I am grateful to Terrie Turner for telling me about Don Lemon’s impassioned words on CNN yesterday afternoon. As he said on Tuesday evening, “There are two major crises in this country tonight, two deadly viruses killing Americans. COVID-19. Racism-20.” Today, as we all watched the growing demonstrations around the country, he again spoke to the heart of the matter.
Where is the urgency?
by Don Lemon, CNN
Nobody wants to hear from the White House or the Attorney General right now. Nobody wants to hear from the man who wanted the death penalty to come back for the Central Park Five. No one wants to hear from the man who says that the former president was not born in this country. No one wants to hear from the man who says there are very fine people on both sides. Do you understand what I’m saying?
No one wants to hear from the person that they perceive as contributing to situations like this in the society. Not directly, but allowing people like that to think they can get away from this. No one wants to hear from the birther-in-chief, from the “sons of bitches” calling person who says that athletes who are kneeling for this very reason—no one wants to hear from that.
The justice system should work for everyone. The President of the United States, the Attorney General of the United States, should have the same system in place for everyone. That should be a given. You should not have to announce that at a press conference. And no one wants to hear that. Unless you’re going to come out and say, I understand how African Americans feel in this country, I understand the mistakes that I have made with African Americans in this country, I understand that there is an election coming, but I don’t just want your vote. I want you to understand that I know where you’re coming from. We don’t want to hear that. And that is the God’s honest truth.
Why don’t you have the same urgency that you have for all these people who are out there, most of them protesting, but there are some who are out there who are actually ravaging and pillaging, at least burning down stores. I don’t know whether it’s by accident or what. Okay. Fine. That should not happen. But what about the urgency for telling people to calm down and we need peace—that same urgency when it comes to people who are being abused by the system, who are being abused by police officers, who are experiencing racism in this country, and people are denying it. Where is that urgency?
So I understand the anger of the people who are protesting, who are upset in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I am not condoning their actions. I don’t understand the actions but I do understand their anger. When you feel you have nothing else, when you don’t have a platform like a Don Lemon, or a Wolf Blitzer, or a Laura Coates, or anyone, to protest, then what do you do? You act out in the way that you act out. Those people are upset. They are sick of it, and I would imagine that people around this country are sick of it as well. Have that same urgency when you’re telling people to calm down and don’t be violent, and don’t go out and loot stores, for racism and bigotry. Take the mask off.
Here is the possibility of what good is going to come of this. Scroll through all these cities this is happening in. Look at the diversity of the crowds. Most of them are white. And they’re young people. And they are fed up. They’ve awakened. Their eyes are opened now. They know that this is BS. This should not be happening. Look at Brooklyn. These are white people, and they know the injustice that happens to people of color, especially men of color.
And if they didn’t, it has been cemented by the video of George Floyd, it has been cemented by Omar Jimenez, it’s been cemented by Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, it’s been cemented by Mr. Cooper who was in Central Park and got the police falsely called on him.
People are not stupid. They know what’s happening. And so for anyone to say, Oh well this happened, oh well that happened, it doesn’t happen to black people any more than it happens to white people—that’s all BS. Stop it. Take your blinders off.