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The Mass Media

Trevor Noah: Racist Hypocrite

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Trevor Noah: Racist Hypocrite

Let me begin by noting that I have nothing against Trevor Noah, personally. Generally speaking, I find Trevor Noah to be entertaining and informative on many subjects. Other than his relentless and unnecessary bashing of Trump (which I find boring), Trevor Noah isn’t as bad as other late-night TV hosts in terms of humor and political commentary. However, I strongly preferred Jon Stewart’s sense of comedy, genuineness, and overall charisma compared to Trevor Noah’s somewhat plastic demeanor. In all honesty, I prefer Trevor Noah’s stand-up routines to his scripted show segments.
In a recent segment, labeled, “Is Rep. Steve King Racist? Enter Trevor Noah: Racism Detective,” Trevor Noah unpacks claims surrounding several statements made by Representative Steve King, both recently and from several years prior. Overall, I had no problem with the content of the segment, however, there was something in the final few minutes that greatly disturbed me, and I believe should have disturbed other people as well. Noah says, “Steve King [was] being racist towards Mexicans, Muslim, and the entire non-white world.” Earlier in the segment he described derogatory statements made by King toward all three of these people groups. While some may argue that this is just an issue of semantics, I believe Noah’s claims that King was, “racist towards Muslims.” is one that exposes a deep flaw in our understanding of race, and racism itself; I am speaking of the fact that it is socially acceptable for someone to state that there is “racism” towards a religion.
The huge majority of the Middle Eastern and Arab nations consists of Muslim citizens, and this has long led to the stereotype of all Arabs being Muslims and all Muslims being Arabs. While it is true that the majority of Arabs are Muslim, any assumption that Islam is a race should offend Arabs, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.
Once again, I have nothing against Trevor Noah or this specific segment. However, this entire segment was quite low-hanging fruit. Following his recent statements, Steve King was condemned by the Republican Party and he was even removed from his committee assignments and leadership positions.
“The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” is an informative, relatively funny late-night show in my opinion. I usually enjoy it, although I may not agree with his specific political stances. While this segment attempts to uncover the racism of a United States Representative, Trevor Noah made a statement that was the very definition of racism: “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race.” Saying that somebody was racist toward a religion is a racist statement itself, and is also deeply hypocritical coming from a comedian who constantly complains about racism.