Trevor Noah, a comedian and host of a Comedy Central show, seems to go against UMBC’s values of tolerance, respect, and community. Photo by Jaedon Huie.
Homecoming is upon us and with it comes the traditional comedy show put on by the Division of Student Affairs. This year, the featured comedian is Trevor Noah, host of Comedy Central’s popular satire and political comedy program, “The Daily Show.” Now this may seem an obvious choice for a college campus, as many are attracted to shows like these. However, is Trevor Noah all he seems to be?
The most immediate issue one finds with Noah upon researching his history are certain disturbing comments found on his Twitter page.
One tweet from 2011 reads, “’Oh yeah the weekend. People are gonna get drunk & think that I’m sexy!’ – fat chicks everywhere.”
To say the least, this is disturbing rhetoric coming from a man who claims to stand against the ‘intolerance’ of the Trump administration.
His private tweets are not the only thing that ought to raise eyebrows. His conduct on his show, specifically regarding what he seeks to normalize, is also very showing.
Take, for example, his roundtable on third parties that aired on August 18 of last year. Throughout the course of the program, the positions of the Libertarian and the Green parties were not even mentioned. They were circumvented in favor of simply repeatedly claiming that they could not win as they were not one of the two ‘legitimate’ parties in the race, and therefore did not deserve equal consideration.
This is in stark contrast to the coverage afforded the Trump campaign, coverage which far exceeded any other campaign. If coverage was considered a product of legitimacy, this was just a roundabout way to present the platform of hate that was the cornerstone of President Trump’s campaign as normal and legitimate.
This trend of normalizing Far-Right ideology that is rising in popularity seems to be a trend of Noah’s that has continued even after the election. Consider Noah’s interview with notable white supremacist Tomi Lahren that aired on November 30, 2016.
In this interview Noah approaches Lahren’s position with tact and respect, allowing her to defend herself, and generally treating her position as one that can and should be given due consideration.
Now, on the opposite side of the spectrum, on August 31 of this year, Noah discussed the rise of the Antifa movement. Far from giving them equal consideration or the respect he afforded Lahren, he merely plays clips he claims categorizes the wider antifascist movement.
Aside from failing to even remotely explain the history or goals of antifascism in general, a political ideology that has existed since the 1930s, it reduces the entire movement to a caricature: a group of people who just like punching people. This sort of reduction and misrepresentation clearly shows that Trevor’s agenda is to maintain right-wing political momentum.
Ultimately, a critical analysis of Trevor Noah’s conduct as a comedian reveals that he has disturbingly ignorant and intolerant tendencies. Noah seems to be a tool of the political establishment and the very president he has repeatedly railed against. By mediating the approved tone and methodology of antifascists and activists whilst promoting that of nationalists and bigots, he pushes the overall American political dialectic to the right.
Now there is little one can do about this in regard to Noah’s upcoming show. Rather, the university simply ought to be more careful with whom they support. Instead of granting yet another platform to a comedian like Trevor Noah, the administration ought to be promoting smaller and more local comedians, who share and promote UMBC’s values of tolerance, respect and community.