Tucker Carlson’s beef with Tiffany Cross, explained

OPINION: Why would Tucker Carlson accuse MSNBC host Tiffany Cross of inciting an anti-white version of the Rwandan genocide? I'm glad you asked.

Tiffany D. Cross, host of MSNBC's "Cross Connection." (Photo by Marla Aufmuth/Getty Images for Texas Conference for Women 2019); Fox News host Tucker Carlson (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio

What in the Joe Goebbels is this?

This is a clip of Fox News host Tucker Carlson starting a beef with MSNBC journalist Tiffany Cross. 

On Oct. 19, Tucker Carlson opened his show by accusing Cross of fomenting a white genocide, which is one of the foundational beliefs of the “Great Replacement Theory.” Carlson told the largest audience in primetime cable news that Tiffany Cross, MSNBC and her league of angry negroes (of which I am one) are trying to reboot Rwanda’s 1994 ethnic cleansing, which resulted in the mass murder of nearly a million people in 100 days.

But, according to Tucker Carlson, Cross’ mass murder would target white people. 

Who is Tucker Carlson?

Tucker Carlson is a proper noun. 

It is entirely possible that Carlson is the first-generation android from a secret research project funded by Steve Bannon’s border wall scam. He could be an artificially intelligent deep-fake hologram programmed with the data collected from Parler on Jan. 6. Maybe he is Candace Owens’ Pornhub avatar. The research department at theGrio could not independently verify Carlson’s actual humanity. All we can say for sure is that Tucker Carlson is a person, place or thing.

On weeknights, the Carlson Bigotbot 1.0 portrays a human being who has said that white people weren’t designed to live around immigrants and that diversity is bad for America. According to the New York Times, more than 400 episodes and 50 hours of Carlson’s show on Fox News have been dedicated to amplifying the Great Replacement Theory — the idea that “Democratic politicians and others want to force demographic change through immigration.” 

If Tucker Carlson is actually a person, he is definitely “one of a group of militant white people who espouse white supremacy.” Maybe destination TV like “Tucker Carlson Tonight” is just a place to  promote the “social, economic, and political systems that collectively enable white people to maintain power over people of other races.” 

Ultimately, Carlson is just a thing that fits the exact definition of a white nationalist and a white supremacist.  

Who is Tiffany Cross?

Tiffany Cross is a Black woman.

As a frequent guest on “The Cross Connection,” I can verify that she is either a human being or a very good replica of a person who knows things. Tiffany Cross and Tucker Carlson may share the same initials with J.J. Evans’ girlfriend and “Magnum P.I.’s” trusted helicopter pilot, but, unlike Tucker Carlson, Cross was not raised by an heiress, has never been kicked out of an elite Swiss boarding school and did not attend a historically white college. Both briefly worked for CNN, but Carlson has never studied journalism or politics, he has no policy experience, nor has he ever worked as a reporter. 

Cross’ MSNBC show is the direct opposite of Carlson’s. The reverse racism research department at theGrio could not find a single hour of “The Cross Connection” dedicated to amplifying white nationalism or scaring white people into believing in a negro uprising. To be fair, we have also never found any evidence of reverse racism. 

Basically, Tiffany Cross is bizarro Tucker Carlson.

What’s beef?

Historians say the term originated in 18th-century London when people yelled “hot beef” after they were robbed. The term was popularized by African-American poet Christopher George Latore Wallace, who defined beef as: “when you need two gats to go to sleep.” Dante Terrell Smith, known for achieving the highest level of “definitely,” notes that “Some beef is big and some beef is small, but what y’all call beef is not beef at all.” He further described beef as “real life happening every day,” concluding that “it’s realer than them songs that you gave to Kay Slay.”

We have no information on which security measures Cross uses to help her nap. However, theGrio can confirm that Tucker Carlson has a habit of making disparaging remarks about Black women who are better educated, more respected and more accomplished than he is. As chief white fragility correspondent of Fox News, Carlson has beefed with Cross’ MSNBC colleague Joy Reid, Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, Vice President Kamala Harris, Rep. Maxine Waters, journalist Jemele Hill,  first lady Michelle Obama and even candy-coated women with chocolate interiors.

Beef is the animosity that demonizes Black history, Black protests and Black people as “anti-white.” Beef is why white women can’t restrain themselves from voting for racist misogynists. Beef makes them respond to the simple affirmation of Black people’s worth with “all lives matter.” Beef is the tool that has been used to weaponize white fear since the Founding Fathers guaranteed the right to bear arms just in case the human chattel started acting like the founding fathers. 

Beef is what Tucker Carlson feels when he sees Black women existing.

Why does Tucker Carlson have beef with Tiffany Cross?

Were you even listening?

Tiffany Cross is a Black woman, and Tucker Carlson is a white nationalist. Tiffany Cross is a human being, and Tucker Carlson is a sentient bullhorn for white supremacy. Tiffany Cross talks a lot about a “multiracial democracy” while Tucker Carlson has created nearly so much televised content about turning America into a homogenous white country, if you spent eight hours a day, five days a week only watching the episodes about white replacement theory, you wouldn’t finish until next year. 

To be fair, Tiffany Cross is not blameless in this battle of Carlson’s uncivil war. She has done a lot to warrant Tucker Carlson’s ire.

Aside from Cross not being white, she regularly uses the words “white people.”

What’s wrong with saying “white people”?

It’s a racial slur.

If you notice, Carlson rarely mentions actual races during his racist rants. As the Pied Piper of white identity politics, he defers to the dog whistles that can only be translated by viewers who own a Fox News racism decoder ring. Instead of talking about Black people, he talks about lawlessness, affirmative action and “diversity.” He doesn’t talk about Hispanics, he talks about “open borders,” MS-13 and Mexican caravans. Again, this is not just theGrio’s perception, even the NY Times has reported that Carlson’s colleagues say the network “has leaned harder into stories of illegal immigrants or nonwhite Americans caught in acts of crime or violence.” 

Yet, when Carlson wanted to show Cross’ anti-whiteness, he just played a supercut of Black people saying the words “white people” to Tiffany Cross. 

White European-American People of Non-melanated Skin (WEAPONS) have what we call the “privilege of individuality.” Even though they want a racially homogenous nation, they aren’t accustomed to being lumped into a group with people who share the same political, religious and seasoning views. Most intelligent people know that no one means “all” unless they say “all.” Even white liberals are fine with talking about Black voters, Asian hate and “people of color.” But if you so much as whisper the “w-word,” WEAPONS can’t stop themselves from responding with: “Not all white people.” 

Apparently, white is not a color.

But Cross has repeatedly pushed a controversial approach to addressing this country’s racial issues. She wants to actually talk about them. I know most people use this strategy to address every other problem in the known universe, but when it comes to race, many white people believe that talking about something that actually exists is “divisive.” Cross, however, seems to believe that ignoring a problem will make it worse. And, in discussing the problem of white supremacy, Tiffany Cross will often use the words “white people” to describe “white people,” especially the ones who created, perpetuate and preserve white supremacy.

And, as a person, place or thing, Tucker Carlson hates this.

How Will Tiffany Cross respond to this beef?

I don’t know if we’ve mentioned this yet, but Tiffany Cross is a Black woman who knows things.

She probably knows a thing or two about Black history, so she might be aware of Frances Willard’s beef with Ida B. Wells. Maybe she heard how Joseph McCarthy branded Mary McLeod Bethune as a dangerous communist. She might even remember what someone on Carlson’s network said about Michelle Obama’s “terrorist fist jab.” 

As a journalist who has studied and worked in politics, she might remember in real-time most white people did not approve of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X or the March on Washington. White Americans had the same opinion of the Black Panthers as they did about the entire civil rights movement. And the Black Lives Matter movement. Plus, Cross probably remembers how CNN treated Roland Martin and how ESPN treated Jemele Hill and how Cross’ own network treated Melissa Harris-Perry.  

Tucker Carlson is essentially acting like a true American. Cross likely knows that there is little she can say or do to change a white supremacist, white nationalist who hates Black women because America has never done anything about white supremacy, white nationalism or hate. 

So…nothing. 

How will Tucker Carlson respond to this beef?

Tucker Carlson is a white man who is paid to espouse white supremacist rhetoric on a network that makes money by espousing white supremacist rhetoric for a political party that espouses white supremacist rhetoric in a country that espouses white supremacist rhetoric.

Let’s leave Tiffany Cross out of this for a minute. Think about this:

An actual television network with the word “news” in its name allowed the host of its most popular show to tell its audience that the worst genocide in recent history was caused by a radio station. How dumb would you have to be to believe that centuries of European colonialism, rising ethnic tensions, poverty or a presidential assassination had nothing to do with what happened in Rwanda? Even worse, the same people who believe Black people are dumb, lazy and want government handouts somehow bought into the notion that these ignorant, shiftless negroes created a top-secret plan right under their noses to overthrow whiteness. 

He is speaking to dumb people. And, by attacking Cross, Tucker Carlson will reach more dumb people which means Fox News will make more money because if there’s one thing we know about dumb white people, it’s that fearmongering works. 

Why are Cross, Carlson and their beef so important?

Tucker Carlson is not important. Even though he has one of the largest audiences in cable news, if Tucker Carlson ceased to exist, white nationalism would continue to thrive. He is doing what white people do. And in this specific case, I mean all white people — every single white person who ever lived and breathed.

Tucker Carlson gets to choose.

Ultimately, Carlson will either choose to be more racist, or he will choose to act like a human being. He can choose between stoking white nationalism or living in a country that will become more diverse and less white. He gets to choose between his privilege and the freedom of others. He can choose one nation, with liberty and justice for all, or whiteness. Every white person whose foot touches this settler state’s soil — from John Brown to Donald Trump — must choose what kind of American they will be.  

Tiffany Cross does not get to choose. 

Even if Cross was the evil and nefarious wicked anti-white witch of the airwaves who resides in Tucker Carlson’s fearmongering imagination, white people still have nothing to worry about. Tiffany Cross and all the Black people who ever inhaled American oxygen will never foment or witness a white genocide. In 400 years, there has never even been a national, city or statewide racial massacre of white people that even comes close to the trans-Atlantic slave trade or Reconstruction or the Indian Removal Act or Bull Run or Opelousas or Thibodeaux or Jim Crow or Red Summer or Black Wall Street or Wilmington or the War on Drugs or whatever your local police department will do tomorrow.

But for Cross and Black people everywhere, there is no option. They can either say “white people” or die. They can push for a multiracial democracy or die. They can change policing or die. They can either call out white supremacy, white nationalism and white people’s complicit silence in a quadruple century of policies, beliefs and actions that unceasingly result in the disproportionate erasure of Black life or continue to die from the result of the fear conjured up by Carlson and his ilk. 

In reality, this has nothing to do with politics or white replacement or whatever lie Carlson will concoct to attack his next nemesis. This is about the most prominent and powerful white nationalist in American media lighting the fuse of white fear that still stains this country’s blood-soaked history and aiming it at a Black woman. But Tucker Carlson is not a man, so he will never have to face the consequences of his actions. Like racism, hate and the unkillable poltergeist called white fear, Tucker Carlson is one of America’s deadliest WEAPONS…

And Tiffany Cross is alive.

Now, that’s beef.


Michael Harriot is a writer, cultural critic and championship-level Spades player. His book, Black AF History: The Unwhitewashed Story of America, will be released in 2022.

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