“A White Supremacist vs. An Anti-American Terrorist”


Okay, so, lets talk a little bit about Wednesday’s discussion between Trevor Noah and Tomi Lahren over on the Daily Show. Noah, a South African comedian who replaced Jon Stewart as the host of “The Daily Show” and Tomi Lahren who’s a conservative commentator who writes for The Blaze.

It feels like Comedy Central (CC) et al. pit Tomi as this stereotypical “blonde, white, privileged bigot.” And, maybe she is just that, but, in the first few minutes of the (longer) interview it didn’t quite seem that way… It’s not just CC, but liberal media at large:

AJ+ Headlining on FB saying, “Tomi Lahren compared Black Lives Matter to the KKK. Trevor Noah wasn’t having any of it.” Young Turks highlighting her “INDEFENSIBLE KKK comments.” While, a quick search via Google or Facebook will highlight how every other outlet either pits her as a conservative racist and/or him as an agressively ridiculous liberal SJW, shoot, maybe even go so far as labeling him an anti-american terrorist. Though, I hope not.

In other words, the hyperbolic images, titles, and various other extremities all pitted one side against the other (e.g. “A White Supremacist vs. An Anti-American Terrorist”)

What is this ““us vs. them” narrative”?

What I mean by an “us vs. them” narrative is subconscious processing we have in which perpetuates our inaccurate perceptions of individuals, races, and cultures creating, therefore, a separatistically homogeneous society.

[Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman unpacks this concept further]

But, for instance, these descriptions of these two public figures unconsciously sets off an automated understanding [or, preconceived notion] of who these people are, as opposed to us slowing down, stepping back, and realizing, these notions are only what we’ve been taught they represent.

I’m in no way defending her at this moment, but she’s talented, 100% – she’s got a gift and a future in media. And, I believe, with or without the help of CC, Tomi, she will continue to have what is an already massively large audience and platform. This interview, will do for Tomi Lahren what Megyn Kelly’s “biff” in calling Jesus white did for her.

But, here’s my point: it’s that I feel FB, and the media alike, have perpetuated, not just an us vs. them narrative, but created a separtistic society.

Black vs. White

Rich vs. Poor

Christian vs. Atheist

I said this in our last post, and have a feeling this is going to be one of my mantra’s for the next few months: DON’T GET PLAYED!

Did Lahren say some very not-so-PC things? YES! Absolutely (e.g. “I don’t see color…”), but does this mean that Lahren automatically deserves to be demonized? NO! absolutely not.

What I’m proposing is for all of us, in our social media world inundating with too much information is that 1) we slow down, 2) we step back, and, 3) we take a moment to think.

I believe if we do this, we’ll notice that the widely circulated interview is edited down; which, like it did for me, will hopefully lead you to watch the full, extended, uncut version; which this might then lead us into hearing a bit more of her intention; taking the good and further understanding our disagreements. If you want to end ignorance, we must create healthy conversation (for both sides of the same coin).

Online, EVERYBODY’S triggered these days; we notice, remember, are attracted to, and therefore consume over-hyperbolized material and figures; this creates a toxic sense of urgency (i.e. “we must speed up, act now, think fast!); and, so, instead of calling people in, we verbally stone them to death, scaring their counterparts away. And, by “counterparts” I mean, our once possible allies, made into our unnecessary enemies.

The most controversial thing I’ll say, and end with, is this:

99.99999% of the time, being closed off to critique from outsiders is not helpful for a movement; for instance, the online culture perpetuated by those claiming to represent the #blacklivesmatter movement (if you’re a “fast thinker,” too many times like myself, this is your queue to stop reading here, and post a visceral reaction below #jokes).

Do we want to be heard, or, do we want to get justice? Good news is, we can have both; bad news is, in order to get either, we have to be willing to listen. Think about it, the white lower income individuals living in those “republican dominant fly over states,” when was the last time South Dakota was on our map, outside of this pipeline debacle?

[I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this post was highly inspired by an interfaith conversational blog I’m working on with fellow Patheos contributors Hind Makki and Galen Broaddus – it’s not “live” as of yet, but will be up and out in the New Year!]

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