By putting forth a plan detailing how Black America could allegedly save itself from falling victim to its own foibles and derelict culture, CNN anchor Don Lemon justifiably angered many Black social media users — particularly #BlackTwitter — and has begun the difficult work of defending his Black card.
As previously reported by NewsOne, Lemon seconded Bill O’Reilly’s putrid rant about racism, Black violence and poverty — one that stopped just short of demanding that all Black people go back to Africa, by saying this:
“In my estimation, he doesn’t go far enough.”
The reaction to the shockingly narrow-minded and superficial “suggestions” that followed was swift and harsh, and in an impromptu interview on ‘The View,’ Lemon countered by saying that his statements were just good old-fashioned upbringing:
He explained to the hosts that he was simply trying to give “suggestions” to African-Americans like pulling up their pants and stop saying the “n-word.” Joy Behar responded by asking, “Which part is controversial?”
Lemon didn’t see why what he said caused such a stir, saying, “That’s advice my mother gave me in kindergarten.” He said the pants issue, for example, was just a “symbol of respect,” adding he wasn’t giving advice on how to “end racism” but rather on “self-empowerment” for African-Americans.
Sherri Shepherd hit the nail on the head when she said it was Lemon’s comments involving Bill O’Reilly people really “took umbrage” with. “I don’t want to give Bill O’Reilly license to say anything,” Shepherd said, “because he’s never been a young black man.”
See a clip from ‘The View’ below, complete with White audience members cheering Lemon’s “suggestions” for Black self-empowerment:
The bottom line is that assimilation is not, nor has it ever been self-empowerment. Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was racially profiled and arrested after being accused of breaking into his own home. And Black leaders throughout history have been shot in clean neighborhoods, wearing suits.
What Lemon failed to mention is that in this nation you can do all the “right” things and and still get profiled and/or killed. Black skin, particularly Black manhood is more threatening to white supremacy than attire. And while I respect Lemon’s point of view, self-empowerment, racism and performances of Blackness in this culture can not be discussed in a vacuum.
Either have the entire conversation, or don’t have it all.
That is the only way not to be viewed as co-signer to arguably one of the most racist, vile rants in cable news history.