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In Defense of Chris Cuomo

If you are particularly online, you’ve surely been caught up in the faux-outrage surrounding CNN media personality and son and brother, respectively, of former and current New York Governors Chris Cuomo.

From what we can tell from the video, a man, clearly out of his depth and surprised by his situation, confronts Chris Cuomo, and refers to him as ‘Fredo’ in reference to a character from The Godfather movies. It was clearly meant to be personally – if not culturally – disparaging. 

Cuomo was out with his family and was insulted in a way that was clearly meant to demean his manliness. And so what did he do? Exactly what every conservative who bemoans those who are upset about toxic masculinity would say he should; he stood up for himself. 

He got mad. Really mad. He threatened violence, but didn’t enact any. The situation is finally diffused. He eventually compares the situation and his own anger within it as somehow akin to an African American being called the n-word, a uniquely vile slur, deployed by slave owners, segregationists, white supremacists, and the rest of their awful consortium of moral ingrates, often at the end of a whip, a police baton, or a clenched fist. 

It was a moment ready-made for Twitter, tinged with the sort of ethnic opprobrium usually reserved for the wildest fantasies of Candace Owens and the reverse racism truthers. 

I’m sure he’ll be put through his paces by the insensitivity police, and some of that will be deserved; of course it makes a mockery of reality to equate the lived experience of Italian immigrants with the descendants of slaves carried to this country in bondage. 

But that misses the larger point. This entire video is getting its short-lived fame because people think it’s absurd that Cuomo got as mad as he did. Some of those people – many of those people – are those who have taken issue both with Black Lives Matter and with a culture more and more supportive of men who forego (deliberately or otherwise) the necessity of traditionally male virtues. 

Was he wrong to compare ‘Fredo’ to the n-word? Of course he was. Was he in a situation where any of us conservatives would’ve agreed with his outrage if he were on our team, rather than dive into critical race theory? It certainly seems so. 

Hypocrisy is not a new thing in politics, nor is it in life. But the plank in our own eye is worth calling out here. Each and every one of us conservatives would rather be accused – especially in the press and on social media – of going too far in standing up for ourselves, our family, and our heritage. To malign Cuomo for doing the same is cheap, petulant, and unbecoming of the values we purport to hold. Good on Cuomo.

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