NORMALIZED DEVIANCE CEASES TO BE DEVIANT

Posted in Rants on December 7th, 2016 by Ed

Sometimes I get lucky and by the time I can make words about something it turns out that other people already said what needs to be said. I found the widely circulated appearance of neo-fascist Barbie Tomi Lahren on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah deeply disturbing. Their exchange was not interesting and it went about as one might expect – imagine an internet comment section where someone tries over and over to get the head cheerleader from your high school to understand that maybe black and white people are not treated equally by society, without success, and you've seen everything the footage has to offer. Add in the predictably heavy emphasis on "dialogue" and "civility" and lots of laughs and smiles to show that we can all get along even if one of us thinks the other is subhuman and you end up with something out of a mushy centrist's wet dreams.

This is not OK. You can't have a civil Agree to Disagree conversation in that format with hardcore racists, or people who make their living making excuses for hardcore racism. Taking someone like Lahren, a troll from deep within the dark right wing internet thrust into the public eye because she's conventionally attractive, and presenting her in this way normalizes extreme beliefs in a way that is flatly dangerous. All this appearance did was offer free publicity to the smiley, perky face of white nationalism. This was a dream come true for Lahren, to be taken seriously and presented as a serious person with something useful to say. Neo-fascist cliques have been trying to find a way to attain that kind of mainstream legitimacy for decades, going to ridiculous extremes like trying to lure in kids with Nazi pop music. And now the mainstream media are doing it for them, for free, under false pretenses of objectivity. All Opinions Matter, right?

Here's Damon Young on why people need to stop playing along and giving right wing demagogues something they badly want – a black sidekick to legitimize how Not Racist they are. The title "It's time to stop allowing ourselves to be seduced by shitty white women" is my kind of title, too. Some random college undergrad, believe it or not, offers a great long take on the white liberal discourse fetish on, believe it or not, Huffington Post. And Vann Newkirk offers a similar but equally worth reading take on reordering our priorities and values so that we recognize that some things are more important than civility and Playing Nice, especially when doing so is exactly what the other side wants as they prepare to walk all over you.

All worth reading. Everything I have to add would be redundant on that.