Don Lemon (1966- ) is an openly gay, Black American television news presenter and reporter. He lives on Frederick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem and wants to take the term “Uncle Tom” back. In 2013, after showing “tough love” to black people after the Zimmerman verdict and then coming out in favour of stop-and-frisk policing, CNN gave him his own show weeknights at 11.00pm ET, to start in December.
Lemon’s parents never married. At age six he was sexually abused. At age 45 he came out as gay, just ahead of his book, “Transparent” (2011).
From 2003 to 2006 Lemon was on NBC Channel 5 in Chicago, Robinson’s old stepping stone.
Since 2006 he has been on CNN.
In 2013, after the Zimmerman verdict let a Hispanic man get away with killing a black teenage boy, Bill O’Reilly on Fox News scolded blacks (not Hispanics) for bad parenting. Lemon agreed and said O’Reilly did not go far enough: if black people “really want to fix the problem”, there are five things that they should think about doing:
- Just because you can have a baby, it doesn’t mean you should. Especially without planning for one or getting married first.
- Finish school.
- Respect where you live. Start small by not dropping trash, littering in your own communities. (He says whites rarely litter.)
- Do not use the N-word.
- Pull up your pants.
Lemon called it “tough love”.
It is not an act of love: He lives in Harlem. He has to know that city services, like schooling and street cleaning, are terrible there and in other black parts of the city – and that they suddenly get better when white people start moving in. So to turn that stuff on black people is not helpful.
Nor is it an act of love to say it right after the Zimmerman verdict. It is what it is: a cheap Fox News deflection.
Nor is it an act of love to say it in front of a mostly white audience, strengthening their racist views rather than challenging them.
As far as I know, Lemon has not yet told white people what five things they should do. Tough love is only for black people, apparently, as if they are wayward children.
Then just a few weeks ago he had another Uncle Ruckus moment when he came out in support of stop and frisk. He has been racially profiled himself and knows what the police are like. Yet he frames it as a choice between being politically correct or being safe and alive. Constitutional rights, apparently, are only for white people.
What this reminds me of is Michelle Malkin and Barack Obama. Both paid their white club dues by throwing their own race under the bus.
Thanks to Linda for suggesting this post.
- respectability politics
- Rented Negroes
- Zimmerman verdict
- Others on CNN:
- The white club
- The Black illegitimacy argument
- The N-word
- racial profiling
- white paternalism