Lena Dunham embodies the myth of white liberal 'tolerance'

There are few interactions more entertaining than when a white liberal meets a black conservative. So many of their sweeping generalizations of conservatives being racists just sound plain silly when they are face-to-face with someone who doesn’t match their expected profile.

On countless occasions, I’ve listened in amusement as a white liberal attempts to educate me, a black man, on how my beliefs are really just a tool for white supremacy. Instead of engaging in a dialogue about policy, they just expect me to give them a pat on the back for their “enlightened” views on race.

But I’ve found that for many of them, their baseless claims about conservatives often serve as a smoke screen for their own prejudice. It seems that those who flippantly hurl the accusation of racism to anyone who thinks differently from them tend to be the most likely perpetrators of it.

It’s difficult to find a more prime example than “Girls” creator and outspoken liberal, Lena Dunham.

Just yesterday, writer Zinzi Clemmons announced that she is leaving her post as a contributor to Dunham’s newsletter “Lenny Letter” due to Dunham’s alleged racism towards black women.

She tweeted that “[Dunham] cannot have our words if she cannot respect us.” Speaking of her personal experiences when she “ran in the same circles” as Dunham throughout her college years, Clemmons claims that Dunham and many of the white women in her circle did little to hide “their well-known racism.”

Dunham is just one example of how white liberals often claim the moral high ground on issues of race simply because of their political views—but privately care very little for minority struggles.

“I'd call their strain ‘hipster racism’, which typically uses sarcasm as a cover, and in the end, it looks a lot like gaslighting—‘It's just a joke. Why are you overreacting?’” Clemmons stated.

It turns out that despite being a figurehead for liberal “tolerance,” Dunham has a troubling track record with people of color.

Just last year, she came under heavy criticism for her comments about black athlete Odell Beckham Jr. Before then, she was under fire for her long-time silence after comedian Lisa Lampenelli posted a selfie with her using the N-word in the caption. Dunham’s defense was that she doesn’t participate in “Twitter debates.”

It’s worth noting that her hypocrisy goes beyond issues of race. Dunham made headlines most recently for speaking out against a woman who claims she was raped, while Dunham herself is an outspoken critic of those who “attack the victim.”

But my point isn’t to simply call out Lena Dunham’s disturbing history on racial issues. She is just one example of how white liberals often claim the moral high ground on issues of race simply because of their political views—but privately care very little for minority struggles. As long as progressive platforms ostensibly seek to help blacks, many of them see little need in assessing the long-term impact of their policies.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what some distant celebrity thinks about black people. But when liberals consistently call conservatives racists simply because of our beliefs, it’s worth pointing out that racism exists on both sides of the aisle. 

It’s difficult to transcend partisan polarization in a country where one side charges the other with racism, while assuming itself immune to prejudice by nature of its political ideology. Conservatives aren’t perfect, but each person ought to be judged by their character—not faulty assumptions about their political views.

Jeremy C. Hunt is a 24-year-old writer and commentator. He also serves as an active duty U.S. Army officer. Follow him on Twitter @thejeremyhunt. The views expressed in this article are those of Jeremy C. Hunt only and not those of the Department of Defense.