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Season Two of Netflix’s Dear White People was released on May 4 and this season’s ending took a real twist. Instead of ending in violence or tragedy, the 10-episode season ends by exposing a controversial black conservative as a ‘minstrel’ performer, her beliefs for sale and not at all sincere.
The fictional Winchester University is the setting and the school is much like most elite institutions of higher learning. The student population is majority white but filled with a mix of students from all backgrounds and walks of life. As you may recall from the first season, the series concentrates on Samantha “Sam” White (Logan Downing) and her popular radio show on the school’s radio station. The show is called “Dear White People” and Sam lectures white people on her opinions as a black person on campus. Sam is bi-racial and her father, who is white and an alumnus of the university, making Sam a legacy student, expects great things from her.
Sam is a leader in the school’s Black Student Caucus. The caucus plans to bring a liberal social justice activist, Carson Rhodes (Tyler James Williams), to campus to speak and counter an appearance by a conservative female speaker. The conservative, Rikki Carter (Tessa Thompson, who played “Sam” in the original film), is coming at the invitation of the College Republicans and she’s black. Naturally, the liberal students are outraged that a conservative is going to be given a platform on campus because apparently, the First Amendment is only for liberals. Remember the good old days when colleges were a place for students to hear all points of view and form personal opinions from there? Those days are long gone. Now conformity is demanded by the loudest voices.
Carson Rhodes withdraws from speaking at the college when his fee isn’t paid, due to a failure to follow through by one of the caucus members. This propels Sam into believing she must speak up and let Rikki Carter know in no uncertain terms that she is a bad person.
The final episode, “Chapter 10” is all about the appearance of Rikki Carter. Sam goes backstage just before Rikki is due to go on stage and is ready to rip her a new one. She brings her video camera to tape the confrontation for the last part of her student documentary. Instead, Rikki turns the table on Sam and lets her know right away that she loves Sam’s radio show and is a big fan of hers. Sam is confused so Rikki explains that her own career is built on a lie.
Rikki tells Sam that she found a niche in politics to exploit – she is a black conservative because it puts her in demand as a speaker or commentator on panels. She even gives career advice to Sam and suggests the two of them could team up and present their opposing views – like she and Carson Rhodes do. It’s all a well-planned schtick, in other words. It’s entertainment, not real ideology or political beliefs. Because, of course, a black person couldn’t REALLY believe all that.
It’s so easy nowadays. Just wait for a shooting. Any kind will do. An unarmed black teen, a school, a church, or wherever the next misogynistic white lunatic decides to unload his gun. Just hop on that talking head train, because when the world gets hold of her, game over…
The big fish is the book deal, of course, that’s where you concretize her, put her on record to be quoted and echoed into a fixture where you’ll scarcely remember the girl who wrote the damn thing. Hey, maybe we could start a feud and release our books the same month. Carson and I did.
Needless to say, Sam is shocked that this is all an act. Rikki reminds her that “minstrelsy” is the top entertainment form after porn. Sam claims she has “too much honor” to just perform and Rikki lowers the boom:
“You ‘popped’ at a white college while expressing a philosophy that would have been only mildly interesting if this were an HBCU [Historically Black College/University]. I got my start arguing absurd right-wing views so I could win debate championships.”
Rikki tells Sam she is just collecting checks to “build a goddamn kingdom of my own… Because in this country, all that matters is who holds the gold and owns the land and its many resources.” She sounds nice!
A campus security guard refers to the conservative speaker as “a known shit stirrer” as the school braces for any possible violence or demonstrations. Well, instead of demonstrations, (though there were some students with signs at the venue’s entrance) the black caucus student members bought up all the tickets and sat in Rikki’s audience stone-faced as she launched into her usual hyperbolic speech. It threw her off her game and the audience was satisfied with that. Talk about anti-climactic.
In the episode titled “Chapter IV” one of the students is considering having an abortion. Coco Conners (Antoinette Roberson) is pregnant by the son of the Dean of Winchester. Coco is the girl from the other side of the tracks determined to not make the same decisions her mother made. Her mother dropped out of school at 20 years of age because she was pregnant with Coco.
She tells her roommate, Kelsey Phillips (Nia Jervier), “I’m scared. Do you know what the options are for something like this? Either I have some stranger literally suck the life out of me or I go home with a pill to to face the worst possible thing I can imagine. Alone.”
Kelsey reminds her that those are not her only options, she can have the baby. Kelsey pledges support of whatever decision Coco makes, she even comes out stronger in favor of Coco having the child.
Naturally, they go about dogging states with stricter abortion laws. “At least we aren’t having this discussion in Texas, or Kentucky or Missouri, or Virginia, or Utah, or South Dakota,” they grouse. “I really am needed on Capitol Hill,” Coco says in response. But she admits, “Having a choice doesn’t make that choice any easier to make.”
The girls go to the abortion clinic, but then Coco decides to leave. Just when you think she is choosing life, we see scenes playing out of her telling the baby’s father, dropping out of college, and then bringing her own daughter to become a student at Winchester. After Coco gives her daughter a speech about all the amazing opportunities she has to take advantage of, we hear her name being called at the clinic and she turns around.
So, instead of repeating her mother’s path, Coco chose to get an abortion. She also didn’t bother to tell the baby’s father. She’s now free to continue on with her plans to eventually end up on Capitol Hill.
The second season also deals with social media trolling as Sam is the target of an “alt-right” troll on Twitter @AltIvy_W in response to her radio show. Spoiler alert: the troll turns out to be a student journalist, Silvio (D.J. Blickenstaff), looking to give those not politically correct a platform.
“Campuses used to be places of free speech. Now they’re places for whiny rich kids playing ‘who’s most offended’ and ‘your trigger warning violated my safe space.’ We are here to learn and face new ideas. This campus can’t handle opposing thoughts but they feel it. If Sam White gets a platform for her ideas, why shouldn’t they? What happened to the First Amendment?” When challenged by another journalism student, because Silvio is gay, he responds, “Just because I’m not white and straight doesn’t mean I’m beholden to the left and their bullshit identity politics. Sorry not sorry.”
In all, season two was not particularly entertaining or ground-breaking. It’s mostly the confusion felt by young social justice warriors trying to find their place in the left’s world of political action. That’s not exactly an original kind of story. Sorry not sorry.
A Republican candidate in Wisconsin’s heated Senate race questioned the thinking of military service members who are Democrats, arguing that their service contradicts their political views.
During an interview on Wednesday with WTMJ radio host Steve Scaffidi, Marine veteran and GOP Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson discussed his military service and cited former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as an example of a Democrat who signed up to serve the country.
He continued, “Those veterans that are out there in the Democrat Party, I question their cognitive thought process because the bottom line is, they’re signing up to defend the Constitution that their party is continually dragging through the mud.”
Nicholson also told Scaffidi that “to defend the Constitution … is, of course, a conservative value” and that the “Democrat Party has wholesale rejected the Constitution and the values that it was founded upon.”
VoteVets, a progressive veterans advocacy group, called on Nicholson to apologize for his comments.
“What a horrible thing to say about his brothers & sisters,” the group tweeted Wednesday. “We disagree with conservative veterans, but their views are their right.”
After the radio interview, VoteVets shared several tweets from veterans and veteran advocates who said they were insulted by Nicholson’s remarks.
Once again Trumps way of thinking, dividing our Military, this is so dangerous on so many levels, like pitting one service over the other!
— Sue (@suejard) May 2, 2018
Despite his declarations about conservative values, Nicholson’s own GOP credentials have been questioned during his campaign to challenge Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) for her seat in the U.S. Senate.
Nicholson’s primary opponent Leah Vukmir, a GOP state senator, questioned his “track record as a Republican” last week during the candidates’ first public debate. Nicholson, a corporate consultant, was an active Democrat during his college years, leading the College Democrats of America as president and even speaking at the 2000 Democratic National Convention.
“We know more about Kevin’s track record as a Democrat than we do about his track record as a Republican,” Vukmir said, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
After Nicholson’s interview with Scaffidi on Wednesday, Democratic Super PAC American Bridge released a statement accusing Nicholson of insulting fellow veterans based on their political views.
“Our servicemen and women lay their lives on the line every day to protect Americans’ right to freedom of expression,” American Bridge spokeswoman Amelia Penniman said. “That Kevin Nicholson imagines otherwise is an affront to those who serve, and to the Constitution he claims to protect.”
“Kevin Nicholson is so desperate to hide from Republican primary voters that he used to be a Democrat that he is willing to publicly disparage his fellow veterans,” Penniman added. “That’s the very worst of political opportunism.”
Nicholson’s campaign clarified his comments to CNN’s KFile by focusing on his criticism of the Democratic Party and Democrats, claiming they have “shown overt disrespect to our veterans.”
“Kevin made clear that all members of the military ― regardless of their political party ― sign up to defend and protect the Constitution and its principles,” campaign spokesman Brandon Moody told CNN.
“But Kevin also believes that the Democrat Party has become unmoored from the Constitution and has lost its way.”
Nicholson’s parents made news in February after they gave the largest possible donation to Baldwin’s primary campaign, months after their son had announced his bid to run against her.
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Two days of congressional hearings with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg underlined how American perceptions of media power are changing. After 2012, Democrats and their media allies oozed over the way former President Barack Obama’s brilliant strategists changed the face of campaigning through Facebook. But in 2016, Donald Trump was elected, and Facebook became a malignant ghetto of “fake news” and inappropriate election manipulation.
Congress is justified in asking how Facebook’s massive popularity could also lead to massive violations of privacy and, potentially, international manipulation in our political process. But there is more to discuss, questions of bias and censorship that the left doesn’t want to cover, and for good reason. It’s guilty of that.
Several Republican senatorsrs underlined conservatives’ fears about what Facebook is becoming now that it’s under pressure from leftist elites to ban free speech. Sen. Ben Sasse asked Zuckerberg how he defines “hate speech,” noting that many young people find the First Amendment allows too much hurtful speech. He couldn’t really answer it. But in his opening statement, he insisted Facebook has to “make sure people aren’t using it to hurt people or spread misinformation.”
Sen. Ted Cruz zeroed in on the hard evidence of Facebook demonstrating a “pervasive pattern of political bias.” Gizmodo reported in 2016 that Facebook insiders revealed the social media giant kept major conservative stories like ones on Conservative Political Action Conference off its “trending” topics for readers. Facebook shut down the “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day page,” blocked a post by Fox News reporter Todd Starnes, has blocked over two dozen Catholic pages and recently declared the videos of pro-Trump black ladies known as Diamond and Silk “unsafe for the community.”
To his credit, Zuckerberg replied, “I understand where that concern is coming from because Facebook and the tech industry are located in Silicon Valley, which is an extremely left-leaning place.” Just acknowledging that reality caused the liberals to tear their hair out.
But then Cruz asked whether Zuckerberg had ever heard of a Planned Parenthood page being taken down. No. How about a MoveOn.org page? No. Any Democratic candidate pages? No. Nobody’s aware of that happening. But we can suspect that Facebook’s content police have an itchy trigger finger in identifying where conservatives “hurt people or spread misinformation.”
Conservatives are used to the national media excluding our viewpoint or loading up a pundit panel with eight liberals and one marginal Republican. We’re not going to be happy if the social media start hindering us from communicating with one another on what Zuckerberg claims is a “platform for all ideas.”
Zuckerberg recently told the leftist blog Vox that Facebook plans to boost “broadly trusted news sources” like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal (national media elites) as opposed to looking “down to blogs that may be on more of the fringe.” Would it be wrong to see ourselves in that “fringe”? We are certainly not placing our trust in The New York Times. But the Facebook founder explained they would like to “help these news organizations, drive subscriptions.”
For all of Zuckerberg’s willingness to acknowledge the bias in Big Tech, he needs to acknowledge that conservatives have news outlets, too, like our CNSNews.com. Showing favoritism toward building the profits and influence of liberal media elites is taking sides, not offering a neutral forum for all.
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HLN’s S.E. Cupp Unfiltered
March 29, 2018
5:32:59 PM Eastern
S.E. CUPP: Can conservatives crossover? On March 18, CNN’s Brian Stelter suggested to conservative commentator Ben Shapiro that the answer to liberal media is simple. Conservatives should simply work in the mainstream.
BRIAN STELTER: Your website, The Daily Wire, a lot of other conservative media sites that have criticism of the press. I sometimes worry y’all are trying to tear things down as opposed to make things better. [Flash] Part of me thinks that you and your colleagues at The Daily Wire should try to get jobs at then at The New York Times. If you don’t like the coverage, try to be a part of the solution as opposed to complaining about it.
CUPP: As fate would have it, The Atlantic did just that. A week ago they hired former National Review writer Kevin D. Williamson to be a contributor. So, are liberals applauding his move? No, the reaction to this has gone as you’d expect. The Ne Republic’s Sarah Jones complained, “Williamson excels at the sort of reactionary meanness that has long been dominated conservative punditry. He gleefully says something horrific; the left reacts; the outrage cycle churns onward.” (…)
Ben Shapiro was sure to point out this new move on Twitter: “Last week on CNN, Brian Stelter asked why conservatives didn’t try to join mainstream media outlets. Watch what’s happening with Kevin Williamson and you have your answer.”
As a conservative who has worked at scores of networks and publications left and right, I will tell you, It’s hard out there for a pimp. You heard me. Conservatives at liberal outlets are often either pimped out as tokens or exotic animals to be gawked at. When you’re not busy translating your values to coastal liberal journalists and executives, you’re against the wall defending them to a panel of 18 shouting pundits who think you are evil incarnate.
My question is, why are liberals so afraid of dissenting opinion? Let me ask Mary Katherine Ham, CNN political commentator and senior writer at The Federalist.
CUPP: People talking about the media being liberal, and it is, but these so-called conservative ghettos are frankly more like paradises. I mean, Fox News does really, really well. There are powerful conservative online outlets, conservative radio, killing it! Conservatives are not exactly suffering in obscurity. But, we are hardly welcomed in numbers by the media arbitrators of influence, you know, The Times, network news, daytime talk, late-night talk. Is that a problem?
MARY KATHERINE HAM: Well, first of all, the bottom line is, the reason that those places flourish and those outlets flourish is because they are answering what was a missing part of the market before they existed. And they have flourished because there is an audience that is not being served by often very left-leaning or default sort of liberal media on the other side.
CUPP: Guys, one thing the mainstream media does is they hire conservative-ish people. Like, well, we’ll say, like Washington Post blogger, Jen Rubin, for one. New York Times op-ed columnist, Brett Stephens, for another. MSNBC hosts Nicole Wallace, Joe Scarborough. And eventually, they start sounding not very conservative. And I don’t know if that’s a factor of being where they are. I know I was at MSNBC and it, you know, it’s challenging to keep every day, remembering who you are as a conservative, when everyone around you is different. Or if that’s a factor of these places or hiring the kinds of conservatives that they like.
ANDY LEVY: Yeah. No, I think it’s probably more the latter.
CUPP: So what’s the point then? What’s the point of hiring conservative-ish?
LEVY: There’s a phrase, at least I swear this phrase exists, although I can’t find it on Google. There’s a phrase called a “show Jew.” And that was someone like years ago when a company needed to let people know that they weren’t anti-Semitic, they would hire a Jew. And that would be their show Jew so they can show the world they weren’t anti-Semitic. These people are show-conservatives.
LEVY: The Washington Post hires Jennifer Ruben and they say, “see, no we have a conservative.” And that’s their function. And generally, like you said, they tend to hire people who are conservative-ish; particularly they tend to hire people who are not social conservatives.
CUPP: Yeah. You know, it is hard for conservative to swim in mainstream waters. I do it all the time. And it’s — it’s tough. You really have to steel yourself. But to M.K.’s point, it’s so important that we do this cross-pollination, so that we’re not just all talking in vacuums.
CHRIS BARRON: This is what we’re missing. So the balkanization of the media has been something that I think has been really bad for democracy and bad for the country in general, because we’re missing that kind of real debate. Where we’re hearing opposing sides and people making their minds up at home. And by the way, the point about the Jen Rubins of the world, it’s really doing such a disservice to everyone — there’s nothing conservative about Jen Rubin. At this point, she’s literally a de facto progressive, hard-left person. And pawning her off saying she’s a conservative is so disingenuous. That is fake news.
SABRINA SIDDIQUI: I actually think that’s such a key part of this, is that this tokenizing of conservatives in the media is in part because you have a controversial president. And so everyone who’s been given this platform happens to fall under that never-Trump coalition of conservatives. Which then gets us back to the same echo chamber that in some ways precipitated the outcome of the election, where you have everyone operating in this silo and not understanding the phenomenon that led to Trump in the first place.