Yesterday we looked at some of the more repulsive responses to the case of Otto Warmbier, the American college student who was arrested last year while on a tour of North Korea and, in June, was returned to the U.S. in a coma and died a few days later. As we’ve seen, a Huffington Post contributor named La Sha was one of several commentators who mocked Warmbier and blamed him for his own fate. Knowing only that Warmbier had been imprisoned for the alleged crime of taking down a propaganda poster, La Sha decided that he was a victim of his own white male privilege. She actually compared him Warmbier to the Aurora, Colorado, mass murderer:
When you can watch a white man who entered a theatre and killed a dozen people come out unscathed, you start to believe you’re invincible. When you see a white man taken to Burger King in a bulletproof vest after he killed nine people in a church, you learn that the world will always protect you….What a mind-blowing moment it must be to realize after 21 years of being pedestaled by the world simply because your DNA coding produced the favorable phenotype that such favor is not absolute. What a bummer to realize that even the State Department with all its influence and power cannot assure your pardon. What a wake-up call it is to realize that your tears are met with indifference.
La Sha actually criticized Warmbier for his lack of “respect for the national autonomy” of North Korea. And she concluded her comments by comparing his plight in North Korea to her own situation as a black woman in the United States:
…living 15 years performing manual labor in North Korea is unimaginable, but so is going to a place I know I’m unwelcome and violating their laws. I’m a black woman though. The hopeless fear Warmbier is now experiencing is my daily reality living in a country where white men like him are willfully oblivious to my suffering even as they are complicit in maintaining the power structures which ensure their supremacy at my expense. He is now an outsider at the mercy of a government unfazed by his cries for help. I get it.
Similarly, after Warmbier’s arrest, the terribly unfunny Larry Wilmore, who at the time had a program on Comedy Central, responded to Warmbier’s arrest and show trial by making fun of Warmbier’s name and addressing him, with a sneer, as “frat boy.” Salon agreed, running a piece in which it described Warmbier as “America’s biggest idiot frat boy.” Affinity Magazine, which markets “social justice” to a teenage readership, tweeted a piece of advice that, it argued, Warmbier should have heeded while in North Korea: “Respect their laws.”
But there was, believe it or not, even worse in store. Tune in tomorrow.