To start off with a little bit of background, Trevor Noah, aka #africanbae, is widely regarded as one of the last remaining hopes of light skint dudes in America, and is also known for being the host of The Daily Show. His show is satire and often pokes fun at the ridiculousness of politics in this country, which is a long way of saying it has a strong liberal lean.
Toni Lahren, who I dislike so strongly that I refuse to add to her equity by googling how to correctly spell her name, is the personification of an Internet troll, except with blonde extensions and low neckline that rednecks young and old can appreciate. If you happen to have the unfortunate experience of watching her rants, I’m sorry to inform you it’s not satire. She’s serious. And she is widely regarded as the voice and hero of the ‘silent’, ‘overlooked’, and ‘oppressed’ white straight males in this country.
Someone had the bright idea to put these two young, attractive, outspoken, political savvy media figureheads in the same room and record it for half an hour. What proceeds next is a case study of the pointlessness of trying to cure white stupidity. And I don’t mean this in a racist way. I mean that there is a certain type of white person who will say and do racist things, then tell you why it’s not racism, then dismiss you and insult you for speaking out about it, then tell you that you are actually racist for pointing out their racism, then tell you that your act of racism is equivalent to the hundreds of years of oppression suffered by black people, effectively equating your harmless moment of protest with hundreds of years of slavery, jim crow, and the prison system. Spoiler Alert: Tomi Lameman is that person.
Most of us, largely due to sheer exhaustion, have given up on the need/desire to engage with this type of white person. They have already decided that nothing you say to them can be right. (but don’t worry, they haven’t decided this because you’re black. Because remember, they don’t see color). They have already chosen to ignore any evidence supporting claims other than their own, and they have already failed to produce any evidence supporting claims that are their own. Most of us have chosen not to engage because we like our safe happy liberal bubbles. But Bae Noah, in uncharacteristically light skint fashion, decided to go to bat for us.
And I must say, it is hard to watch the gradual crushing of a man’s spirit, not because his beliefs are being challenged, but because of the sheer effort of trying to have a coherent, intellectual, and respectful discourse with a person who has never heard of facts.
He begins by trying to get clarity on how a woman who has built her reputation on “calling out bs” (her words, not mine) can give a pass to Trump, a man who stated he likes to sexually assault women in his free time. Her response “Words to me are far less egregious than actions”. She goes on to say she thinks Trump is reasonable and level headed. Trevor pauses for comedic effect and the audience laughs, until they realize she’s actually being serious.
Trevor backs away from that route and switches subjects to discuss black lives matter. Naturally, this is when it takes a turn for the worst. He spends about the next 10 minutes trying to explain the difference between individual protesters and a movement. He also points out that anyone can SAY they’re doing something on anyone’s behalf, even though that person or entity doesn’t condone those actions at all. Like how the KKK endorsed Trump and we’re still supposed to believe he’s not racist. She ignores the point about the KKK and goes on to say that it’s not just a few individuals who turn violent in BLM, it’s the whole organization. Trevor tries again. By this logic, it’s ok to say all police are racist.
But no, white stupidity prevails again. She claims it’s different because police don’t have the support of the mainstream media, (because I guess BLM does? I wasn’t aware but if Tomy!Tomi!Tome! says so it must be true) and when Trevor politely asks what she’s talking about since her videos are getting more views than every other news outlet combined, the point is lost on her. What’s most remarkable about this section is her ability to spit out logical fallacies while completely ignoring when her mental gymnastics are called out. Honestly, it’s a finely honed craft, which is most evident in the next portion when she adamantly ‘rejects’ all Donald Trump supporters being labeled as alt-right, although she literally just spent 5 minutes labeling all Black Lives Matter supporters as violent and anti-American.
But Trevor is too distracted to call this out because she drops the classic “I don’t see color”. Trevor takes the high road and makes a joke and frankly it’s painful to watch. There’s so much he wants to say here. He takes a different approach, asking her in what universe she can equate BLM with the KKK. She again points to the actions of specific individuals. “Is that the narrative of BLM?” he asks, so gently, so patiently, in a tone one would use to teach a young child struggling to understand the difference between a butterfly and an elephant. “There’s a distinction between a movement and the people”. Again, the entire conversation goes completely over her head as she repeatedly argues that it’s the movement.
He switches gears again, moving the convo toward Colin Kaepernick. In the gentlest way possible, he asks why she’s SO. DAMN.BOTHERED. And finally, we come to the wall. He spends, no exaggeration, the next 8 minutes asking 5 different times, how black people are actually supposed to protest in this country. Marching is a problem. Rioting is a problem. Kneeling is a problem. So how? The closest she comes to actually responding is relating her experience as a woman. She goes on to explain how women are treated unfairly and when pressed about how she protests she exclaims “I don’t protest because I’m not a victim”. And there it is. This country is so great that there can’t possibly be any reason for anyone to protest, because even if you’re oppressed you aren’t a victim because you still have the privilege and honor of living in America. It’s the most convoluted stupid white person logic ever. It’s the kind of logic that yields to things like sexism, homophobia, and Islamophobia. And it’s the kind of logic that enables things like slavery and genocide. I commend Trevor for spending an entire 26 minutes trying to rationalize with it. But at what cost to his psyche?
People are applauding him. They are saying he ‘destroyed’ her. But at the end of the video, he doesn’t look smug, or particularly proud of himself. As she continues cracking jokes, implying that Hilary Clinton needs someone to grab her by the pussy, he looks like a man who realized he wasted half an hour of his life arguing with an idiot, and it made absolutely no difference. And that sounds harmless until you realize he’s not arguing with a single idiot. There is an overwhelmingly large portion of our population who voted for Trump, who love TomTom Lahren’s videos, and who believe the best way to protest is with silence. He looks like a man who is tired of fighting against of wave of ignorance that can’t be pushed aside by logic and reason. He looks disgusted, exhausted, and probably like he wants to vomit. Basically, he looks like how I feel.