Tomi Lahren Can’t Help Being a Privileged Racist
When not calling for mass genocide of Muslims or advocating for law enforcement to murder members of the Black Lives Matter movement, The Blaze commentator Tomi Lahren can’t help but to demonstrate just how racist and full of white privilege she really is. Case in point: Responding to Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest in sitting out the national anthem, Lahren took to Facebook this week to not only condemn his lack of patriotism for refusing to adhere to jingoistic political norms but to command he leave the country because he didn’t live up to the inflated conservative notion of what a real patriot looks like.
After receiving backlash for her statements, Lahren doubled down inserting even more racism as she argued he should be focusing on more pressing issues like black-on-black crime and the fact that his African-American father left him.
Calling him a “whiner”, Lahren argued, “What is the significant change he hopes to see, I wonder? Maybe he’s talking about economic opportunities for black people not seen under Obama’a failed America.”
Of course, she and everyone else knows he’s not discussing economic opportunities as he explicitly explained in excruciating detail why he’s protesting. Lahren either doesn’t understand or refuses to acknowledge that, though. It’s here that Lahren’s disingenuousness goes off the rails and turns into an exercise in blatant racism:
“Maybe it’s a decrease in black-on-black crime. Maybe it’s more two-parent households where black fathers — like his — choose to stick around and raise their children. He should be talking about all of those things, but instead he chooses to parade around in a Fidel Castro shirt and anti-police socks like a damn fool.”
In a single statement Lahren managed to insert the most cliché, racist and unrelated argument conservatives trot out against the African American community when discussing systemic racism both in law enforcement and government structures in general. Dog whistle doesn’t begin to cover her statement’s egregiousness.
Moreover, using Kaepernick’s father as an indictment against his use of free expression to make a political point is simultaneously fallacious and disgusting. That his African-American father did not raise him (and that a white couple did) has nothing to do with his right to silently protest systemic racism in law enforcement.
Thereafter Lahren went on to ask if Kaepernick would be forfeiting his salary (because apparently engaging in Constitutionally-protected expression in speaking out against racism in government infrastructure is synonymous with being non-patriotic).
“Will you forfeit the American dollars paid to you? After all, they are full of the American propaganda you find so oppressive,” she argues, missing the entire point of his protest yet again.
Kaepernick’s protest isn’t against America as a whole; it’s against the racist infrastructure that allows African-Americans to be discriminated against without penalty. Speaking out against such systems is something a patriot should do as those structures run counter the very spirit of the Constitution’s guarantee of equality.
“There’s also an American flag on the back of your helmet,” she continued. “Are you going to play without that too?”
Because, as we all know, a protest expression must include all forms of potential political expression to be valid, right? Lahren’s argument is akin to Dana Loesch arguing a few years back that the LGBTQ community is hypocritical for boycotting anti-gay American businesses because they drive cars using oil from areas of the world that murder LGBTQ people. The argument is so outrageous (and fallacious) it’s impressive she can utter it with a straight face.
All of that racism and fallacy set the stage for the second half of her diatribe slipping into the jingoistic nationalism conservatives have become famous for since Obama took office.
“If this country is so oppressive for black people, tell me where else you’d like to live,” Lahren argued missing the point of pointing out oppression in order to stop it (as opposed to relocating to another country).
“Standing for the anthem is more than a piece of cloth and a song,” she continued. “It’s bigger than that. It’s symbolic of the struggles and triumphs of our nation.”
Nearly yelling at this point, Lahren promoted compelled speech and forced patriotism (North Korea, anyone?) arguing, “Instead of waking up every day saying ‘Poor me,’ how about you get up and thank God you can get up!” She added, “There are some who still stand for the anthem and its a hell of a lot harder for them to do so.”
As most have pointed out, Kaepernick’s protest isn’t personal; he’s protesting on behalf of those without a voice. Most of those affected by systemic racism have neither Kaepernick’s platform nor Lahren’s privilege of being born with a skin color that allow them to make flippant statements ignoring raw statistical evidence of racism and discrimination in every major government infrastructure, including law enforcement.
“The very first thing I learned in the military is this: Respect is a two-way street. If you want respect, true respect, sincere respect, then you have to GIVE IT.
“If you want respect, you have to do the things necessary to earn it each and every single day. There are no short cuts and no exceptions.
“Respect cannot be compelled.
“Respect cannot be bought.
“Respect cannot be inherited…Respect has to be earned.
“Respect. Has. To. Be. Earned.”
“Now, any veteran worth the label should know that. If they don’t, then likely they weren’t much of a soldier to begin with and you can tell them I said so.
“IF Kaepernick doesn’t feel his country respects him enough for him to respect it in return, well, then you can’t MAKE him respect it.
“You can not make him respect it.
“If you try to force a man to respect you, you’ll only make him respect you less.
“With threats, by violence, by shame, you can maybe compel Kaepernick to stand up and put his hand over his heart and force him to be quiet. “You might.
“But that’s not respect.
“It’s only the illusion of respect.
“You might force this man into the illusion of respect. You might. Would you be satisfied then? Would that make you happy? Would that make you respect your nation, the one which forced a man into the illusion of respect, a nation of little clockwork patriots all pretending satisfaction and respect? Is that what you want? If THAT’s what matters to you, the illusion of respect, then you’re not talking about freedom or liberty. You’re not talking about the United States of America. Instead you’re talking about every dictatorship from the Nazis to North Korea where people are lined up and MADE to salute with the muzzle of a gun pressed to the back of their necks.
“That, that illusion of respect, is not why I wore a uniform.
“That’s not why I held up my right hand and swore the oath and put my life on the line for my country.
“That, that illusion of respect, is not why I am a veteran.
“Not so a man should be forced to show respect he doesn’t feel.
“That’s called slavery and I have no respect for that at all.”
Perhaps most poignantly – and directly addressing the Lahren’s of the right who trot out military service members as a mode of attack on those choosing to abstain from patriotic gestures as a form of protest, Wright added:
“To you the National Anthem means one thing, to Kaepernick it means something else. We are all shaped and defined by our experiences and we see the world through our own eyes. That’s freedom. That’s liberty. The right to believe differently. The right to protest as you will. The right to demand better. The right to believe your country can BE better, that it can live up to its sacred ideals, and the right to loudly note that it has NOT. The right to use your voice, your actions, to bring attention to the things you believe in. The right to want more for others, freedom, liberty, justice, equality, and RESPECT.
“A true veteran might not agree with Colin Kaepernick, but a true veteran would fight to the death to protect his right to say what he believes.
“You don’t like what Kaepernick has to say? Then prove him wrong, BE the nation he can respect.
“It’s really just that simple.”
Which is to say, conservatives like Tomi Lahren love to drape themselves in the American flag in order to judge others’ level of patriotism and fitness to be United States citizens. As they do that, they demonstrate exactly why we need persons like Kaepernick to show why the Constitution and First Amendment were written as they were in order to allow true patriots to fight systemic injustice.
In the mean time, Lahren will continue sitting atop her pedestal benefitting from the kind of privilege only conservative Christian Caucasians enjoy. When you’re so steeped in racist ideology and white privilege you can’t see or understand widespread oppression, it makes sense that those abstaining from acts of patriotism as a form of protest may seem like “whiners” and “race-baiters.”
Here’s the video from Lahren’s Facebook page: