It was a battle that was always set to cause controversy.
Two polar opposites colliding on national television for all to see. With all that has happened surrounding Trump’s election, the discussion and debate will always continue and in this case it led to the clash of the titans that everyone had been waiting to see. Many would had hoped that Hilary would win and following that win Tomi Lahren’s online presence would subsequently die but in fact her side actually won – Donald Trump will be the next President of the United State and it only made sense for Tomi Lahren to be back in the public eye defending her views and clearly the views of the many Americans who voted for Trump. The show highlighted an interesting contrast. Progressive comedian Trevor Noah, who grew up in apartheid South Africa versus the pretty, petite and extremely patriotic Tomi Lahren who was determined to prove that she is not a racist. Their debate has gone absolutely viral on social media for a number of reasons.
Who is Tomi Lahren?
For those who don’t know of Tomi and her bold statements – here are a few. Her incendiary comments are quite staggering so brace yourselves. She claimed that the Black Lives Matter movement are the new KKK, she denounced NFL player Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the national anthem in protest to police brutality and she attacked Beyonce for using her halftime Superbowl performance as a platform to call out Police Brutality in America. She received major backlash for criticising the star for marrying ‘an ex drug dealer’ and then somehow used that as justification as to why the star has no right to fight against social injustice. Jay Z responded in the perfect way, through his music, and went on to sample her comments in his verse on Pusha T's 'Drug Dealer's Anonymous.
Part of her appeal is her shock value. If you switch off for too long her eloquence and rich vocabulary will mask the dangerous rhetoric she spews. Her fieriness comes as a surprise when you see her pretty petite figure but as soon as she opens her mouth, it is a fireball of rage. Trevor Noah highlighted this on the show when he asked: ‘Tomi, why are you always so angry?’ However, I do not think the only reason Tomi is wrong is because of her ignorance; I think it is her misunderstanding of her privilege and the voice she possesses which so many ethnic minority groups in America do not have. Conservatives love her, social media roast her but ultimately people are watching and talking about her. She was brave to step into the lion’s den and appear on Trevor Noah’s show, knowing that she’d be heavily criticised. However, it is not the first time that she’s flirted with the opposition, she once had radio Host Charlemagne Tha God on her show to talk about police brutality. She ended up looking very foolish for her brash statements and lack of empathy.
Patriotism over Realism
Lahren seemed so determined to prove that America is the greatest country in the world without recognising the social problems the country has. She seemed angrier that Kaepernick disrespected the flag than understanding the reason why he may be protesting against the system. Noah masterfully handled her, allowing Lahren to talk herself into trouble and highlighting the ignorance of some of her statements through wry smiles and silence – it was absolutely comical. One of the prominent moments was when Lahren claimed she does not see colour. What he did try to do was educate her and explain that a lot of black people do not know the right way to express themselves in the country at the moment. If they protest they are painted as rioters, if they speak out they’re told they are overreacting. There is clearly a disconnect between the oppression that black people face and the conservative wing of society who feel they are overreacting and do not understand what is provoking their reaction and it should be obvious – there is systematic racism in America.
The conversation inevitably moved to President Elect Donald Trump. Lahren highlighted how initially she was not a Trump supporter and that she was initially a supporter of Marco Rubio; however, she has now come to endorse Trump. It’s ironic that she would endorse a man who has talked about women in the despicable manner that he has but that could be said for a lot of American women who still saw him as the better option over Hilary. Lahren commented how Trump touches people meaning it in a figurative sense, Noah rather cheekily pointed out how he doesn’t just touch them figuratively but actually physically – the gaff made for an awkward ending to the debate but served as a scary reminder of the type of individual Americans have allowed into the White House.
Overall, the debate made for very interesting television and it’s good that both wings of the spectrum are having their voice heard. Ultimately, that is the only way America can heal.
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