CNN anchor Don Lemon decided to give Black America a lecture on Saturday, when he went on air to dole out his “Five Ways to Fix Our Community.”
But instead of being informative…or being the starting point for a much needed conversation about social issues and the black community…his delivery was dated, irresponsible and insulting.
Agreeing with Fox anchor Bill O’Reilly, who last week said that the disintegration of the African-American family was the reason for so much violence in black communities, Lemon used his platform to chastise blacks about surface issues like littering in our neighborhoods (yes, littering), instead of exploring the historical and socio-economic factors that leave our communities in disarray.
Here are his five points:
5. Pull up your pants: Lemon urged young black men to stop sagging their pants, as if some style aesthetic would change the pervasive gun violence and poverty in our neighborhoods. (Besides, I thought we were done with the saggy pants conversation. Isn’t everyone wearing skinny jeans?)
4. Stop using the N-word: Always a controversial subject, Lemon was right in attempting to tackle the n-word out of our vocabulary. But his delivery left much to be desired for the deeply complex word and its effect on the black community.
3. Respect where you live/stop littering: Lemon commented that he has lived in numerous white neighborhoods where people never littered, but chose to ignore the conversation about lack of accessibility and ownership and the poverty that blankets poor black communities. In short, we need more than a trash can to clean up what society has left us with.
2. Finish school: Lemon’s approach to high school drop-out rates (which he never specified) is a great way to uplift communities, but placing the blame solely on uneducated black communities is unfair and…despite what he was trying to do…discouraging. Lemon never mentioned the education system and accessibility to great schools and teachers, both of which usually contribute to a healthy appreciation of education.
1. Stop having babies out of wedlock: Lemon points out that 72 percent of African American babies are born without a mother and a father, which no doubt leads to the destruction of what family is left. “Just because you can have a baby, doesn’t mean you should.” However, Lemon failed to explore the historical demise of the black family, which certainly didn’t start with the black woman (who he clearly blames).
And while there were points in there that could be funneled into much needed conversations, Lemon publicly went on air, used his celebrity and scolded and shamed the black community into making their surroundings prettier (littering, my dude?) while tackling the social, psychological, economical and historical issues that we have not been equipped to combat.
If he really wanted to help black America, he can first get off his pedestal as a “black man who made it by living these five rules” and start to understand that the real monster behind the destruction of black communities aren’t these surface ideas.
It looks like the only one who needs the lecture is Lemon.
Watch GlobalGrind’s EIC, Michael Skolnik, give it to him:
VIDEO SOURCE: CNN