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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Calling Out Tomi Lahren on Her "S_ _ _ " You Don't Know Jack


 

I just watched Trevor Noah of the Daily Show interview Tomi Lahren about her conservative attacks on Colin Kaepernick and the Black Lives Matter movement. Lahren, an outspoken political commentator and television host, has compared the Blacks Lives Matter movement to the Ku Klux Klan on the Web show, The Blaze, thus sparking a change.org petition calling for her removal from the show. 

And, in November, Lahren released a video on the protests that have risen as a result of Donald Trump being elected as President of the United States. She commented that "a bunch of sore losers gathered together isn't a protest, it's a tantrum.”

On the Daily Show, Noah asked Lahren about her anger over the election protests. She replied ...

You're protesting a fair and free election, that to me says you need to be called on your s--- a bit. Time to clear the streets, time to move on, time to make America great again."

In response to her comments on Black Lives Matter, Lahren said ...

"I wish that we could disagree with each other without thinking we are bad people. So because I criticize a black person or the Black Lives Matter movement, that doesn't mean that I'm anti-black or that I'm racist. I'm criticizing a movement. I criticize Colin Kaepernick -- that doesn't mean I don't believe in his First Amendment rights. I believe in my First Amendment rights to criticize him.”

The Question

Since she expressed her disapproval not only of those who use protests to riot and loot but also of those who would burn the flag and kneel during the National Anthem, Noah asked Lahren what I thought was a very pertinent question:

Then, how should a black person (or any person, for that matter) bring up their grievances?”

Pertinence To the Question

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble.

Leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela have led protests that have been invaluable to social movements. History is ripe with civil demonstrations like the Boston Tea Party, the Tiananmen Square protest, the Moratorium Against the Vietnam War, and Occupy Wall Street and drew attention to injustice.

Protests take any number of forms. Popular forms of protest include marches, rallies, vigils, pickets, civil disobedience (such as barricades or sit-ins), information distribution, symbolic displays, and boycotts.

Some of those forms can be quite controversial. For example, civil disruptions like blocking traffic may be deemed inappropriate. And, naturally, criminal elements may take advantage of demonstrations to loot and burn.

Limitations on Speech

The government can't stop a person from talking generally about ideas or future events. But it may ban speech that’s "directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.”

Categories of speech considered outside of First Amendment protection include obscenity, defamatory language that is false and is intended to harm the reputation of another person, and “fighting words,” or speech that incites imminent lawless action.

Limitations on Place

In most cases, all types of expression are constitutionally protected in traditional “public forums” such as streets, sidewalks and parks. These are places where people have a reasonable expectation of being able to freely communicate their opinions with the fewest possible government limitations.
Nevertheless, officials do have the authority to place reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on demonstrations. Parks may require permits. In general, government buildings and schools cannot be used if protests disturb business, restrict access, or pose threats.

(FREE SPEECH: Protests and Demonstrations' Pamphlet. ACLU. 2016.)

The Answer

People should bring up their grievances albeit within lawful limitations.

I believe this is the best answer to Trevor Noah's question. No one should squash the right of the people to protest and express their complaints, nor should someone who speaks out against lawful protests charge that the protesters are inciting others to violence or encouraging others to engage in harmful activities.

Judging the value of well-meaning protests, especially judging those that involve simple and nonviolent acts, threatens the freedom of all people.

And, yes, Tomi Lahren, you have the right to criticize Colin Kaepernick or to criticize the Black Lives Matter movement; however, you do so as part of your salaried position on Web shows, so you, as a so-called journalist, should follow a creed of fairness and equity. Or, at least you should be better informed.

Why?

Let's take a look at “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which was written by Francis Scott Key in 1814 about the American victory at the Battle of Fort McHenry. The anthem has four verses in total, but the general public is familiar with only the first.
This is the third verse:

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash'd out their foul footstep's pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Slavery was alive and well in the United States in 1814. Key was a slave-holding lawyer from an old Maryland plantation family, who thanks to a system of human bondage had grown rich and powerful.
He was an anti-abolitionist, and he once called his African brethren “a distinct and inferior race of people, which all experience proves to be the greatest evil that afflicts a community.”

(Christopher Wilson. “Where’s the Debate on Francis Scott Key’s Slave-Holding Legacy?” Smithsonian.com. July 01, 2016.)
 
Interpretations of the lyrics content Key was, in fact, taking pleasure in the deaths of freed black slaves who had decided to fight with the British against the United States.

Ashton Edwards of CNN reports …

In order to bolster their numbers, British forces offered slaves their freedom in British territories if they would join their cause during the war. These black recruits formed the Colonial Marines, and were looked down upon by people like Key who saw their actions as treasonous.

As an anthem, 'The Star-Spangled Banner' has never been a unanimous fit. Since it was officially designated as the national anthem in 1931, Americans have debated the suitability of its militaristic lyrics and difficult tune.”

(Ashton Edwards. “Slavery and the national anthem: The history behind Colin Kaepernick’s protest.” CNN Wire. August 29, 2016.)

Tomi Lahren, in your cute, little, angry judgmental manner, perhaps you should better research the topics about which you speak. Also, it may behoove you to know that the journals of American history and the perspectives of those who study them are diverse. Who knew, huh?

Maybe it was too much to assume that a kid with Norwegian and German heritage who grew up in a military family in South Dakota and who later interned for Republican congresswoman Kristi Noem knew. The question is still open for your response:

Then, how should a black person (or any person, for that matter) bring up their grievances?”


 


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