The Colin Kaepernick controversy is the latest in a long line of fake conservative outrages over the presumed unpatriotic sympathies of minority Americans. This one is especially race-motivated, and we can tell because an especially angry Tomi Lahren opinion is going viral.
Lahren never misses an opportunity to explain how ethnic minorities need to be more grateful to the white majority, as if casual and systemic bigotry is the cost of admission in our fair nation. It’s a racist perspective because it views the parameters of race relations in America as beginning with the erroneous assumption that America is (1) a white country (2) built by whites (3) for whites.
The Lahren conclusion of such ahistorical proofs is that minorities should be thankful for basic citizenship because they do not intrinsically belong in America—even if they were born here—yet receive scraps of America’s prosperity nonetheless. The idea that American prosperity, particularly in the slave-based (and contemporarily conservative-based) South, was not disproportionately labored for by minorities is willful ignorance of the moral stain on America’s soul that is the Confederacy’s attempt to make plantation owners the cultural and political aristocracy of an independently slave-based nation.
The gestalt of racism is greater than the previously listed, inaccurate tenets of the Southern mythology of America’s whiteness, and this is the manner and perspective with which contemporary racists unknowingly say racist things. America’s racists do not value ethnic minorities as civic and societal equals, and their perpetual Other-ization of minorities blinds them to their backward-facing position on the long moral arc.
The Kaepernick controversy is the perfect example of this, and, no surprise, Lahren is riled up because a nonwhite football player has effectively directed national attention to America’s racial oppression. Lahren is unable to concede a single inch in the conservative culture war against honest, racial reconciliation, and she has a bucket of derogatory “bud”’s to lob at Kaepernick with venom in her mouth.
She begins her exposé by explaining that she supports his First Amendment right to say whatever he wants, but then recommends that he physically leave the country if he doesn’t like America as much as Lahren thinks he should. She asks rhetorically if our country is perfect and answers herself “No,” but this admission of imperfection does not convince Lahren of the righteousness of people trying to create those changes in America—people like Colin Kaepernick.
Lahren then proceeds to list Kaepernick’s white parent, his white adopted parents, his white team owner who pays his salary, and the white fans who come to the games, implying that Kaepernick should be thankful to white people and quiet about racial injustice because he personally has been successful in life. The undercurrent of Lahren’s exposition is that Kaepernick owes his success to white people and subsequently has no right to judge them or measure their guilt of oppression.
Lahren is like a white-nationalist lawyer calling “objection” every time the supposed benevolence of white people is questioned, and she often uses her show to explain how all of America’s racial injustices individually do not prove that America is racist, while steering the jury of Americans impressionable to racial scapegoating’s attention away from the reality that, collectively, our never-ending stream of racial controversies suggests America is not quite post-racial. Lahren often points to the fact that President Obama and other black figures like Kaepernick have been successful, as if that proves that there are no systemic racial obstacles in America. Her show is a battle against accusations of oppression with angry rhetorical oppression.
It functions as a way for Lahren to sidestep Kaepernick’s message and argue that black communities are filled with crime and murder so therefore Kaepernick and blacks in general should take personal responsibility for their race’s socio-economic problems, missing the point entirely that those socio-economic problems are convincingly the consequences of somewhat glaring racial biases of white people like Lahren who have the platform to press for racial progress but only get involved to argue against occasional efforts toward racial progress, like Kaepernick’s refusal to stand up for the national anthem as long as he doesn’t think America is standing up for the values the flag supposedly represents.
I do not know Lahren personally, but her South Dakota upraising certainly does not suggest she had much of a—what is increasingly becoming a polarized, buzz word due to the Alt-Right’s neo-nazi penchant for racial hierarchies—multicultural experience. Her rhetorical political efforts certainly lean toward the Alt-Right’s white-focused ideology of America being a white nation, and especially toward the Alt-Right’s angry resistance to the slightest hints of social injustice. The Alt-Right’s motivation is suspect when populist pushes for societal equality make them feel like victims. If they feel victimized by equality, does it not prove that they do indeed have societal privileges? It is flawed political mathematics because extending equality to those without it is not a zero-sum game like the Alt-Right imagines.
Lahren certainly shows her Alt-Right sympathies when she suggests that ethnic minorities are ungrateful for and undeserving of living in America, that, if one doesn’t like their country exactly as it is, one should leave. Tomi Lahren’s consistent coverage of the allegedly unpatriotic sympathies of social justice figures has turned her into something of a Millennial mix between Sarah Palin and Sean Hannity: angered by the digital generation’s liberalism and tolerance, and a soapbox of pavlovian, white-nationalist empathy for the exaggerated struggle of the ethnic majority, respectively.
It is no surprise that the Alt-Right, which Lahren belongs to ideologically according to her white persecution-complex, is, as a whole, enamored with Donald Trump — because of his racial biases — but it is truly hypocritical because their presidential candidate of choice routinely calls America a “disaster,” a “mess,” and once he even described America as a “hellhole.” He wrote a book entitled “Crippled America.” But it’s all “he-tells-it-like-it-is” until a nonwhite person says the same thing.
Tomi Lahren has yet to rant against Donald Trump for insulting America, but he’s white and vindictive against our black president. Do white people have the racial privilege of not being attacked by Tomi Lahren’s political outrage, even if they are bigger America-pessimists?