Before he become the national asshole-whisperer Don Lemon was an alright guy. Take this example from his direct response to the President's statement in response to the Trayvon Martin case.
This is very personal for African-American men and you could see that it's very personal for the President who spoke from the heart. And it is.. and I'll tell you why .. I'll just read something. I have this ritual that I have with my mother that every single - when I lived in Atlanta, I'm in New York I don't drive home - when I lived in Atlanta I drive home from work and I call my mother every time I drove home, until I got into the house, because she knows the situation. She raised me, with these situations in mind. And informing me of what you should do if the police stop you.People have been pretty hard on Don, and I think with good reason, but he's not actually as clueless on these issues as he has seemed in the last week or so. He's saying here the same thing that Levar Burton recently said about training his own son not to get Murdered By Cops. Regardless of what state your pants are in, up, down or sideways - this remains an issue. Even when you're 47 years old.
"I need to know where you are at all times"
So if I didn't talk to my mom on the drive home, I would call her immediately after I got into the house. So yesterday after Anderson's interview with Trayvon's mom and dad, she texted me and said "That interview reminded me that I have always feared for you as a male person of color, even today and you are an adult"
I understand what Don is saying, I simply refused to give into that kind of fear. I had the same pressure to constantly "check in" with my own mom, but I recognized that for what it was. Panic. I stopped doing that when I was 15, and I don't do it now. I don't tell her every time I'm leaving the house, even if I'm going for a walk in the neighborhood or headed to the store for a beer or a soda. I refuse to let that level of fear and paranoia live in my consciousness.
And never mind hypotheticals, I nearly was killed by a cop back during a traffic stop in 1984, as I've recently recounted.
That was almost 30 years ago, this was Last Year as we can see LAPD beating a Skate-Boarder, after he'd already been hand-cuffed, for riding on the wrong side of road
This kid had his pants up. This kid's father is involved in his life, he made a statement about the arrest to the local news. He's a 20 year-old College Student, not a drop-out. He was walking in his front door, listening to his earphones, when the police grabbed him, threw him down, handcuffed him and then started beating him. Ultimately he was charged with - yes, you guessed it - "Resisting Arrest".
The way they went about this shows this wasn't their first rodeo. They probably do this all the time, I know I've seen it before, and only because someone had a cellphone did they get caught this time. But still the LAPD claims they did nothing wrong and have defended the arrest since Weekley had previously been out "past curfew" when he was only 18, and clearly that bad curfew record was cleary visible on his skate-board plates.
Add to this nurse who was body-slammed to the ground by LAPD, after which they high-fived each other. Stay classy guys. And then there was the woman who was kicked in the groin after being restrained and died in LAPD custody.
And that's just in the past year or so.
So we now know that Don Lemon knows what this is all about, but not what to do about it. And the real problem that many people have with what Don Lemon said last week is that it just dumped a ton of lighter fluid on dung piles like this...
In case you’re unfamiliar with Juan Williams, be advised that he’s not a conservative. He’s not a Republican. He’s a liberal Democrat who voted for Obama and supports many of the President’s policies.Juan Williams is a "Liberal Democrat"? Since when? Where is he on Single-Payer? Climate Change? Where is Juan Williams on NSA Surveillance? Torture? Unions? Fair-Pay? A Living Wage? Corporate Responsibility? Helping people pull themselves up out of the safety nets using the ladders into the middle class?
He’s also a minority. Yes, we must point that out these days. His mother is black, his father is Hispanic.
On the back of that, it was refreshing to hear him verbally eviscerate “two of the worst” race hucksters in the country: Al Sharpton and Michael Eric Dyson. “Their goal: demonize white people,” said Williams. “Making an older, conservative white guy like O’Reilly a boogeyman is easy for these hustlers. Confronting the real problems, real threats inside the minority community? No.”
Let remember why Williams was fired by NPR. Because he said "Muslims" - who dared to be Muslim in public near planes - "Scare Him".
He also defend Bill O'Reilly grandmother for being scared of Black People.
O'Reilly: My grandmother was afraid of black people and you were harder on her than I was.C'mon we all know Williams is a Fox Stooge. He's Bill O'Reilly's Racism Shield.
Williams: The discussion we had were that too often the people see all these negative images of black people on TV. And I defended your grandmother (For that).
The point here is that Fox News, is now in Open Jihad mode not just against the old stalwarts Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson - now their coming after Micheal Eric Dyson with a meat cleaver.
All because he dared to disagree with Bill O'Reilly. Here's the full segment.
Michael: Yeah, well, it's interesting to me that when we say we want to have a conversation on race you want to have a conversation on blackness. You don't want to have a conversation on race, you don't want to have a conversation on white privilege, on unconscious bias, you don't want to talk about the collective world we made as black, red, brown, yellow and white people. You wanna lecture black people. And by the way Mr. O'Reilly Did you not hear - even though a lot of us disagree - did you not hear President Obama tell Morehouse college "No Excuse Making"?.And Michael is correct, the first person that I ever heard talking about Prison culture influencing baggy clothes - was Jesse Jackson over 25 years ago.
Melissa: And Morehouse isn't even the beginning of that. It's part of what makes President Obama in a particular position to say what he said is the fact He Has Been the Respectability President From the Beginning.
Michael: Right. The point is how can Mr. O'Reilly ignore the fact that President Obama has lectured tirelessly and endlessly for African-American People. Beyond that Jesse Jackson and Alvin Poussant in the 1970's had a book called "Why Blacks Kill Blacks" so please don't pretend that African-American people have not been on this case
This is all cosmetic fluff. Don Lemon and Bill O'Reilly and Juan Williams vs Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and Michael Eric Dyson isn't really moving this conversation forward. Their becoming the issue rather than the people and the kids on the ground being the issue.
I'll get to that in a moment.
Clearly they haven't been reading my diaries this week, or for that matter over the last few years including when I originally posted about the Sylvia's M-Fing Ice Tea moment.
Even back then both O'Reilly and Williams were peddling this "Race-Hustlers and Hip-Hop" are the real cause of black people's problems nonsense.
The majority of people who listen to gangster rap are in fact, white. The most obvious example of this comes during this scene from the movie Tropic Thunder with Tom Cruise and Matthew McConaughey.
O"REILLY: Now, how do we get to this point? Black people in this country understand that they've had a very, very tough go of it, and some of them can get past that, and some of them cannot. I don't think there's a black American who hasn't had a personal insult that they've had to deal with because of the color of their skin. I don't think there's one in the country. So you've got to accept that as being the truth. People deal with that stuff in a variety of ways. Some get bitter. Some say, (unintelligible) "You call me that, I'm gonna be more successful." OK, it depends on the personality.
So it's there. It's there, and I think it's getting better. I think black Americans are starting to think more and more for themselves. They're getting away from the Sharptons and the Jacksons and the people trying to lead them into a race-based culture. They're just trying to figure it out: "Look, I can make it. If I work hard and get educated, I can make it."
WILLIAMS: Well, let me just tell you, the one thing I would say is this. And we're talking about the kids who still like this gangsta rap, this vile poison that I think is absolutely, you know, literally a corruption of culture. I think that what you've got to take into account that it's still a majority white audience -- young, white people who think they're into rebelling against their parents who buy this stuff and think it's just a kick. You know, it's just a way of expressing their anti-authoritarianism.
WILLIAMS: I think too many of the black kids take it as, "Oh, that's what it means to be authentically black. That's how you make money. That's how you become rich and famous and get on TV and get music videos." And you either get the boys or the girls. The girls think they have to, you know, be half-naked and spinning around like they're on meth in order to get any attention. It really corrupts people, and I think it adds, Bill, to some serious sociological problems, like the high out-of-wedlock birth rate because of this hypersexual imagery that then the kids adapt to some kind of reality. I mean, it's inauthentic.
Yeah, Big Playa.
Obviously, romanticizing Gang-sta-ism is not just a "Black" problem. Just ask JP Morgan. Or B of A.
So what is the "Answer"? Well, I honestly don't know if there is a 5 Magic Bullet Theory but I do have some thoughts on the matter. Part 1
Look in the end I think that young black men with droopy pants is as much of a "problem" for the Black Community as Surf Hooligans in cargo pants and flip-flops are for the White Community.We have to realize that the Real "Race Hustlers" are the people that keep pumping Fear into our collective veins even though the reasons for that fear - the actual crime level - has been dropping for 20 years. Who would do that?
Which is to say, not a "community" problem at all. I mean, not any more than girls with low-cut jeans and tramp stamps are a scourge and a "Problem".
If you want to talk about the Gangs and Gang Violence, that's another story and the solutions aren't all so simple. We're about three generations deep into the spread and rise of gangs and the underground drug economy that fuels them. From a public policy stand point we need to drastically fix our drug laws, we need to find better diversionary options for kids who may be beginning to slide away from school and into that life that doesn't send them into the revolving door of jail-street-jail-street-jail-street-jail.
On the personal side we may need to reach out and support families that are crumbling under the weight of their own dysfunction and desperation, not simply band-aid their issue by glueing a "father figure" into the mix who might be just as much a more difficult and dangerous influence by his presence as by his absence. Being dedicated to your family requires more than just wearing a ring or showing up for a ceremony, it takes commitment, patience, grace and dedication. And failing that the Foster care system needs reform, the adoption system needs reform, the child protective services systems needs reform and the mental health care system needs reform.
Now, once you've built and rebulit some of this structure into place, then you can argue to a kid on verge of self-destruction that they DO HAVE valid options, they do have valid choices, they do have a potential future beyond the bleak slow self-degradation that so many fall into within the Gang culture. Once you've done this, you can argue that their is indeed HOPE for a better tomorrow for them, even if they do have tattoos, even if they don't "talks purfuctly propper englash". Even if they do have some limited speaking ability they still have value and worth, even if they don't necessary look and sound like say - Don Lemon - they can create a viable life for themselves, their children and their family.
If they can hold onto that Hope - which some of us used to naively call the "American Dream" - and never let it go, they might have a chance. It's not about pulling their pants up, it's about pulling their mind and spirits up, which will take a much greater personal and deliberate involvement than mere cosmetics and fashion choices.
Until you have that - until you can see what's really necessary - people like Don Lemon are just talking fucking useless terrible bullshit to them, and they know it better than anyone.
Be that as it may, a lot of these types of things are already in progress. A lot has been done with gang intervention. The overall violent crime rate is now at a 40 Year Low, so it's not correct to say this can't be done, or that nothing is being done.The number of violent crimes in the United States dropped significantly last year, to what appeared to be the lowest rate in nearly 40 years, a development that was considered puzzling partly because it ran counter to the prevailing expectation that crime would increase during a recession.In the 1990 the murder rate in Chicago was 900 per year, in the last five years it's been half that. In the 90's the murder rate in New York over 2,000, but has been less than 600 for the last nine years.
In all regions, the country appears to be safer. The odds of being murdered or robbed are now less than half of what they were in the early 1990s, when violent crime peaked in the United States. Small towns, especially, are seeing far fewer murders: In cities with populations under 10,000, the number plunged by more than 25 percent last year.
It is getting better and it has been getting better, we just need to keep doing it and improving on it.
The people who really profit from it. Not Jesse Jackson, but the Security and Prison complex that makes $Billions from the tracking, surveillance and warehousing of over 2 Million Americans. We have a higher percentage of our population in prisons than China, Russia, Iran and North Korea. I'd have to check the figures, but that might even be combined. That's Big Money. G5, Big Dick hanging blow my knees Playa Money. Far more than Al Sharpton will ever make.
Also the people whose electoral futures depend on demonizing and hyping the paralyzing fear of wild, rabid, black youth in order to keep scared old white people heading to the polls year after year. Y'know - Fox News and their elected cronies.
That commenter then came back and still defended Mr. Lemon's comments which led to Part 2.
There's a big difference between what you're interpreting what Don Lemon said and what he actually said.Just like his ritual with his mom. Clearly he's being a good son, perhaps better than me, but he's also - as I said - consciously giving into the paranoia. It may feel good but it doesn't change the reality on the ground or that reality in the street one iota.
But I disagree entirely with your argument that what Lemon is arguing is bullshit. Self-respect, community respect, desire to do better and delayed satisfaction are really good values every "race" in America, every class in America, and humanity in general would be wise to adopt, IMO.He didn't actually say "self respect" or "community respect" or "delayed satisfaction" - those are fine sentiments, but not what he said. He only addressed surface-level cosmetics that give the impression and illusion of self-respect and the rest, not ACTUAL self-respect, and that's why I say - and so many have said - that what he said is bullshit, because he didn't get past the surface to anywhere near the heart of any of those three items.
Having or not having saggy pants has no real effect on your personal self-esteem. It really doesn't, I see extremely well-dressed kids doing that. Saying or not saying the N-word does not change or remove the self-loathing or racial hatred that may or may not exist in ones heart. Being married doesn't make someone a FATHER, it just means you have a ring and went through a ceremony, not that you committed to your family and raising your children to the best of your ability. The trash thing I could take either way, but it seems isn't picking up street trash a public service job? So what's up with the public services in Harlem? Also, that doesn't address the larger issue of sustainability and the climate impacts of our consumption. (Out of sight is sometimes dangerously out of mind). Staying in school is fine, however that's not always an option in the post No Child Left Behind Era which is pushing 60-70% of minority students out the door without a diploma. Don Lemon choose to blame the kids for the schools failure to inspire and reach them, while ignoring that their are now financially incentivised to toss away the difficult cases in order to maintain higher standardized testing scores.
IMO None of his suggestions are real substantive improvements. None of them came anywhere near the heart of the matters, only the surface.But it's perfectly obvious that Lemon wasn't addressing all blacks and that his advice would serve many kids (of all races) well.
No, they wouldn't and that's the problem. A change in wardrobe would not necessarily reflect a change of heart or mindset. That Don Lemon Thinks it Does is itself more problematic than the actual "issue" of kids walking around with their pants sagging. He's confusing Fashion with Character and that's a flawed proposition from the beginning.
I see College Students on their way too and from USC who dress like that.
And more importantly they should have the freedom to do so if they so choose because it is still a free country isn't it?
If the solution to "solving the Black problem" is primarily to De-Blackify and resultantly Urkle-fy them to the point that they have to be non-threatening, non-sexual, non-beings, then the fight against White-cultural Supremacy is all but lost. That's surrender. You DON'T have the freedom to be the person you wish, you DON'T have the freedom to express yourself they way you'd like to, You DON'T have the option - even in your private life away from work or business - to dress as you please. That's not freedom.
Not if you have to conform to the middle of the norm, or else suffer the consequences of your own failure to outwardly appear Safe and White-ish enough.
That's why what Don Lemon is saying, is bullshit.
Even he, Don Lemon could still, today, be pulled over by an over-zealous cop and shot down in the street for no-good-reason what so ever, or even be beaten into unconciousness for walking, running, bike-riding or skate-boarding on the "wrong side of the street". That can still happen to nearly any of us, particularly if we have the naked audacity to be male and black at the same time.
He knows that. So do we all. Why he argues that might change if you change your wardrobe is simply a mistake on his part. It won't.
But when you break down the flaws of #DonLemonLogic the answers gradually begin to make themselves more plain. His actions here doesn't change his actual likelihood of getting home safely or not. It's just cosmetics, not substantive change.
What would change that is changing public policy. Changing public perception and continuing to fight for the rights of people to be evaluated on what they can do, not what they wear. Changing hearts and minds to realize they still have, we all still have, a chance, that they and we still have and need to have HOPE for their own futures and for the future of America. Jesse Jackson has been saying this for decades....
Keep Hope Alive.
Some of us have stopped listening or forgotten what he meant. He meant what I mean. Keep Hope in the American Dream Alive because if some black people have a problem, it's the tendency for them to Lose all Hope in that dream.
And that pathway of hopelessness leads only to Self-Destruction.
But then again, some of us have known that for a very long time.
It's not like when you look around in the cold light of day, at rising cost for education, the breakdown of unions, the increasing income and wealth gap, it's not hard to think while you're fully awake - that dreams can't exist in the daylight. I know I've struggled with that issue personally, and not always won that struggle. I've had times where I've lost faith in myself and lost faith in America.
Black people aren't the only ones having a hard time keeping that dream alive. Not hardly. But they have to. We all do.
While you're pondering that Join Color of Change Campaign to Repeal Stand Your Ground Laws and get your asses Registered to Vote [Share the QR below], check out the Dreamdefenders.org and BlackYouthProject.com because at a certain point we have to start seriously thinking and acting on what happens #AfterTrayvon