I’m going to start with a personal anecdote, I think Tomi Lahren is a racist, a sexist, and a narcissistic talking head, but damn do I respect her for entering the“Lion’s Den”last night.
I violently disagree with 90% of what Tomi says, but candidly, I watch almost all of her final thoughts. I am not naïve enough to think that the rest of the world believes what I do (hello, President Elect Trump), but I do try to understand why. Tomi, although she denied it in her interview, is a mainstream (via social media) conservative voice with a very distinct way of perpetuating her opinion. The reality is that millions of people agree, and millions are relying on social media to get their information, so she is seen as a reliable, factual news source (gotta love you, 2016). She has been a vessel for conservative movements and stances on Black Lives Matter, Colin Kaepernick, and Millennials who identify as republicans amongst a multitude of other things. Agree or Disagree, the woman has become a voice and I respect what she’s done and how far she has come.
But, let’s talk about what happened in the interview last night. If you haven’t watched it, the link is provided above, and I highly recommend watching the full 26 minutes, because the 6 minute clip they aired on the show was for cable television, and the conversation/interview that Trevor Noah and her engaged in was one of the best dialogues I have seen from two sides of the aisle in a long time. Give credit where credit is due, they were respectful, tried to be understanding (I give Trevor a better win with this one but #shocking), polite, and managed to walk away without calling the other person names or talking over each other (presidential hopefuls in 2020 please take note). What is amazing about those 26 minutes is that depending on who you are, I really believe you could say that either person “came out on top.”
From the beginning, Tomi looked uncomfortable. Her face was ironically uncomfortable after they aired a clip of her final thoughts where she used such grandiose words such as “cry-babies,” “brats,” and “whiners,” because name-calling and insults is what we were taught in kindergarten. Despite her very, very angry monologue style rants week in and week out, she claimed that she is not an “angry person” but that she is just saying the things that need to be said. Her body language was uncomfortable, her movements awkward, and she looked exactly how Trump did in his post-election meeting with Obama, one of those “what the fuck did I get myself into” moments.
Despite the obvious disdain the two of them had for each other (and thepolite Tweetsafterwards about how neither one is a douche or a bitch), I thought Trevor did an outstanding job asking his questions and hoping for genuine answers, or a better sense of “how?” or “why?”
As an outspoken critic of our future President, and of a lot of things in general because I am abnormally opinionated (thanks, Mom!), I get asked a lot, “well, what is your solution.” I can confidently say that I do not have one 99.99% of the time, but I try really hard to not criticize the movement or the protest. I try to open my eyes, to empathize with why so many people feel that way or feel a need to lash out. I can openly admit that I did not understand the Black Lives Matter movement at first, and I also thought it was an attack on white people because it was excluding them and everybody else. It wasn’t until I understood that if you just add a “Black Lives Matter, TOO” and realize it is just about being equal, not being better, that I realized the message BLM was trying to say.
Black people aren’t trying to come after White People, or Latinos, or Asians, they are just trying to showcase a very real oppression that has taken place for centuries in this country. That is a fact, and if you want to deny it, argue it, or say it is “perceived” (looking at you, Tomi) you are blatantly wrong. If a large percentage of a race from a country come together and say “yeah, you know what, we are oppressed, we are getting killed by police, we do have a lot of problems, the penal system was built to screw us and we don’t feel like our lives matter,” you have to listen to them. I can never understand what it is like to not be a white person in America, because I am a white person in America.
Comparing the Black Lives Matter movement to the KKK is where she loses me and also has me convinced she is extremely disillusioned. Because the KKK killed people openly. They hung people, they stood for and still stand for hate (also endorsed our future President because, 2016). Black Lives Matter doesn’t stand for any of that, and despite her example of the shooter in Dallas, it is not the same thing. You can say you stand for something, but that doesn’t mean that you are accurately or effectively portraying the message that was intended. It was like the beautiful one-liner fromDave Chappelle’s heartbreakingly beautiful SNL monologue Post Election,
“Like, if I was going to have sex with a girl (and) right before I did, I screamed out “Wu-Tang!” — that don’t mean I’m in the Wu-Tang Clan. I’m just shouting Wu-Tang out.”
For example, when Trevor tried to have Tomi understand that the looters, the damage done, the ones carrying the signs that say “Fuck the Police” were a few of the many, Tomi couldn’t seem to come to terms with any part of the movement.
A few are not all and all are not a few, period. Rightfully so, Trevor pointed out that for someone who claims over and over again to “not be a racist” she has to say “I am not a racist” an awful lot. In fact, in the same breath/sentence she proclaimed “I do not see color, I go after Hillary Clinton and she is as white as they come.” Right then and there, she is categorizing Hillary into what “white” means; bringing her race to the table and making it part of the conversation. That is called hypocrisy, my dear Tomi.
You cannot proclaim to not see color and the immediately bring to light the color of Hillary Clinton’s skin. Someone who says “what, because I’m white I have to shut up” in reference to Colin Kaepernick’s National Anthem protest is making the conversation about the color of her skin, which in turn makes it about his. Nobody said that because she was a white person she couldn’t have an opinion, but offer a solution, or how you would like to see it done. As I stated before I don’t have the answer, as Trevor stated he didn’t either, but neither did Tomi. To openly criticize and critique, to call people names and belittle their choices to kneel during the National Anthem, but not be able to offer another solution is wrong. Disagree with what Kaepernick is doing, but honestly, what else do you want?
I did agree with a part of the interview where Democrats and Liberals need to start understanding, and that was her comments on the “flyover states.” There are a lot of people in middle America who are hurting, who haven’t seen that pay raise, who have lost their jobs, and who wanted to mix things up because Washington hasn’t been working for them. She was right. Those are the people that won Donald Trump the election, and they made their voices heard. Let’s hope that they don’t end up screwed over, because despite the 1000 jobs staying in Indiana, Carrier AC’s parent corporation is receiving7 million in tax cuts, and that arrangement is not sustainable to save every job over the next four years.
I would have ended my 26 minutes of watch time on a high note, but then Tomi had to be herself. When joking, because this is late night TV, about the pussy-gate scandal and how Donald Trump LITERALLY did touch women, Tomi thought it was funny to joke “Hillary could use some of that every now and then right, Bill’s a little busy–Bill’s a little busy.”
Hey Tomi, that isn’t funny. What our future president was talking about was being able to sexually assault or touch women because of his fame, and comparing that to Hillary needing to get laid by her husband because “he is busy” is sexist and disgusting.
Your sing-songy tone is not cute, and it isn’t a joke. Hillary Clinton’s sex life is Hillary Clinton’s sex life, and because she is a woman, we think it’s appropriate to comment on it. Guess what, it’s not. Bringing up how she needs to get laid by her husband is perpetuating society’s notion that women are nothing more than sexual objects for men’s pleasure, or that if we have an attitude or are bossy we just might not have gotten it in in a while, or that we should look a certain way to appease a man’s perception of how women should be. You, Tomi Lahren, are the problem with the glass ceiling, and why I have to work so much harder to shatter it.
At the end of the day, I am unsure what I wanted to get out of this interview, or what I wanted to see. I can’t even dive into all the different facets of what they covered, agreed to disagree, and the obvious tension that was in the room and audience. I do respect it, I do encourage it, and I hope that more people from both sides can share a cup of coffee, because I guarantee my care abouts as a DC Young Professional are very different than those of a South Dakota School teacher.
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