Thursday, August 01, 2013

Don Lemon was right. Yeah, you already knew.

Don Lemon said some real stuff on CNN the other day and folks got pissed.  They were suddenly butthurt for a number of reasons, but I wouldn't know what most of them are, because I try to keep ignorant bullshit out of my timeline.  I just know what I didn't like about it, but we'll get to that later.  First things first, though:  Don Lemon was right.  And if you disagree, you're probably part of the problem.  Because who can argue with shit like pulling your pants up or finishing high school? 

He didn't even say "go to college."  Just get a diploma.  Be more respectful.  Don't throw trash on the ground.  Simple, basic things.  He's not telling you to cure sickle cell, and be grateful he didn't, because if you're fighting him this hard on proper pants height, imagine how rough the discussion on nucleopeptides is going to be.

He basically said on TV what many of us have said to each other:  "You look like an asshole wearing your pants like that."  "Hey, stupid.  Read a book."  "I ain't nobody's 'nigga.'"  What, because he's on CNN, he's not supposed to say it?  Well, would it make you feel better if I said it?  I don't have a show on CNN, but if you reread this paragraph, you can still get the message. 

Seriously, y'all.  You wanna go to war over "pull your pants up," "finish high school," and "stop littering?"  Get the fuck outta here.  If you're worried about Don Lemon looking down on you for that, if it helps you feel better, I'm broke and I still look down on you for at least two of those.  You're fighting the wrong battle here.  Instead of being mad at Don Lemon, how about you get mad at some math problems?  How about you go to war against that dropout rate? 

I guess some people are feeling like he was judging them, but if you couldn't finish high school and don't have a good excuse, you probably should be judged.  Still, he wasn't judging you, he was telling you that you can do better.  I'm not saying that we don't all make mistakes (I swear, a bunch of y'all don't need to be parents.  Can't you just give your kids to someone else?  Because under your care, you're just creating the next generation of criminals.), but it doesn't mean you can't make a better life for yourself.

If you have kids, would you want them walking around like that?  If the answer is "yes," you probably weren't going to read this anyway, and probably would have given up after I said, "nucleopeptides."  But for the rest of you, I'm sure that you have higher goals for your kids than an appearance on WorldStar. 

It's not even about trying to look good for white people, because there are plenty of black folks who have been screaming this shit for years.  Lots of us are just embarrassed by what we see now.  I know I am.  Hell, I was embarrassed 15 years ago, when Bill Cosby said it.  And the same folks that complained about him are probably the same ones complaining now.  Lemme guess, you don't want anyone messing with your food stamps, either.  But this has got nothing to do with white people.  Maybe I'm crazy, but I'm tired of seeing young black men on the news for home invasion. 

But maybe that's what people don't like, that he said it in front of the white people.  Well, we've proven that saying it in private doesn't help, because look at where we are now.  I'm sure Bill Cosby and Don Lemon weren't the first people to try to give you some advice.  If you weren't listening either of those two times, then what else are people supposed to do?  No one's asking you to save the world, but can you stop going to jail?  Is that too high a bar for you to reach?  Are repeat visits really necessary, or did you not take in the entire experience the first time? 

The only problem I have with Don Lemon is that he said, "Bill O'Reilly is right."  It almost de-legitimized everything that followed, because Bill O'Reilly is never right.  It's like siding with the cast of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."  You're agreeing with terrible people who are only looking out for their own self interests 100% of the time.  Bill O'Reilly doesn't give a shit about anything that black people do unless they're on his set, and only after security has patted them down.  This is the same asshole who told Marc Lamont Hill that he looked like a drug dealer.  This is the same asshole who said that he was "shocked" that the black staff at Sylvia's, a restaurant in Harlem, could speak without cursing. 

I'm probably not the best example of that right now, but who gives a fuck with Bill O'Reilly thinks about black people?  He didn't have shit to say about black-on-black crime until (like every other right-winger in America) it became a talking point, because they were sick of people talking about Trayvon Martin.  Fuck Bill O'Reilly and anyone who looks like him. 

That's the only mistake Don Lemon made.  He did Bill O'Reilly a favor, one that will never be returned.  I get that he was trying to make a point, and he wanted to show that he was actually fair and balanced, but there are plenty of other non-hate filled people to use as an example.  It doesn't even matter if Bill O'Reilly was right (and I will never say that he was).  Don Lemon sided with one of the worst human beings in America.  Otherwise, I would have taken up for Don Lemon from the start. 

The best I can do for him now is say that calling him an "Uncle Tom" is extreme.  He's not an "Uncle Tom," because it's not like he's Crystal Wright (she's like "Aunt Ruckus," if you're unfamiliar).  Again, he wasn't wrong, and it didn't hurt me.  If anything, I deal more with the fallout of that stuff, because when someone sees me, they expect me to be like the stereotype they've heard about, and I'm in my mid-30s.  Like it or not, we're viewed as a group, and that's hurting us way more than he is.  He has a job, a platform, and isn't an embarrassment.  What do you bring to the table? 

So Don Lemon shouldn't lose his "black card," or "hood pass," or whatever the fuck we're calling it now because you're sensitive about your life choices.  Are his suggestions going to fix all of Black America's problems?  Of course not; no one's stupid enough to think that.  But if we can't even respect each other enough to stop calling ourselves "nigga," how are we going to fix the bigger stuff? 
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