“What Did the KKK Do?”

Ah, what a lovely, inspiring quote from a woman from my state of residence. How wonderful it is to know that such bright, intelligent minds are representing me in a very public light. It’s great.

If you haven’t sensed the sarcasm now, you’re in for a rude awakening very soon.

I was hoping to avoid talking about this because I purposely chose to not get involved at all. I had seen some conversation on social media, but not until I watched the now famous interview on the Daily Show, I cannot help but feel compelled to say something.

Tomi Lahren. I name I didn’t even know until very recently. I had seen one of my Facebook friends share a video bashing Hillary Clinton a few months ago, but I didn’t think too much of it. Now she’s the talk of the town, about the very angry words she is spewing toward topics like Black Lives Matter and Dakota Access. Which, first off, seems wrong as is when she’s as white as they come. But she wouldn’t consider herself a conservative. She’s “a Millennial who doesn’t believe in labels.”

Immediately I become defensive and just angry in general. We were born and raised in the same state, are in the same generation, are the same gender, but we could not think any differently. I can’t blame everything on this one random person alone because my state is full of people thinking the same way. They see protests from racial minorities and see it as disrespectful to the country, violence without a real cause. They don’t see the message of the majority and instead to choose on the small fraction of people angry enough to resort to violence. Because really, how else will the public pay attention to anything anymore if there isn’t some sort of violence? It’s a vicious cycle, but complaining about it sure doesn’t help anybody.

I know I’m privileged. I’ve never had to worry about being attacked or discriminated for my race. It’s something I don’t really think about. It’s easy for people like Lahren to say they “don’t see color” when they aren’t the victims crying out for help. And because I’m in the position I am, I feel compelled to help these people in any way I can. So they don’t have to feel silenced to the point of violent outrage. That if they or anybody sees injustice, they have peaceful means of communicating those grievances and making a change.

I don’t particularly appreciate how popular Lahren has become. She has now become of a makeshift mouthpiece for young people from the rural Midwest, and my gut instinct is to remove myself from this place as much as possible. I may come from a similar background as Lahren, but our lives and mentalities could not be any more different. The last thing I would ever do is make a viral video, without much factual information to back up my personal ideas, and share it with the world. I’m writing, of course, but the last thing I’d ever want to do is shame people who already experience enough hardships. Who don’t deserve an angry white person pretending to know how America works, who deserves a voice and who doesn’t. I’m not going to criticize America without at least leaving on a note of hope or offering some sort of solution. And I certainly cannot offer much when it comes to topics I personally don’t have much experience or knowledge in.

The American flag is a symbol of this country and everything we’ve gone through, but there’s hate interwoven in the fabric. When we ignore the basic rights of others, we ignore the injustice, we undermine others’ work, we compare a widespread movement to a white supremacist hate group, that is the real problem. Before you speak, know what you’re saying and who it is affecting. This is a message not just for Lahren, but for everybody.

Yes, I am a tad distraught that my demographic of young women from the Midwest is represented by a very close-minded individual. But I am even more ashamed that there are many more people out there like Lahren that influence what she believes in and support it. I’m all for different opinions and healthy discussion, but that involves listening and understanding, neither of which are taking place. The people on the frontlines of problems across the country don’t have Lahren’s luxurious life.

If anything, I want to speak up for myself and not have a bleach-blonde downplay the necessity to recognize and stand behind these different movements, whether that be Black Lives Matter or Dakota Access or even peaceful protests against Trump. We all deserve to be heard. But if your words are not productive, if they do not engage progress or back themselves up on real facts, take it down a few notches. If you have no valid reason to engage yourself in the middle of a situation that doesn’t affect you, why would you, unless it is from a place of understanding and support?

There’s enough hate and ignorance in the world as is. The last thing we need is more.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

 

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