Home Other Stuff We Like Don Lemon CNN Comments on Fixing Black Community: SBM Discusses

Don Lemon CNN Comments on Fixing Black Community: SBM Discusses

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don lemon cnn comments

Despite decades of study on the African American community by scholars, academia, and researches with no single, one-size fits all solution to addressing its problems, Don Lemon announced to the world–or at least the small portion of the world that watches CNN and the even smaller portion of that small portion of the world that actually watches his show–earlier this week that he had the solution to fixing the Black Community. Even better, we can do so in five easy steps! Don Lemon’s “five point” plan includes:

  1. Pulling Up Your Pants
  2. Stop Using the N-Word
  3. Stop Littering
  4. Finish School (we assume college, but he’s not specific)
  5. Stop Having Children Out of Wedlock

According to Don Lemon, all Black people have to do is implement these five easy-to-follow steps and the problems of the Black Community will be fixed! With such a simple plan, we thought it was only right that a few SBM writers give their opinions on Don Lemon’s solutions since, as members of the Black Community ourselves, his comments were indirectly directed at all of us.

WisdomIsMiseryI do not agree with all of Dons “solutions,” but at least he unabashedly put the topic at the forefront for discussion. I do agree that the Black community should not be completely absolved of responsibility. Nevertheless, I cannot sit her and pretend as if many of the issues plaguing the Black community did not build over time rather than happen overnight. To some degree, Don Lemon’s comments are the equivalent of pointing out a burning forest without recognizing the 600-year drought preceding it might have contributed to the current state of affairs. Regardless of the contributing factors, the fire is happening right now, so discussing how we got here might not be as relevant as addressing the current issue at hand. At least two of his points—increased education and fewer children out of wedlock—are a step in the right direction, but it is only a step.

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Towards the end of his segment, Don mentions that the right and conservative wings are not exempt either. I recognize that no one likes to be blamed for problems they feel they do not control, even if they contributed to the problems in the first place and in many cases benefit from the status quo. Yet in this instance, what dominates the media cycle goes something like this: when the white community has a problem, it is America’s problem to solve. When the Black community has a problem, it is the Black community’s problem to solve. That is not equitable nor does it make sense. Most members of the Black community recognize that we have issues we need to address, but it is frustrating to have people blatantly ignore the impact their actions have on our community as well.

Although I respect Don’s right to have his own opinion, I can only seriously entertain two out of the five “solutions” he proposed. I seriously doubt that George Zimmerman would not have shot Trayvon Martin had he had on form fitting jeans, recycled faithfully, and didn’t use the N-word. I also find it hard to believe that his schooling or lack of children would have had any tangible impact on Zimmerman’s determination that he fit the description of a suspicious character that deserved to be followed and ultimately shot and killed. This is an issue, and it is one that is greater than the Black community can control—the institutionalized belief by some in America that members of the Black community are inherent threats and must be viewed, managed, and treated accordingly as a result. Don seems to be of the opinion that Black people need only better assimilate into mainstream America’s norms and their station in life will improve to the point of acceptance and they we will rise above reproach or discrimination. Although I wish and hope this were true, I am not sure I whole-heartedly agree with this sentiment based on my personal experiences and observations. I am not against the Black community improving, I just hope that if the Black community is willing to address its shortcoming in order to improve, America is willing to address hers and improve along with us.

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TheSUNK: Don Lemon pours Uncle Tom’s Cabin brand syrup on his fluffily white supremacist pancakes in the morning, a recipe he stole from Paula Deen about a month ago. Don Lemon is the type of guy that you hate to hear speak at the barbershop. He’s one of those people that graduated from college and still manages to start black history at slavery.

But seriously, Don Lemon’s five point plan and assertions give no serious thought of how we as a people have gotten here. His failure to foreshadow the Black Diaspora even to a small extent is a crime that is unforgivable, especially on such a huge platform. Telling black men to stop sagging their pants to fight discrimination is the same as telling women to stop dressing provocatively to lower incidents of rape. His viewpoint is one of many that shift accountability from 400 years of oppression onto the backs of those whom were oppressed. His lack of insight doesn’t even allot me the ability to “See, where he’s coming from.”

He’s just one lost bitter brother. Made O’Reilly Proud…

Slim Jackson: My only reaction to this is on the reaction of social media (Black Twitter). Rather than dogging Don Lemon for his comments, cracking jokes, and rallying others to be angry, I wish people would spend more time discussing the root problems and brainstorming on real solutions. I’ve found that we’re very good at the former (dragging people), and not as good at the latter (uplifting them) — at least when it comes to social media, which I find to be a microcosmic reflection of what goes down offline. I wish he found a way to make the uplift aspect one of his talking points.

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Lastly, I think (and hope) his goal was to spark discussion. If it was, it appears — for good or bad — he succeeded.

Dr. J: Eh… I mean… here’s my issue with this. Why is it a story? Also, Obama says the same things that Don Lemon said all the time and nobody slanders him for it. I think this is one of those times where it’s hard to defend the actions of Black peoples when they overreact to something like this. I think we always want the conversation to be about “them” and never about “us” … unless it’s what “them” has done to “us.” I hear the other side of the coin, i’m not being contrarian as i’m always accused of being. I understand that there are many other factors to this than he brought up. When people say that, I also know that they didn’t see it live or have no idea what his segments are like on a regular basis. He had about eight minutes to try and sum up an issue that you could spend eight hours talking about. What did you expect?

Lastly, I think that if you vehemently disagree with someone’s comments or something they do, the last thing you want to do is spread that message. If you didn’t agree with Don Lemon’s comments the most foolish act was RT’ing it to the world or posting it on Facebook. If nobody paid attention to Don Lemon, his words would have been a non-issue.

What are your thoughts on Don Lemon’s five points? Will implementing one or all of these solutions fix what ails the Black Community?

Comment(23)

  1. not having children out of wedlock and furthering our education in order to create a better black economic community would go a long way, the rest of his points are garbage.

  2. The first two points are garbage. A black man could do both of those things and still be targeted and harassed. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

    3) Stop littering. Thanks captain planet I’ll make sure to pass that message along.

    4) Finish school. Easier said than done when the schools in your area are constantly being shut down (Chicago), over crowded (NYC), underfunded or the kids are being pushed to the next grade levels unprepared because the state has a quota to meet. Let’s say they do make it out of high school how many our prepared for college or any other type of secondary training or education.

    5) Again go to a community where quality jobs and education are available and the family dynamic begins to change. Evens if the parents don’t continue a romantic relationship, they usually tend to continue to co-parent with one another.

  3. I think Don did a good job pointing out some things we can do in our communities to better ourselves for the sake of bettering ourselves, not to be looked at differently or accepted by others. I'm cool with all the points as places we can improve accept #2…I don't say the n-word…I say [email protected]@a when its applicable…yes, there is black privilege here, deal with it, lol.

    Apart from that, none of these 5 points will help people to not be racist. As a matter of fact, racism is the most visible when none of these are present. When brothas are suited up, clearly heading to their office or desk, and white women clutch their purses and head to the furthest corner of the elevator…or like in Boomerang when brothas are suited up, clearly employed, and store associates (lol…smh) are following them around the store as if they're gonna rob the place. When first-class black citizens move to white neighborhoods…no littering but def had a cookout blasting The Wobble, lol…and the neighbors move out or don't speak. This is when racism is really super-mega racism!!!!!

    1. @Cyn81

      #2…I don’t say the n-word…I say [email protected]@a when its applicable…yes, there is black privilege here, deal with it, lol.

      Please someone let me off the black train, and let me take my classes in how to be white goddammit.

      Black privilege ain’t sh*t.

      1. Every "department" or group, far beyond race, has privileges…things you can say or do to each other that outsiders can't, lol. Shoot, I have nicknames that only family members are allowed to call me!

        As much as folks like to make everything super deep, some things just are not. You know what you can and can't say. Stick to the rules and its all gravy.

  4. Don makes great points. I hated the litter when I lived in Harlem (but it's not like the rest of Manhattan is clean). If I have kids, I most definitely will raise them to dress appropriately, not throw out the n-word, finish school, and wait on kids. These are all good things.

    Where he failed was using this points and connecting them to the aftermath of Trayvon. Like WisdomIsMisery said, there's deeper issues behind the situation of people of color in this country, and trumping out these reasons are disingenuous and lacking of perspective.
    My recent post Darius Simmons, Trayvon Martin and Barriers to STEM Diversity

    1. shareefjackson: "Where he failed was using this points and connecting them to the aftermath of Trayvon."

      That's the key. It's the same thing with Bill O'Reilly's comments which were the catalyst for Lemon to make his. And they both are dodging the issue of racism, which was the reason the Trayvon issue got so much press.

      When blacks are upset because of the dismissal of the shooting by the Sanford PD and taking 45 days before going to trial, when blacks still get imprisoned when they "Stand Their Ground", when Martin's history is scrutinized to justify a civilian shooting him and that civilian's history gets a free pass, and then people deflect to saying, "what about Chicago?", it shows that all some people want to do is condemn, not work on race relations.

      Our community has a ton of work to do, but it doesn't justify society-at-large impeding that work.

  5. God, I hate respectability politics.

    But to answer the question at hand, No, I don't think any of these will "fix" the black community. We heard it from Don Lemon, Barack Obama, Romany Malco, Bill Cosby and others. I always hate that type of "let us have a conversation" speech. It leaves out institutional racism and it always seems like pandering to me.

    His points are moot to me since I don't think it will fix anything, but 66% of kids in Iceland are born out of wedlock and 55% for Sweden. I don't think the issue is the out of wedlock situation, rather than the stability of the people having the kids.

  6. Clearly I must have clicked on the wrong link when I googled search Don Lemon's little speech or what not. Or possibly I didn't take it as deep as it appears most people did.

    With anything in the media I always go on the assumption they only have a limited amount of time so I take the generalizations and broad opinions with a grain of salt knowing that if more time was alloted and a back and forth dialouge was engaged into more often than not both parties would be more in agreement than not.

    I'm not sure if Lemon was overly suggesting these 5 points would fix everything about black people period, but just offering up things he believes would help further quality of life and probability of "success" (which is subjective) among his African-American peers. I dont know, I hear my community leaders talk about these same things among others all the time w/o much vitriol or backlash. Sure there's always some disagreement, but not like the hammering Lemon got, lol.

    1. A part of me wants to say the amount of disagreement Lemon's comments got were largely catalyzed by him saying he agreed with Bill O'Reilly, lol. Just a theory, though, which undoubtedly Im probably wrong on, but oh well.

  7. The devil is a liar. The solutions he lists arent solutions; they don't solve anything. They would just make black people a little more like everybody else. It saddens me when one group is measured against another. Black people arent white people. Men arent women. Young isnt old.

    You don't walk up to a unicorn and say "hey, if you cut off your horn then you'll be able to run in the Kentucky Derby with the other horses."

    Ninja, I'm a UNICORN. My horn is fresh and its part of my flesh. How I look running a race with a common horse? Unicorns don't run, we fly.

    Black people don't need to stop having children out of wedlock. We need to have MORE! We don't need to pull up our pants– we need to keep remixing whatever we wear as long as we desire. Wear it up, wear it down, wear it all around– who cares? We don't need to go to schools that just condition us to work for the man. We need to build our own schools and start our own businesses so we can provide jobs and goods to ourselves.

    Here is MY list of fixes– a path to a nation where we truly rule ourselves:

    1) Form a political party with OUR interests in mind
    2) Form a standing army made of hoods, gangstas, and ex-cons. Take advantage of their anger and violent nature.
    3) Develop our own weapons technology– bulletproof Zulu shields, drones, directed-energy hiphop sound wave, etc.
    4) Get lots of black people to strategically move to one or 2 states sharing a border and with access to the ocean (Georgia maybe?), and take over all democratic representation through voting.
    5) Implement our own black-friendly legislation to educate, care for, and protect all our citizens.

    All these little weaksauce whitewash "be less like yourself and more like everybody else" solutions that Don was promoting is just piss poor and lacks true ambition. If you're gonna make a suggestion that's hard to accomplish anyway, go big or go home. We dont need to acclimate– we need to elevate.

    1. "standing army of hoods, gangstas, and ex-cons????" Crazy person. You guys have had the chance to run your own government. , It's a country called Africa. How is that working out for you? You are in America, so stop blaming everyone else for problems that you bring on yourself. Time to take some responsibility for your own actions.

  8. Not saying Lemon didn't have points, however I'm tired of the whole "i'm a successful black man and i'm fed up so let me stand on my soapbox right quick and talk about black people and be so flagrantly insensitive that it sounds like tough love" ish. He wasn't addressing the black community, he was providing a melanin sponsored cosign to all the rationalizations white America has for disrespect of black people.

    That's not conversation, that's condenscension. Let's talk about the lack of legitimate alternatives to brothers hanging out in their littered neighborhood afterschool, let's talk about the high underemployed rate of black college graduates, let's talk about the terrible welfare system and its design to keep more people on it than present an opportunity to come out of it. Don Lemon and others are so quick to get on TV and tell black America what they "need" to hear/do, but never turn around and use that same platform to tell white America say what we "need".

    My recent post Today’s Word is… MARRIAGE

    1. "I'm tired of the whole "i'm a successful black man and i'm fed up so let me stand on my soapbox right quick and talk about black people and be so flagrantly insensitive that it sounds like tough love" ish. "

      See I think this is where there is a common divide among black folks in general. To ME I didn't see it this way at all….like not even close. It was just another black man who took advantage of a platform he earned to express his personal views on the state of his peers (in general) and offered up things he would like to see different to help promote change toward a more positive way of life (however you want to define that).

    2. And to be fair if Lemon had like a 2 hour time slot I'm sure he would have been more than happy to talk about all the things you lay out in the 2nd paragraph. I don't think he ever suggested those were not issues. I believe the distinction here is the things Lemon laid out are things an individual person can directly control. i.e. I can't control I live in a litter infested neighborhood, but I can control whether I contribute to the littering. I can't control, individually, the underemployment issue, but I can control whether I can give myself an opportunity by graduation H.S. and college….can't control how bad the welfare system is, but I can control taking steps to not get caught up in it by having a lot of kids w/o proper support….etc, etc, etc…

  9. I think his points are worth considering; when are we going to take SOME responsibility for the way things are in our communities? What is wrong with pulling up your pants? Why is it okay for us to use the N word, but not others? If we don't respect ourselves, how can we expect anyone else to? You can't cherry pick what is right or when is the best 'time' to use the word – it should never be used – the historical aspect of the word is negative, period; the litter comment – that is all about respecting where you live – i.e. if you live in public housing, there's no need to piss in the stairwells, (sorry); why not finish school? WE are seriously lagging behind other ethnic groups – corporate America is the best example of that, and it's not because there aren't enough of us seeking employment; having children out of wedlock – let's respect the value and importance of raising children in an environment that can help them thrive by learning from both the mother and father – and if you can't, then consider respecting your body and use protection. Lastly, I think it's ironic that people are more upset about George Zimmerman shooting and killing Trevon Martin, as opposed to the senseless gun violence that occurs daily in our communities. Don Lemon's comments may be offensive to some, and definitely a hard pill to swallow. Some consider him an 'Uncle Tom', but his comments are worthy of considering if we want our needs as a community to be taken seriously by politicians and the world at large. It's time for some personal accountability…

    1. Cookie: "when are we going to take SOME responsibility for the way things are in our communities?

      It's time for some personal accountability…"

      While I agree with most of your assessment, this sounds like something many well-meaning (and some not so much), but oblivious white people say. Do you really feel no one in the black community takes personal accountability or responsibility? No one has spoke out on the high murder rate in Chicago (and elsewhere)? No one encourages our children to educate themselves?

  10. What Don Lemon exposed was an "us vs. them" mentality that exists within the black community. The haves vs. the have nots. The educated and uppity vs. street people. The people who are black and don't understand the street at all and the people who are black and the streets are all they know. We might have to treat the black community as a nation fragmented. We need ambassadors that will bridge the gap rather than a person who is wholly biased to either side and can't understand the other.
    My recent post NEW SLAVES

  11. I think a lot of people in the black community recognize what O'Reilly and Lemon said. I have seen people in the black communities here in Youngstown expressing frustration with the crime rates, economic issues, and other things in their neighborhoods. They need help and no one in politics is addressing the problem because they are afraid of being labeled a racist. Shame on our politicians, they are not going to the root of the problems, but rather putting a bandaid on them and then acting like they have the community's best interests at heart.

  12. Mr. Lemon, I as a black man of the 60's. I was on those street as a high school student marching. I could not agree more with you, your statements. Young black man using the "N" word but angry to have to hear it from whites…The love it in rap words, denigrating their mothers, their sisters calling them bitches. I know that those youngsters had, have no idea that prison dress is not "KOOL."

    Social commentary…Mr. Simmons, please listen to songs of Marvin Gaye…mother mother comes to mind.. Write and publish the positives in the black community, our successes, and sometimes our failures. What does not kill you makes you strong.

    Mr. Lemon, keep up the good work…Green Eyed Monsters are in every culture.

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