Enough is enough. The media's obsessive coverage and racially charged scrutiny of Rep. George Santos (R., N.Y.) is out of control. It needs to stop before someone gets hurt.
George Santos, the 34-year-old son of Latinx immigrants from Brazil, made history last year by becoming the first openly gay Republican elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Alas, the mainstream media were not impressed.
Rather than applaud him for overcoming systemic racism and homophobia to achieve the American Dream, snarky journalists and late-night hosts taunted Santos and relentlessly probed his personal story for errors and inconsistencies—an unprecedented level of scrutiny that is inextricably linked to his diverse sexual orientation and racial identity, not to mention his lack of a fancy college degree.
Have they no shame? (Answer: They do not.)
We can all agree it's not "funny" when Dave Chappelle uses the guise of "comedy" to openly encourage violence against the transgender community. Guess what? The media's incessant "jokes" about Santos are just as dangerous. They threaten not only his personal and emotional safety but also the physical and mental wellness of every LGBTQ+ individual and person of color in America.
Whether they're mocking the congressman for being a "liar" and a "criminal," or refusing to condemn the chants of "Lock him up!" outside Santos's office in Queens, our media gatekeepers are creating a permission structure for law enforcement agencies to continue their racist crusade against black and brown and gay and drag-queen bodies. That's unacceptable. Americans of good conscience should be literally shaking right now.
Why do these bad-faith actors persist in questioning the authenticity of Santos's lived experience as an LGBTQ+ American and child of Latinx immigrants? (Answer: Racism.)
When Joe Biden, a white man, embellishes his résumé and lies about being arrested in South Africa in 1977, our self-anointed defenders of democracy shrug it off as "Joe being Joe." When first lady Jill Biden, a white woman, insists on calling herself a doctor, they scream, "Yass, Queen!"
When another white woman, Christine Blasey Ford, testified (without evidence) that Justice Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in 1982, they believed her story and applauded her "courage." When yet another white woman, Elizabeth Warren, built her entire career by lying about her Native American heritage, they insisted it could happen to anyone.
But when George Santos spoke his truth, the media pounced. The so-called fact-checkers seized on his every word. Apart from pervasive white supremacy, what else could explain why mainstream journalists are so unwilling to validate the lived experience of a sexually diverse Latinx small-business owner? (Answer: Nothing.)
There may come a time when Santos is tried and convicted in a court of law, at which point it will be incumbent on all of us as members of a diverse and equitable society to ensure that his racial background, sexual orientation, and above all his lack of élite credentials do not preclude him from receiving the same sympathetic coverage and judicial leniency bestowed on Colinford Mattis and Urooj Rahman, the domestic terrorists of color whose legal careers were sidetracked "when a Molotov cocktail ignited the center console of an empty police car during a Black Lives Matter protest."
Until then, leave the poor man alone.