Don Lemon has been under fire lately for his suggestions for things people in the Black community can do to combat racism. His rudimentary list was an attempt to take Bill O’Reilly’s comments about Blacks, further. O’Reilly said, “The reason there is so much violence and chaos in the black precincts is the disintegration of the African American family…Raised without much structure, young black men often reject education and gravitate towards the street culture, drugs, hustling, gangs. Nobody forces them to do that. Again, it is a personal decision.”
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Lemon claimed that O’Reilly has a point, but says he didn’t go far enough with it. That’s where his five-point plan to save the world from racism came from, including, but not limited to pulling your pants up, picking up the trash in your community and finishing school. These simple pointers may be beneficial for a young Black man to navigate through his life with manners, but they will not keep him from looking like a criminal on a rainy night, in a dark gated-community. It will not keep him from being shot to death if someone is claiming to fear for their lives.
As an audience member on “The View” this week, the hosts turned the spotlight on him, asking about his controversial statements that lead to the internet’s outrage.
Don said, “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.
NewsOne reported, “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.”
While Lemon’s simple points are definite improvements to the urban culture, they by no means solve the troubling issues with racism that always seem to bubble up in our country. Georgetown University professor, Michael Eric Dyson, who is friends with Lemon, thinks, “Mr. Lemon has missed the boat. The reality is we can’t blame the victims. We can’t blame people who are victimized by a vicious attitude that profiles them.” Dyson goes further and criticizes O’Reilly’s limited view of Black culture and urged him to stop preaching from his “bastardized podium.”
The View’s host, Sherri Shepherd shared this same sentiment, “Trying to apply blanket statements to every situation is not always the best. Telling Black men to pull up your pants is just a bandaid.”
What do you think of Don’s defense? Does Kindergarten advice save a nation from racism?
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