Backlash After SNL's Colin Jost Makes Pointed Trans Joke

Jost

Colin Jost, co-host of Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update, made a joke on the most recent episode that poked fun at Tinder and claimed the dating app cost Hillary Clinton the election because it added new gender options.

“The dating app Tinder announced a new feature this week, which gives users 37 different gender identity options,” Jost said. “It’s called, ‘Why Democrats lost the election.’”

Some bristled at blame being placed on transgender and gender non-binary people for Donald Trump winning the Electoral College. The minor Twitter reaction to the joke would have inevitably died down had Jost not responded to the criticism. The comedian argued that "identity politics" contributed to the results of November 8 and Tweeted a link to a reductive New York Times op-ed that made the same claim.

Columbia professor Mark Lilla argued in the Times piece that Hillary Clinton made a mistake by mentioning racial and sexual minorities in her stump speeches, saying it turned off people not explicitly appealed to by her, namely straight, white Christian men. Lilla doesn't mention that Clinton's frequent references to "Latino rights" and "LGBT rights" was an effort at inclusion, not division; something her opponent successfully campaigned on, something that Lilla insinuates was preferable. Lilla also fails to acknowledge that American society has focused almost exclusively on the desires and concerns of straight, white, Christian men, while only recently adressing the discrepancies in civil rights, financial status, and violence affecting women, people of color, LGBT people, and religious minorities.

Lilla argues that celebrating difference is wrong-headed because Americans want to be convinced we all have the same problems. Of course, that's an easy argument to make if the president-elect isn't threatening to deport you or force you to use certain public facilities. In other words, it's easy to hate "identity politics" when your identity, like Jost's, isn't a liability.

 

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