The following Op-Ed was written by Brooklyn Brady:
This is probably one of the most politically polarizing times in American history. As the Trump era has created a stigma regarding political ideology, we are expected to stand on one side of the politically schismatic line separating conservatives from liberals. However, such a binary was recently blurred when conservative talk show host Tomi Lahren revealed that even though she was a Republican, she was also pro-choice.
Historically, abortion has always been a controversial topic of political discussion. Typically, the Republican party represents views that are pro-life, believing that abortion should be illegal, while the Democrat party tend to believe in a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her reproductive health without government intervention. But, Tomi Lahren, as one of the most outspoken, conservative media outlets challenged that notion. She stated that as a “Constitutional Republican”, she believes in limited government– including legislative decisions regarding her reproductive health. Consequently, she was suspended and then later fired from her network The Blaze.
This action is particularly troubling, because it highlights the many underlying issues beyond the obvious debate of whether or not abortions should be subject to government regulation. It illustrates that despite Lahren’s consistent blatant racist, sexist and other offensive statements segment after segment, her employers only took action against her for supporting women’s autonomy to make reproductive health decisions. This not only emphasizes the reality that abortion is one of the most divisive topics of our current political culture, but it also brings to light the reality that women’s reproductive health is seen as more of a threat to America than blatant racism.
To understand how frequent racist commentary built her success, check out this segment on TheBlaze, where Lahren criticized NFL player Colin Kaepernick for taking a knee during the national anthem, in an act of silent protest, to shine light on the oppression that people of color have faced through initiations ranging from slavery, to Jim Crow laws, and continue to face through police brutality. Lahren went as far as to ask Kaepernick, “What’s your message to black kids?…that their biggest contribution to justice and self fulfillment is to parade around with a chip on their shoulder like a victim? And Colin, how dare you sit there and blame white people for the problems of minority communities!” Lahren continued by suggesting that blaming white people for the problems of black communities constitutes blacks as racist.
Through her rant, Lahren dismissed the effects of racial discrimination and institutional racism that is inherently part of America’s history while also disregarding Kaepernick’s right to Freedom of Expression. Lahren’s words irresponsibly blinds her viewers to the reality of oppression and racism as well as demonizes the strives taken to reach equality as acts of arrogant victimhood, rather than simple pleas for human decency.
Lahren made a career out of her racist commentary––a career that was supported and perpetuated by TheBlaze. Her racist comments were not only acceptable, but were encouraged by her network. Only her embrace of women’s reproductive rights was determined to be worthy of a termination of her contract.
In firing Lahren, TheBlaze sets precedent for journalists to be no more than mouthpieces for the network’s agenda. Their actions illuminates the patriarchal nature of conservative media. It is encouraged for one to be racist, support white supremacy and contribute to oppression of minorities; however, the progression and freedom of women is unacceptable.
Through this series of events, the contradictory nature of the Republican Party and its fundamental values is brought to light. Conservatives tend to pride themselves for ideology that limits government intervention in order to promote freedom, yet they often promote incendiary remarks and restrict minorities and women. It is this patriarchal, white supremacist rhetoric that we as Americans must challenge.
As a part of Millennial & Political, it is our duty, regardless of political ideology, to terminate discrimination of any sort. If we want to live out the American Dream of social mobility for all––regardless of race, religion, creed, or gender––we cannot allow such prejudices to occur. We must take a stand against the outdated, unjust structures of America, and not allow partisanship to silence our efforts.
Brooklyn Brady is a freshman at the University of Southern California, majoring in Communications. Brooklyn is passionate about advocating for equality of all individuals and transcending the racism, sexism and classism that holds communities back. She believes that America should uphold its values as a nation of immigrants and celebrate its diversity and differences. Through writing, she hopes to inspire other millennials to become more engaged with social justice and advocacy work. She can be reached through our contact page here at Millennial & Political.