As much as I love black people, I’ll admit that we are far from perfect. Crime, illiteracy and poverty are among the problems within our communities, but the lack of support from within and outside of our community contributes to our dilemma. Despite the problems, some of our people don’t seem to want to do better. In some cases, they want to but just can’t do better because they don’t have the resources (money, knowledge or time). Rather than pointing the finger at someone in the hood and telling him that he is the reason that black folks can’t get anywhere, it’s more productive to look at why this person isn’t doing better. And this is why I have an issue with (and no respect for) Don Lemon.
While it might be true that black America must be accountable for some of the problems we find ourselves in (or for not trying to overcome our situations), it is counterproductive for someone who is fortunate enough to have a media outlet to voice his opinions to blame and shame black America continuously. To not use his forum to voice outrage at blatant racism, oppression and suppression of blacks is equally heinous. To suggest that “stop-and-frisk” should be supported when many minorities are constantly victimized and harassed across the country by police is asinine. But to further enrage the black community, he then tried to justify “stop-and-frisk” policies by stating that it is “saving lives and stopping crime.” This is the latest of the controversial remarks that have gotten Lemon compared to extremist conservatives like Bill O’Reilly. And what’s disappointing is that Lemon doesn’t see – or refuses to see – anything wrong with his statements or analysis.
But Lemon shows no remorse and no end to his lambasting of black culture, particularly young black men. Rather than focusing on solutions to the problems that he sees (or even taking time to analyze the cause of the problems), he’d rather play the blame game, much as Bill Cosby and other black elites have been accused of doing in recent years. Rather than look at the real causes, being institutional racism and discriminatory practices, lack of educational funding or mentorship within black communities, and socioeconomic inequities, Lemon cites sagging pants as the cause of high unemployment, incarceration and lack of respect of black Americans. Even friends of Lemon, such as political analyst, Keith Boykin, have taken issue with irresponsible statements that he has made and the fallacious reasoning supporting those remarks.
But Don, my question to you is, while you’re spending your time writing these articles or airing your opinions on CNN, what are you contributing to improving the quality of life in the black community? Perhaps you should spend more time addressing and solving serious issues such as socioeconomic inequality or lack of education funding or the failures of a justice system that seeks to keep millions of our people in cages, instead of telling black people that [in your eloquent manner of speaking] they aren’t shit.
Over the past several years, I’ve worked on creating a magazine that seeks to uplift, educate and empower our people, while addressing and trying to open a serious dialog on the issues we face. Unlike Don, I’m not on a global forum blaming our people for their shortcomings without using my clout to lift them up. Rather than elevate our people, you continually beat them down verbally, adding to the years of psychological, financial, social oppression and abuse that many in our community have suffered and still suffer.
If you’re not contributing anything positive to the discussion or towards a serious solution, YOU are more of a problem than the people you berate.