After two weeks off, late-night host Trevor Noah returned to The Daily Show with a message about the protests against police brutality.
After two weeks off, late-night host Trevor Noah returned to The Daily Show with a message about the protests against police brutality. The protests have erupted in all 50 states, and various parts of the world, in response to the unjust murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police. Noah has joined a slew of other late night hosts who have begun using their daily platform to speak up against the current injustices America is facing as it endures two major pandemics: the coronavirus and racism.
Noah is from Johannesburg, South Africa. His father Robert is of Swiss descent while his mother Patricia is of Xhosa ancestry. Noah grew up during apartheid, and under that legislation his mother was considered black, father white, and he was classified as “colored.” His parents interracial relationship was technically illegal up until one year after Noah was born (1985).
Noah currently lives in New York City, but has always been very open about is ethnic background and struggles growing up in South Africa. Now more than ever Noah feels the need to continue his duty as a political journalist through the comedic lens of his show, however, his message this past Monday radiated a much more serious tone. He began by emphasizing the fact that these protests were sparked by one killing in one American city, but that murder spoke volumes about what it is to be a black person/minority in many places of the world, and what it is to feel like “a target of the police and a target of a system that is designed to keep you down, with violence if necessary.”
“There’s always going to be people who say, ‘I sympathize with you, but this is not the way to get what you want. Well, you know what? I hope those people are hungry, because they’re going to be eating their words.”
Noah then went on in the episode to discuss some of the “incredible results” that two short weeks of protesting has accomplished. For example, the widespread removal of confederate statues, monuments, and building names around the country. Noah specifically mentioned the removal of the Robert E Lee monument in Richmond, Virginia, which will be removed after standing there for 130 years, and the removal of a large monument dedicated to Philadelphia’s 1960 police commissioner; who was known to be incredibly racist.
In response to those who believe these monuments should remain standing for “historical purposes,” Noah claimed “the bubonic plague was a major event in history, but we don’t go around putting up statues of rats.”
He also used Monday’s episode to emphasize everyone’s personal responsibility to educate themselves on the history of this country and its systemic racism. Noah claimed that while many are speaking negatively about those who are only just now learning more about the history of America and its relationship with black people, we need to at least be happy that they’re doing it regardless; especially because it’s clearly working.
“Black Lives Matter has become the phrase that people admit needs to be said. I don’t know if these companies are actually going to do something to show that they believe Black Lives Matter, but it is still a major step to have American corporations who just a few years ago were terrified of that phrase saying it as part of their corporate ethos.”
Noah also emphasized how these protests and social media hashtags have appeared before and often simmer out, however, there seems to be a real dynamic shift in the way people are discussing this movement compared to eight years ago, when similar protests erupted in response to the death of Travon Martin.
The main difference Noah notes is how everyone, especially individuals with white privilege, are emphasizing that they agree that simply posting statements, hashtags, taking down statues, and educating each other is not going to be enough.
“Companies have to hire more black people. Companies have to stop not hiring people because they’re black. The culture has to amplify more black voices, and of course, cities have to end racist policing of black people.” So to simplify it, the general attitude among these protests is that Americans are demanding true systemic change. Not just for a few officers to be fired and charged for their crimes against black people, but a complete overhaul of the system and how it runs.
Noah recapped the growth of “defund/abolish the police” as a movement within these protests, which is mainly advocating for the redistribution of the billion dollar police budgets major metropolitans have, and putting that money into resources that would enforce the law in non-punitive ways and communities of color.
Additionally, protesters are demanding that the police give their massive amount of money and resources to the thousands of healthcare facilities throughout America currently struggling to afford disposable masks in the middle of a worldwide health crisis.
“It makes sense – prevention is always better than the cure, especially when the cure kills black people,” Noah said at the end of the episode. For now, Noah and other celebrities with a massive platform are continuing to use their fame to educate and promote organizations and petitions that are helping progress the movement.
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