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Outside the Hash Marks

February 23, 2018

So can we put to bed this absurd notion LeBron James and Kevin Durant are somehow not qualified to talk about politics? No news network is in any position to tell people who can and cannot use their platforms to talk about politics. That is Level One for this discussion. Are we good on that front? Cool, because there is more to talk about here. Laura Ingraham will tell everyone and their mother that anyone who calls her racist for her comments is easily offended. That’s her job. She says something racist, hides behind unclear rhetoric, and then plays the wide-eyed victim when someone sees through it. It’s what she’s excellent at. But it’s still garbage. She still is very clearly drawing on some pretty racist tropes when she decides to respond how she does to Kevin Durant in particular. Dog whistles aren’t hard to construct, really.

First, you go after grammar. Ignore that half of your sentences are aborted fragments that start and stop at seemingly random points in not just this segment, but any time you go off-script. But remind America that Kevin Durant speaks “different” than everyone else. Portray him as an idiot. Say his words are not intelligible, when all that would really do is out you as an idiot for not understanding pretty plain language. Your audience, eager to go after the uppity Negro, will lap it up for days.

Second, remind everyone that he is an entertainer, and is somehow not qualified to participate in political life as a result. This will really get the base fired up. Remind them that they aren’t just smarter, but more deserving than these ungrateful idiots who can’t do anything but mumble and put a ball through a hoop. Never mind that there are anchors on FOX with about the same credentials. Never mind that you are defending a President with no political experience or qualification besides being rich. You’re not looking to self-reflect. You’re looking to demonize and throw a bone to the racists who watch you.

Finally, when you get busted, say anyone who thinks you are racist is sensitive. You never meant any of those things! Wink wink, nudge nudge. And suddenly, the base knows who the enemy is. That’s how people like Ingraham work. For all she wrote about how important it is that we listen to Middle America, she is really keen on ignoring two men from low-income backgrounds in the very same Middle America she loves so much. But their experiences don’t lead them to her party. So I guess they don’t matter. Funny how that all works.

Anthony Adams
Political Editor

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