According to Don Lemon, black people have to be perfect in order to improve race relations in this country. In a recent “No Talking Points” segment, Lemon offered his support to the following criticism of the African-American community by FOX News bigot, Bill O’Reilly: “The reason there is so much violence and chaos in the black precincts is the disintegration of the African- American family. […] Raised without much structure, young black men often reject education and gravitate towards the street culture, drugs, hustling, gangs. Nobody forces them to do that, again, it is a personal decision.”

Never mind the country’s history of institutional racism and systematic oppression. Don Lemon took Bill O’Reilly’s ignorant assertion further by listing five ways black people need to change in order to “fix our community.” In doing so, Lemon inadvertently revealed just how little he thinks of his race. His words:

“Here’s number five. Pull up your pants. If you’re sagging, I mean — I think it’s your self-esteem that is sagging and who you are as a person it’s sagging. Young people need to be taught respect and there are rules. […]

Number four now is the n-word. I understand poetic license, but consider this: I hosted a special on the n-word, suggesting that black people stop using it and that entertainers stop deluding yourselves or themselves and others that you’re somehow taking the word back. […]

Now number three. Respect where you live. Start small by not dropping trash, littering in your own communities. I’ve lived in several predominantly white neighborhoods in my life, I rarely, if ever, witnessed people littering. I live in Harlem now, it’s an historically black neighborhood, every single day I see adults and children dropping their trash on the ground when a garbage can is just feet away. Just being honest here.  […]

Number two, finish school. You want to break the cycle of poverty? Stop telling kids they’re acting white because they go to school or they speak proper English. […]

And number one, and probably the most important, just because you can have a baby, it doesn’t mean you should. Especially without planning for one or getting married first. More than 72 percent of children in the African-American community are born out of wedlock. That means absent fathers. And the studies show that lack of a male role model is an express train right to prison and the cycle continues. So, please, black folks, as I said if this doesn’t apply to you, I’m not talking to you. Pay attention to and think about what has been presented in recent history as acceptable behavior. Pay close attention to the hip-hop and rap culture that many of you embrace. A culture that glorifies everything I just mentioned, thug and reprehensible behavior, a culture that is making a lot of people rich, just not you. And it’s not going to.”


Read the full transcript and watch video here.

If only we picked up the garbage in Harlem and started wearing suits and ties instead of sagging jeans, we could finally overcome and stop white people from killing us. Oh and we need to stop littering. Because only black people litter (our melanin predisposes us to littering).

His respectability politics play sends a dangerous message that the blame for oppression lies with the oppressed. He puts the onus on us to change to ‘earn’ basic rights and privileges that are extended to other races, no matter their flaws.

Changing our style of dress and speech won’t help the real-life issues black people face like voter suppression and racial profiling. And why do black people have to be perfect in order to be treated fairly?

The most egregious part of Don Lemon’s five step anti-hip hop plan is that he hooked it to the murder of Trayvon Martin. George Zimmerman made assumptions about Trayvon based on the color of his skin that led to his killing (I refuse to address the hoodie as it’s essentially the uniform of white college students who Zimmerman would’ve given a ride home in the rain).  Trayvon Martin wasn’t sagging, yelling the “N-word” in earshot of Zimmerman or having babies out of wedlock, Don Lemon, so why was he stalked, profiled, killed and denied justice even in death?

I wonder how Don Lemon’s fitted pants and proper speech helped him when he claimed actor Jonah Hill treated him like “The Help.” If only Jonah Hill knew that Don Lemon doesn’t litter, he would’ve treated him like his equal.

What do you think of Lemon’s five point plan?

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  • Jeff

    Black people kill white people at a 6:1 ratio. That’s just the fact.

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  • jake

    I fail to see how you find things 5 things objectionable. The simple fact is slavery ended 150 years ago and separate but equal ended 50 years ago. Institutional racism is as gone as it’s ever going to be, simple as that.

    African Americans need to get their act together and fix their own community. Do well in school, be abstinent, avoid drugs, get married. It is literally the template of success. Asians and Whites have been doing it forever with great results. The Black community has not and “the proof is in the pudding”.

    You can blame whitey for keeping you down, you can blame whitey for all the illegitimate children you had, you can blame whitey for your drug addiction, you can blame whitey for your poverty, you can blame whitey for your failed education.

    However what has it done for you? Absolutely nothing. You are still blaming whitey but your situation hasn’t changed. Get up on your on two feet and fix yourself instead of trying to blame everyone else for YOUR failures.

    • equinoxa

      I suspect that there is a range of blaming whites in black communities. The most educated people of color I know seem to know that the only ones who really keep them down are those in their communities who do enough damage for all. I think my nice white friends are blaming whitey for the woes of blacks, no, the whole world, more than anyone. They mean well, but they are hiding their heads in the sand while they self-flagellate for being white, their ancestors’ errors and whatever privileges they have. And many whites who say anything are often the types to be seen as hostile due to language choices and political associations. Making things worse, almost everyone wears a hard hat, earplugs, has thin skin, problems get more complex and progress is slow. And increasingly, pride is associated with what we are born with and not what we work toward, what we ourselves have earned. I think that absolutely every one in America needs to realize that if you want success and respect, you have to look and act like you want it. Cultural identity is important, but personal and national identity might be more so for our our own respect and the order of the whole. It just isn’t fair that some have to work harder to preserve the image of others. But maybe that is how it has to be.

  • Grand Mufti of Jerusalem

    Oh, so you don’t think that dressing appropriately, eliminating “nigger” from the vocabulary, taking pride in one’s environment and keeping it clean and maintaining it, getting an education and speaking the language like a human instead of a barking dog, and having family stability aren’t going to be helpful to blacks? Does everything have to orbit around “what whites will stop doing” to blacks? If whites are treating you like shit, and you are treating yourselves like shit, then maybe at least on one level, you won’t be treated like shit when you are improving yourselves. Seems pretty obvious to me, but then again, I haven’t been brought up in a “cultcha” of crime, ignorance, rapping aspirations, filth and entitlement. How are those elements of black culture working out for ya?