Tomi With The Bad Hair: Sorry, Trevor Noah Didn’t Drag Lahren
Posted by Kenyetta Whitfield
December 8, 2016
It’s Finals Week. Yes, the anxiety-inducing week where professors throw out all care for student’s mental health and we cram a semester’s worth of material down our throats. However, because my life seems to be plagued by a particularly specific brand of evil, not all my classes held finals. Some of them held mini end-of-semester lectures meant to show students “the big picture.” Today’s final was one of those. My teacher spent the better half of an hour telling us we couldn’t write and lacked passion. The second half however, he answered questions from students on a variety of topics. It was during this section of class that he uttered this phrase:
“The most important issue we as a country must tackle next is the issue of the Black Man.”
And there you have it folks, the past two weeks in a nutshell. While I rolled my eyes at the absolute narcissism of the statement, I internally became hysterical. Oh, the irony. Of course, my professor (who is a black man) went on to spew some slightly oversimplified sermon about black men having no opportunities for education and therefore they rob banks (oversimplified, I know.) But what I chose to focus on was what I saw as the real issue with the black man – a consistent demonization of the black women who fight for them and an investment in upholding white women as a standard of excellence.
Over the course of the past two weeks’ black men have proven that not only do the not care about black women, but many obviously don’t value themselves.
Daily Show host, Trevor Noah and Breakfast Club host, Charlemagne tha God both decided that, within a few weeks of each other, they would give the disturbing Tomi Lahren, a fly-by-night web sensation, a platform to spew hatred and defend her racist ideals.
What is so deeply disturbing about Noah and Charlemagne inviting Lahren on their respective shows is not just their willful decision to be a sounding board for hate, misinformation, and racism, but also the fact that, by paying attention and even lauding Lahren’s vitriol, they spit in the faces of black women everywhere. They both profess their love for tolerance and open-mindedness. Noah even penned a New York Times article where he claimed that division and polarization were harmful and that he doesn’t like being demonized for being moderate.
But when has tolerance and moderate politics ever dismantled oppressive systems?
When has a funny conversation with a racist ever ended in them seeing the error of their ways? The answer is never. Lahren doesn’t deserve tolerance, and Noah of all people should know. After the year we have had in this country, there is no time for our so-called progressive voices to entertain the idea of trying to understand hateful and regressive ones.
As a black man with the ability to use his show as the progressive and racially just platform we need, Noah should be dedicated to the anti-racist movement black feminists have started and should be held to a higher standard. The monumentally high standard of not hanging with racist women — how hard.
But Trevor Noah is not the only black man who seems to be having a problem.
Charlemagne also gave Tomi Lahren a platform to spew her hate speech. Yet, that wasn’t enough. Like Noah, who went out for drinks with Lahren, Charlemagne decided to post up with the white nationalist herself.
Then, when black women came for him, he too decided he was a man of tolerance.
On his radio show, Charlemagne responded to his critics by saying: “Do you want diplomacy or do you want division? I’m talking to Tomi because I care about the rhetoric that comes out of her mouth. She has influence and the narrative she paints about movements like BLM is dangerous…I don’t like to talk about people, I like talking to them. I don’t believe Tomi is racist. I believe she’s misinformed.”
This statement is why it’s time for black men to take a moment and value themselves and their people. This rhetoric that the influence of white people is needed in order to gain “equality” is frankly tired and elementary.
What can white women do for you in the anti-racist movement that black women cannot?
The answer: play you, fetishize you, and kill you.
The ideas and rhetoric of Tomi Lahren’s of the past have killed black men; the vitroil of the Tomi Lahren’s of the present have killed black men; and the stereotypical assumptions of the Tomi Lahren’s of the future will kill black men.
But rather than acknowledge that this kind of ideological tolerance and discussion is misguided, black men would rather pen long neo-liberal essays that invalidate the voices of black women.
Rather than deal with how white supremacy has affected their perceptions of white women to the point where they fetishize themselves (Charlemagne telling Tomi she needs to have sex with a black man and she will become “woke”), they instead gaslight like no other.
But hey, at the end of the day, the Noah’s and Charlemagne’s of the world will still demonize black women and idolize white women. And yet, black women will still fight for them. While the Lahren’s of the world will go on continuing to clown them.