It was late one Tuesday night when, while scouring the stacks of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, I came across a peculiar book bound in leather and imprinted with golden hieroglyphs. My hands started to reach towards the mysterious item without my mind telling them to do so, and as they got closer I could hear whispers in my ear speaking in foreign tongues. As soon as I opened the cover a powerful beam of light shot into the sky and a genie that bore an uncanny resemblance to the late Philip Seymour Hoffman emerged from the pages. He told me he would grant me three wishes, and if one of those wishes was to have unlimited wishes that would be a real jerk move so don’t be that guy.
First, I wished for peace among all nations, races and creeds. Second, I wished to lead a happy and fulfilling life. And finally, I wished to dropkick Tomi Lahren’s smug face as hard as humanly possible.
For those of you unfamiliar with the spawn of Satan that is Tomi Lahren, let me start off by saying that I envy you for avoiding her poison up until now. She is a 24-year old conservative television and online political commentator who hosts her own show, "Tomi," on Glenn Beck’s network The Blaze. She’s become famous for her controversial takes on issues which circulate largely through videos shared on various social media outlets. These videos have amassed millions upon millions of views, making Lahren an increasingly prominent figure in the Republican Party. Lahren’s meteoric rise to prominence is truly amazing; she’s really struck a chord with a significant number of Americans; it’s a chord that, to this set of ears, is grossly off-tune.
It’s hard for me to explain what exactly it is that Lahren stands for. She strongly defends any of President Trump’s actions and despises all types of protest pushing what she deems as a liberal agenda. She has a particular distaste for the Black Lives Matter movement, a distaste that often comes off as somewhat racist. Lahren is very adamant that she is not a racist. In my experience, if someone's continually having to tell people they're not a racist, they're probably a little bit racist.
Take for example her comments in response to the Beyoncé Super Bowl halftime show performance in which Beyoncé paid tribute to the Black Panthers. “I’m saying if we want to talk about the problems in black communities, you can’t just talk about police brutality. You have to talk about all of it, otherwise there will never be a solution. There are still going to be problems in black communities if white officers stop shooting any black person.”
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what Lahren is arguing. Is she seriously suggesting that since there are still other “problems in the black community,” there’s no use in trying to prevent police brutality? The lack of cohesiveness in her argument coupled with the simultaneously irate and assured manner in which she delivers each word is telling that she’s not so much crafting an argument as she is articulately ranting against something that pushes her buttons.
Later on in the same segment she complains that it’s unfair for people to judge her based off of what people in the comment section of her videos say. I completely agree. One can’t judge a public figure based on the random comments of a few outlying fans expressing extreme views.But then just seconds later she begins to cite isolated incidents of violence in Black Lives Matter protests and comes to the conclusion that the entire movement is violent. Can she not see her blatant hypocrisy? Isn’t she, in fact, basing her statement on the actions of only a few?
Perhaps the only thing that riles her up more than Black Lives Matter is that “ungrateful punk” Colin Kaepernick. In a video titled "Tomi Lahren Completely DESTROYS Colin Kaepernick," she DESTROYS Colin Kaepernick and, while she's at it, the integrity of the African-American community, and you'll see what I mean: “White people? Yeah, we do have a record of critique of your oppression. In fact, do you know how many of our ancestors fought in the Civil War to free your ancestors?”
(Before we delve into why this argument is quite troubling, I implore you to click on the link to the video above and watch as much as you can before you are overcome with urge to punch your monitor. I’ve never understood why political TV hosts feel the need to yell everything they say.)
But back to the content. What does it say, in so many words? Formal slavery may have ended 150 years ago in America, but to Lahren, black people like Colin Kaepernick should still feel indebted to white people for freeing them from other white people. Dare to kneel during The National Anthem, and we might as well take back black people's freedom, they obviously don't appreciate it. Whites decided to stop enslaving black people, isn't that enough to just shut up? For Lahren, it's more than enough.
What Lahren is saying is dangerous. Her words incite division and hatred. No matter left or right, after watching one of her spectacles one can’t help but feel a poisonous hatred for the other side.
But we can’t let the words of one person get the best of us. Next time Lahren creeps her head out onto your screens, we can all do ourselves a favor. Click that mute button, take a deep breath and remember that one outlier can never represent an entire ideology. Create a conversation, don't let Tomi Lahren keep screaming at us.
Sami Kirkpatrick is a Trinity freshman. His column, "the new duker," runs on alternate Thursdays.
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Sami Kirkpatrick is a Trinity sophomore. His column, "worms in space," runs on alternate Wednesdays.