent. “People with Parkinson’s have to cope with intolerable social discrimination on a daily basis – often to the point where they are afraid to go out in public – and this sort of thoughtless, callous comment can only serve to make things even worse for them.”
A survey carried out by Parkinson’s UK earlier this year found that a large number of people suffering from the disease had been victims of what they considered unfair treatment, such as having their symptoms mistaken for drunkenness by police.
One man with the disease told the BBC he was arrested and held for several hours at a cycling event during the London Olympics after police became suspicious of him because his face was expressionless. He said a police officer told him, “I’ve been watching you, you haven’t been smiling.”
Parkinson’s disease has often been associated with uncontrollable shaking of the hands and body, but that is only part of the story. PD is a degenerative neurological disease that can cause tremors, but many of its other symptoms are quite the opposite: rigidity or “freezing,” slowness of movement, difficulty walking, slurring and difficulty forming sentences. The most common treatments for PD can produce a condition called dyskinesia, which can cause uncontrollable writhing of the body, but it is not a symptom of the disease itself.
There has been no comment from West so far. West’s girlfriend, Kim Kardashian, gave birth to their first child on Saturday. His new album, Yeezus, which includes the song On Sight, was officially released on Tuesday.