CNN let Roland go and kept this? –> see video On this whole Don Lemon thing, it is a shame to waste time on 24 hour cable’s many flim flam artists — but in this case it’s a must. You see, Don actually believes he’s right. Anyone left who is confused on the question of whether a person can be mis-educated yet have a national platform has found their answer. With that, I want to bring something up that’s been on my mind for some time now. Which is: If journalists can’t confront complex issues in a smart way they should shut up.
Yeah, yeah, I get it: If you can get paid to run your mouth why not right? Ratings, attention, fame: Good for you Don Lemon — look at you go. Just “pull your pants up,” everyone. I guess any flunky on TV could come up with “Don’s 5 points”, and wouldn’t you know it, one did. Sadly, TV’s Billy O and Double Down Don have no solutions. Long after these guys are gone harder questions will remain.
The deeper questions: How did we get to the place where the N-word is used casually in music and 1 in 28 kids in the U.S. has a parent behind bars? How do we break the cycle? This is where TV flunkies Don and Billy O fail. We are the country that leads the world in putting humans in cages. Why is any so-called journalist acting shocked that American youth have adopted prison culture with 1.5 million kids with a parent in jail? It appears a network anchor knows nothing about the effects of the war on drugs. Scary.
It took Michelle Alexander 332 pages to detail those effects, particularly on Black communities, in The New Jim Crow. Perhaps Don and Billy should read more. Or how about a viewing of The House I Live In? It’s never surprising when a Fox anchor doesn’t care to learn these issues. But one of the only Black anchors on a major network?
So if Don wants to “really fix” problems I say we start with “fixing” Don. Here are 5 things to consider Don — I write directly to you and no one else. Because it’s time for “tough love.”
News reporting around the story of a 17-year-old who was followed and then ended up being shot to death is not the time for “lessons to Black people.” Only if you are a brainless dupe who is too stupid to see you’re a dupe could you fall for the wingnutty spin that switches topics from Trayvon to “black on black” crime. Don, what’s with opening your seven minute “discussion” as if it’s somehow related to the death of Trayvon Martin — then saying you know it isn’t — then launching into how correct Billy O’Reilly is then rolling a clip of him doing just that? Everyone knows the first rule in the Fox debate playbook is “change the subject.” The only reason Billy O is talking about problems in the black community is as a device to change the subject from Trayvon. Billy will only return to the subject when he needs a handy way of saying Blacks are f’d up. And what did you do: Dance like a reverse Jolson to his narrative.
The N-word and pants sagging are the end result of pathology not the start of it. No one exits the womb doing these things. Sitting in pious judgement without considering a myriad of factors is a precarious adventure. But sure, it’s great for ratings and getting booked on The View. And do I have this right: You’re a gay black male and you don’t appear to understand what it is to be judged by others who don’t know you simply because you belong to a particular group? I hope I don’t have this right.
And so you and Billy O want to talk about black males and the American criminal justice system? Well hot damn, let’s talk. The NYPD has stopped over 4 million innocent people in over 10 years and the majority of those stopped were innocent black and latino males. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly apparently wants to “save” black and latino males from being subjected to 4th and 5th amendment protections even though crime is at a record low in NYC. But there are no drugs and guns in Bensonhurst or Staten Island? Perhaps you should consider who the disproportionate target of law enforcement is in the city you live in — even when that target is innocent and there is no probable cause. Over 473,000 innocent people were stopped last year — 55% Black. Find an interview.
Personal behavior is very important. And that behavior is often driven by the (read: limited) choices we have in front of us. Let’s ask ourselves: Is arresting kids better than suspending them? Are we making it easier or harder for people to get a criminal record? And when they do: Do we make it easier or harder for them to re-enter society? When stats show that black males are sentenced 20% longer what effect is that likely to have? Does our society make it easy for people to attend college? Does a poor kid have the same educational opportunities as a rich one in America? When a poor kid sees few opportunities what decisions is he or she likely to make? Last I checked there were 50 million Americans — 1 in 7 — in poverty. That’s a lot of people facing the above questions.
Your “respect where you live” advice was my favorite. “I’ve lived in several predominately white neighborhoods in my life, I’ve rarely witnessed people littering,” you say. Stopping litter will save us?
Well how about you stop littering: On the group you are in. Ask yourself: Would anyone in any other religious or ethnic group in America do what you did on live TV to the group they are a member of? Think: Would Thomas Roberts or Capehart rag on gays on the air as you did on Blacks? Would you? Would any Latino anchor take to the air and “call out” Hispanics? Would Fareed Zakaria do a screed like yours on Muslims? Would anyone of the Jewish or Catholic faith be critical of others in their group in this way? And the Catholics had a sex scandal. Every group has their issues. Sit back, close your eyes and ask yourself why no other group in America but African Americans do public self flogging as celebration.
Remember the last line from Adolph Ceasar’s character in A Soldier’s Story: “They still hate you…” Well President Barack Obama finished high school. He got a B.A. from Columbia U. He then graduated Harvard Law School. He became the 44th President of the United States. And people demanded to see his birth certificate. You think you can escape from blackness by winking to Bill O’Reilly who demands the President’s “hidden college records.” You’re reminding me a bit of Sgt. Waters in A Soldier’s Story with this episode. The line, “you know the damage one ignorant Negro can do…” has many interpretations.
Finally you may want to take note that the same people who now suddenly want to talk out-of-wedlock babies are the same people who advocate against sex ed in schools and contraception. The same people who want to abolish the Department of Education and cut funding for public schools are the same people who request $30 million to throw more people in jail even after that policy has proven it does not work. Chicago’s mayor “finds” $300 million for a sports stadium but closes 46 schools to “save money.” Chicago’s Senator finds $170 million for a prison but no money for summer jobs? Black youth unemployment is 46%. How about 7 minutes on that?
If I’m wrong I apologize but I’m going to go ahead and bet you didn’t study sociology, criminology or psycology. I’ll bet you’ve spent an entire life in journalism — a life of watching and not doing. I can speak first hand on what a vacuous vocation that can be. It can be a brilliant profession. It can also reveal deep ignorance.