I recently viewed Don Lemon’s No Talking Points segment wherein he berated the black community and offered his own ignorant superficial solutions to crime and issues in the Black community. This guy is hopelessly ignorant.
Don Lemon co-signed on a rant given by Bill O’Reilly — who is the last person who should give critique on the plight of Black is (what does a middle aged White man know about discrimination and racial struggles??).
The Story

The segment made me reflect on a recent conversation that I had with a non-Black friend if mine who is very passionate about many of the issues affecting Black communities. He confessed to me that while he was out canvassing he passed three tall, shirtless Black guys who were chilling outside. When they’d passed them he said to the other members of his team (a White woman and a Black woman) that he had felt threatened by the guys and asked if that meant he as racist. The White woman was silent and the Black told him that he was racist and went on to rant about how Black people need to get jobs an go to school and — in my own words — get their shit together. He went on about how educated (she went to a prestigious majority White institution) and passionate (such is very active in protests and unions) this woman is and how much he respected her. Her opinion made him feel ashamed and guilty. He soaked up what she said and began to double back on sone of his own Stereotypical thoughts that he’d been dealing with. Her ignorance was validating his prejudice. That’s how we empower Bill O’Reillys to feel justified making the statements they make.

Don’s 5 Points

The five points Don gave to solve the crime and other issues if the Black community were:

1. Stop having children out of wedlock
2. Finish School
3. Respect where you live
4. Get rid of the word “nigger”
5. Pull up your pants

I’m sure I’m not the only one noticing the lack of addressing certain contexts and historical facts:

1. The degradation of the institution of marriage in America in general and the rising divorce rates (which for Black people would be significantly higher given that slavery destroyed the purity of the relationships between Black men and Black women.
2. The fact that in spite off the current threats to repeal Affirmative Action, it has yet to place Black students in an equal playing field with whites because the high schools in Black communities receive a significantly less quality education that would prepare them for college.
3. White flight and the following if “well-to-do” Blacks removed the economic power to give those communities a voice about their conditions and role models for professionalism.
4. The word “nigger” being used from in Black person to another has never inflicted the same psychological pain that it does in its historical context.
5. Sagging pants while unsightly to olde Black and conservatives does not a “thug” or criminal make. It just spells that to ignorant White people, older Blacks (who are out if touch with reality), and conservatives (who cling to the American Dream and individualism (pull yourself up by your own bootstraps delusions.

So Don’s ignorant assessment of the Black community and superficial analysis offer nothing to the resolution of the issues of the Black community. Which explains our lack of progress and internal anger and hatred.

The Problem

Don played a clip from Bill O’Reilly and agreed with what must be the most prevalent comment made by non-Blacks in describing why the Black community has so many issues: degradation of the traditional family. It would take a whole post to talk about the offensive implications that makes against single parent families in every community; however, what is most ignorant about this thought is that it neglects to consider the contexts in which these people and families exist.

I am very much a supporter of the traditional family. I do believe that there are inherent values and influences that this type of home creates for children growing up. But I would never relate that to the struggle or crime that is found in Black communities. The only connection between the two are socioeconomic which is not always in the hands of the parents to control.

Parents do not create criminals. The socioeconomic a of this country — which is systemically set up against Black people is the major culprit for crime creation. When a life of discrimination impairs social mobility and renders impotent the opportunity for an individual to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, survival instincts kick in and there isn’t a creature on this planet that will not kill, steal, or fight to survive. Allow such disenfranchisement to be perpetuated through several generations and, ta-da, you have a generation of young Black kids who envy, idolize, and glamorize such behaviors. They do so because for as far back as they can remember it is one of the few ways that Black people ever actually have an undeniable opportunity to change their lives.

Again I’m not saying that the issues of Black families and the choices of young Black men are not things that the Black community needs to address. I’m saying that you can’t save people by treating them like enemy. We have center our attack and the source of our so,unions on the actual problem. That problem is not Black families and the choices of Black men, it is the society in which these families exist and the limits of the choices presented to Black men.

The Point

When Black people like Don Lemon offer their “success” stories as a recipe for economic advancement, professional development, and upward social mobility, they neglect to include the fact that their stories are based on specific turning points that occurred in their lives that allowed them to get where they are. Acknowledging that would inspire compassion for those who don’t have those significant influencers (two parent household, college educated mentors, quality high schools, etc.). Acknowledging those turn points also forces the individual giving the advice to not disassociate from their own community and, therefore, objectify the struggle by viewing it through a tinted lens at a distance. It makes that individual see themselves in that person. It makes them remember that they could have easily been that person. You can never judge the decisions a person has made without reviewing the choices they were given to choose from. Don Lemon sit your Uncle Tom ass down and shut up.

I’m not sayin’; I’m just sayin’,

An Angry Black Man

  1. Sian Mann says:

    I think you are spot on in saying that the socio-economic background of a person offers insight into why people behave in the ways that they do. When all you’ve known is poverty, and struggle, you fight to get out of it, as you said, it’s in our nature.

    I grew up in a predominantly black neighbourhood, one that was riddled with crime, but there were all cultures participating in it. Because it was known by those outside of our area as a “black community” they assumed it was only blacks committing the crimes, which only perpetuated ignorance, fear and racism. For instance, I remember a new neighbour moved in next door, a nice white family, and my best friend (who was black) came over to hang out – my neighbours called the cops. He and I had to spend the next ten minutes explaining there was no need for alarm. I think our neighbours were just shocked that a black boy could behave “normally” and non-violent – he came from a reasonably stable socio-economic background. Don Lemon can offer his advice, but I dare say he never grew up in that environment, and environment, as you said, can’t always be controlled by the parents. And if he did, maybe he should offer some insight on how he got out of it. As you said, he did not acknowledge the factors that got him to where he was at.

    I feel this problem could be eased by focussing on education. Giving people equal access to a good education, and a stable high school environment can only have positive effects on the students (As Lemon said, it certainly has financial benefits in the long run to stay in school). But sadly, for the most part people in power and in the media spend more time talking about what needs to be done and how it needs to be done, than actually doing anything.

    And this is one big ass comment. I don’t even know if I made any sense (probably not though).

    • DesiBjorn says:

      No. Your comment made a lot of sense.

      I agree that I very much doubt Don Lemon has lived in abBlac neighborhood, besides the fact that he lives in Harlem now (because its back en vogue for the wealthy and privileged). I wanted to say that in my post but I didn’t have to confirm it through research. But I’m glad to see you picked up that vibe as well.

      Thank for reading and responding.

  2. […] View Original: Don’t Talk (Don Lemon Response) […]

  3. revmatthews says:

    Let me state, first of all, that I read/enjoy your blog; it is part of my blog roll. You made some interesting comments, of which I find agreement with approx. 75%.

    Would you agree with me that points of agreement do not an interesting debate make?

    If so, are you interested in a discussion on the 25%? (That’s not set in concrete, the actual percentage may rise or fall as we converse.)

    I’ll take your interest as a given; if I am wrong, please feel free to correct me.

    Point #1–Your statement, “…older Blacks (who are out if touch with reality)..” presented as a factual truth, is, in my opinion, a rather bigoted, not to mention inaccurate, assessment of a significant section of Black society. It is reminiscent of the teenager who looks at his parents (who happen to be the ones who feed, clothe, and generally provide for him) as “out of touch with reality.” I would suggest to you that since elderly Black people have experienced American life for a longer period of time, they have a broader frame of reference, and a greater social context in which to view reality.

    If Bill O’Reilly had made the statement, “Older Black people are out of touch with reality,” I wonder how you would react?

    Point #2– “…So Don’s ignorant assessment of the Black community and superficial analysis offer nothing to the resolution of the issues of the Black community. Which explains our lack of progress and internal anger and hatred…”

    Really??? Did I miss something?

    Let’s agree that Don’s assessment was indeed, as you say, “ignorant.” Let’s also agree that his analysis was superficial, short-sighted, self-serving, and any/all other negative adjectives we could think of to describe it. On that we agree. But can we offer his remarks as the reason why we as the Black community stand where we are statistically in American culture? Can we give that much power to one man, or, as I’m sure you meant, one mindset?

    Are we that weak as a people? Where we can be held back so easily by a mindset we do not control? Are we so weak as a people that the effects of being held in slavery and the subsequent Jim Crow laws (which in many states are still in effect de facto if not de jure) are sufficient to keep us in bondage even today?

    Let me flip the coin. Are White people that powerful? Do we dare make that confession?

    No. The mindset that Don adheres to does not explain our position in society. It does not explain our, as you so well put it, “internal anger and hatred.” We have to take possession of that as a people, for if we do not, we will forever be at the mercy of those who do. To take possession of that as a people, we MUST start taking possession of it as individuals, one person at a time, then one family at a time, then one neighborhood at a time, then one city at a time.

    Impossible, one might say. Ever heard of Chinatown? Asians coming together, taking charge of their community, in every major American city….

    Let me allow a response. Thank you for your time/space.

    • DesiBjorn says:

      I am always game for discussion, especially when opinions differ. It broadens the perspective. That said, I will respond.

      Point#1– I am understand how you might feel my statements are a bit bigoted. However, they are far from inaccurate. Historically, the greatest opposition (usually due to presumptions and ignorance) to my generation has been older Black people (specifically the Baby Boomers). When my generations was dubbed as being a generation with no purpose, when we are criticized for our fashion choices (i.e. saggin pants), when we our music (Hip Hop & rap) is nationally attacked and blamed for the ills of our community, that is a clear indication that these individuals are out of touch. Not simply because they do not relate to us but because that their old fhioned opinion are objective truths. Thatbivreminiscnt of how they’re parents criticized disco, mini-skirts, and Afros. Instead of letting it be the standard generational gap, we’ve been demonized.

      I don’t dislike older or elderly Black people. I actually spent a lot of time with my grandparents and loved nothing more than to hear them tell stories. I also spent 3 years in the field of geriatrics. So I’m not a bigot. I am being ruthlessly critical and brutally verbal in my assessments because I think it’s both warranted and necessary.

      Now let me throw some facts out for you. The Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 & 1964) have been in political and economic power since the 1980’s. The decade of tax cuts and reduced funding for social programs.

      The average net wealth of people age 29-37 has fallen 21% since 1983 while the average net worth of someone 56-64 has doubled.
      Th cost of college (which the baby boomer employers have all but made mandatory) is 12,000 than it was in the eighties. And the VGA colleg turn no graduates with at least 25,000 of debt in student loans (that you have to pay back). So when someone 49 – 64 says education and getting a job is the answer, they are clearly out of touch.

      Quite frankly, as I stated, Bill O’Reilly’s assessment of the Black community is the least informed and relevant of any I can think of. So I wouldn’t have thought much of any comment he might make about old or young Black people.

      Point #2– Don’s statements are not what was I referring to as the reason that we are where we are as you surmised, I’m sparking to his mindset and those that share that mindset. That frame of thinking is counter-productive to the progress of the community because it suggests an ignorance of the fact that education goes less farther as than it used to but costs much more. Again, an out of touch assessment.

      And yes White people are that powerful. Yes we are that easily setback by our mind sets. But one Black man with a platform has to be held to a more rigorous analysis –it only takes that one man to provide our oppressors with the platform they need to justify their prejudice. Yes we are that significantly beset by the repercussions of slavery and Jim Crow. The fact that you ask the question shows a lack of connection to realty. You can look around and see that on any day. We have the right to its but they are legally able to beset that through studying demographics and geographics and creating obstacles (covertly) that focus in those identifiers rather than race when the two are obviously intertwined or there wouldn’t be any “ghettos” or “hoods” that we subconsciously relate to poor Black people communities. Again a refusal to see reality.

      You are correct that we take possession of our anger and hatred one individual at a time and that begins by acknowledging and validating the truth of those individuals realities and not speaking only from the bubble of our experience. It comes from not being so attached to the glory of days gone by to the extent that we cannot accept the failures and shortcomings of those movements. Something that Baby Boomers often refuse to do because they were the greatest beneficiaries of such efforts and because they failed to suspect that the battle would continue in other forms. So for my generation, millenials, we love in the reality of the fact that the achievements of the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Power Mpvement did not solve all the issues of Black Americans and that those benefits are slowly being taken from us (of course the Baby Boomers don’t feel it because they have already skid through the cracks of pseudo equality).

      To that end I’m not condemning older Black people as I’m using the polarization to call them to arms. They have fought the least for having gained the most and now they criticize those in the struggle because they have no experience with it. Instead of constantly condemning what they don’t understand about their children and siding with the ignorance of those who don’t understand, they should be relating to, understanding, and supporting their progeny not denigrating them.

      Thank you for reading and responding. I look forward to your response.

      • revmatthews says:

        “…To that end I’m not condemning older Black people as I’m using the polarization to call them to arms. They have fought the least for having gained the most and now they criticize those in the struggle because they have no experience with it…”


        Spoken with the sarcastic, pseudo-philosophical aloofness of one who has spent comparatively little time in America, compared to the very people he turns up his nose to.

        It’s ironic, I suppose, that a young Black man, leaning over his laptop while drinking Starbucks coffee, would choose to attack the very generation who endured the snap and bite of police dogs during a sit-in @ a dime store, not to mention the threat/reality of night time lynchings, etc, etc, and “call them to arms…”.

        Others would call it a new form of bougie BS.

        Have you ever read “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” by Alex Haley? “He Wrestled With An Angel” by Nat Hime? “The Soul of Black Folk” by W.E.B. Dubois?

        Read, learn, and then we can continue this debate.

      • DesiBjorn says:

        lol@ sarcastic, pseudo-philosophical allofness. It’s actually called intellectual analysis. The sarcasm is a personal touch. And why do you keep referring to how much time I have spent in America in comparison to older people. It’s not about how much time, it’s WHAT time. The world has changed three times over since my mother was born…I am simply speaking on the world as I am now encountering it. That is related to what it has been but it is not the same world. That is not to say older people cannot have wisdom or understand the world today, but that it is not surprising that many find themselves confused by the reactions of my generation that they do not understand because being 54 in 2013 (with at least the hope of retirement, social security, and medicare and a history of having decent wages, employment benefits, and a thriving economy) is not the same when you are a young person in your 20’s or 30’s endeavoring to build a life like your parents had and cannot (by no fault of your own) Which was one of my original points.

        What’s ironic is not my sitting over my “laptop while drinking starbucks” as much as it’s your refusing to continue the conversation because you have deemed me too aloof and/or bourgeois to be worthy of your conversation and the wisdom of your many years in America. This is the ultimate basis of my comments towards the older generation. Because while you chastise us for our views and condescend us because of our youthful ignorance, you fail to ever take the time to educate us and share all this wisdom and knowledge you claim to possess. So by all means my friend, succeed from the conversation (but never wonder where I learned my aloofness).

        And for your information. I read the “Autobiography of Malcolm X” every summer with my father from the age of 9-15. I have read the “Souls of Black Folk” the concept of the “double consciousness” was one of the most profound thoughts in Black Studies that is still relevant today and while I can say that I can also criticize his “talented tenth” philosophy that was counter-productive and even he later in life spoke against the notions. I’ll stop there because I’m sure I’m still too uneducated and uninformed to continue this debate. Thanks so much for your critique. Maybe next time it will come a word of wisdom.

        Thanks for reading and responding.

    • mizdoss says:

      I’m jumping in to the convo because I love this discussion!

      I think the comment about old black people being out of touch reality is better said by saying they are not in tune with the struggles that younger blacks in the same community face and how they differ from that which the older black community faced when they were younger.

      Commenting on your POINT 2 I think that we are a resilient people, I know we have the ability of overcoming ignorance. I hate to say it, but the white man did a damn good job at damaging the mind of our race. There are so many of our people who look down on other black people for various reasons, which doesn’t help to build up the community. The problem is that enough black people aren’t talking about these issues and finding solutions to the problems. Some don’t see it as a problem, so get tired or weary of the fight, some don’t care enough about our community outside of their friends and family.

      Oh how I wish we could come together like the Asian community and build up and take back our original communities, supporting black professionals and businesses. I wish we could get back that “Black Power” mentality (minus the violence) making it a prominent mindset, empowering our youth with education and self awareness rather sending ALL of our focus on black entertainers.

      If we polled black people today which topic would they rather be discussing?

      • DesiBjorn says:

        Welcome to the discussion. Thank you for your rephrasing of my point. I did go back and change the language of a few points that RevMatthews spoke about because I did see how he was confused as to the point that I was making; however, that wasn’t one I was willing to re-write. It’s sensational and controversial on purpose. But your paraphrasing is the essence of what I’m saying.

        Perhaps you can help to paraphrase my other point as well because it incites me as well as confuses me that so many people in the older generation refuse to acknowledge the current existence of racial prejudice, institutionalized racism, and the reality of the glass ceiling. Especially since Obama was elected. He’s one Black man, what about everybody else that will never reach a level so high or even much higher than whatever socioeconomic status that they were born into?? When Obama was elected, the first thing my mother said was “I guess Black kids have no excuse now,” I looked at her like WTF?? I said “Mom, do you hear yourself?” We had a very interesting discussion about it and what stuck out to me was that she seemed hell bent on saying things like that and trying to “strip” young Black people of their excuses because she felt we were lazy or didn’t apply ourselves enough. And I tried to explain to her that I understood how she felt but taking every opportunity to judge and criticize without listening and understanding was combative and counter-productive.

        Black Power movement was on to something, I agree. Because it wasn’t just looking for rights and legislation, they were trying to change mindsets and that was powerful. What happens in the Asian communities?

      • revmatthews says:

        @DB:You read 2 out of 3! Congrats! We may continue, if you like.

        Forgive my earlier tone, m’boy (Louisiana term of endearment/respect from an older man to a younger one.); I was merely testing your mettle. I came @ you hard, and you responded in kind. Also, I was testing your honesty; “He Wrestled With An Angel” was written by me, under the pseudonym Nat Hime. I know you haven’t read it, since I’m aware of all purchasers.

        You get that kind of wisdom when your product is sitting in the trunk of your car….Ha!

        Just kidding, you can actually purchase it from Amazon:

        I find it somewhat ironic that WEBDB’s “talented tenth contained many of the ppl who would later become his enemies, and that he was adored by the Black laboring class that he thought unworthy of “talented tenth” status.

        “you fail to ever take the time to educate us and share all this wisdom and knowledge you claim to possess…”

        Believe me, we do try, but we find that many of you (not all; witness this discussion as proof) glaze like a stale doughnut when we start our sentences with “When I was your age…”. We also find that headphones in your ears, accompanied by incessant head-bopping, and off-key humming of a rap track, scarfed from the 70’s R&B Grooveyard does not lend itself to cogent discussion.

        But as far as “…all this wisdom and knowledge you claim to possess…”

        We posses it, my brother, we possess it.

        In spades.

        “You don’t get to be old, bein’ no fool…” Mudbone

        But…I daresay that you possess a wisdom, and some skills that we have to play catch-up to possess. I have learned that, for a Black Male in America, to have escaped incarceration before the age of 20 is a major accomplishment in itself, not to mention gaining a college degree.
        Your generation has accomplished more in the last 20 years than preceding generation of the last 500. But can you admit (or declare, yes, declare. “Admitting” implies guilt.) that you stand on our shoulders?

        We see a percentage of this generation as “lazy” because we look through the eyes of a different standard, a standard, if we wish to be intellectually honest here, was imposed upon us by the society we were subjugated to. Give us credit for shaking off many of those shackles in our pursuit of a more comfortable life.

        Remember the sitcom “The Jeffersons”? Remember the theme song, “Movin’ on Up”?

        “Movin’ on up…to the East side..to a dee-luxe apartment…in the skyyy…

        Moo-moovin’ on up…to the East side…we finally got a piece of the pie…”

        That concept and many others was ingrained in us, but soon after we moved, the clarion call was, “Move back and give back!” The paradigm had shifted, and now our street cred was determined by how much time we spent in the places we worked like hell to get out of in the first place. Guess what our response was?

        You guessed it: “Pull up yo’ pants, put out that blunt, and GO TO SCHOOL! Boy when I was yo’ age…”

        Thus we have the New Generation Gap. But, is it really new?

        Only the clothes, m’boy. Only the clothes.

        @MizDoss, Your term as Peacemake/Reconcillator is up. You now have to criticize something. Without the neck-snapping and fingerwaving so common in your gender, of course. Most distasteful, guaranteed to instantly relegate you to the Junk-heap of the Irrelevant…


      • mizdoss says:

        In response to your comments @DB – I agree that the success of our generation can be accredited to standing on the shoulders of your generation. Can you agree that the failures of our generation are also accredited to standing in the shoulders of your generation? A comedian I once had the pleasure of seeing on stage had a tag line of “Who Raised You” which is often a thought in my mind when I see the failure of my people. As for moving up like the Jefferson’s-seemingly ideal for that time period, but is it not one of the causes of the conditions in our communities?

        The WEB Dubois vs Booker T Washington debate is a major contributor to our way of life and thinking. We wanted to be counted as equal, live as one, and in intergrating with others we segregated ourselves. We created divide between the haves and have nots within our community. I’m just a strong believer in Booker T Washington’s theory to go along with Separate but Equal. Of course things weren’t great for us at that time, but I think it was because if our desperation for intergration and assimilation. We wanted to be treated by the white people like they treat each other. We aren’t the same, in our thinking, living eating Hell even dancing!!!! There was a time where we stayed in our community working, living, supporting the black community and it’s growth.

        As for your comments towards me and being a Peacemaker/Reconcillator-I’m not, I’m a woman (the rational voice between two men) (story of our lives-being the rational voice). All I can do in response to “the neck snapping, interweaving” is laugh heartily!!!

      • DesiBjorn says:

        I’m glad it was never your intention to abandon our discussion. One of the few things my generation is good for is their passion which drives us to speak our minds loudly (not always intelligently or wisely though). As one of my professors used to say “you all are angry, but you don’t know why you’re angry [or who to be angry with]” I agree with him on that point. It’s one of the reasons I do this blog to give information and direction to our anger. To attempt to view our world not just from our anger or frustration but from a critically analytical point of view that might expose the solutions.

        I can agree that my generation isn’t always the most enthused about the “when I was your age…” stories; however, most young people aren’t thrilled and it takes time, maturity, and the benefit of hindsight to appreciate the love and wisdom in those stories. My father had a million “when I was a little boy…” stories. What made the most impact on me about his stories was that I never felt that they came with a mandate to do what he had done but he emphasized why he did the things he did and what he learned from doing them. And many a day I have been thankful for having heard those stories because they helped me to shape and decide what kind of man I wanted to be. So indeed we so stand on the shoulders of your generation. I don’t think many of us would argue that. We just want the consideration that standing on your shoulders and absorbing your wisdom will only take us so far as the world has changed, the battles have changed, and the solutions will have to change.

        I only challenge the older generation because, much like you, I want to test their mettle and help them to understand how much we do need the information and knowledge they had as well as their support and understanding. Because when we tried to move up to the east side they had changed the move in requirements to keep us out and used our own parents differing opinions to justify keeping is out. So, in fact, most of the sense of entitlement we are usually criticized for is not because we think the world owes is something, it’s cause our parents told us all we had to do was stay out of jail and go to school and we did that. Now we have to reconcile the fact that our parents told us what they knew worked and we have mostly done that without the same results. That isn’t our parents fault nor is it ours. It’s a by-product of the game being covertly changed even while George and Weezy were running their cleaners and rubbing elbows with rich White folks. So why can’t we all agree that the paradigm is always shifting and, therefore, there is no one answer that will always be right.

        And on the “talented tenth” subject I’m always appalled at how many Black people (usually those who are or think themselves successful and priveleged) still spout that crap. When DuBois himself later stated that the notion would create a beourgiousie elite sect of Black people who, having obtained their slice of the pie, would be apathetic and less likely to be concerned with the issues of the less fortunate of the race. Conversely, I think many of the labor class Blacks that adored him and his concept did so because they thought there would be some easy uplift from their situation because the talented tenth would save them.

  4. mizdoss says:

    OMG I could read your posts EVERYDAY!!!! You are so right in your arguments in this post. The list of context and historical facts that go unnoticed was dead on!!! I teach in the Black community with purpose bringing a higher quality of education to the less fortunate. The way they treat public schools in the Black community is disgusting which is where I believe it ALL begins. Let’s not mention how Black community churches used to help their community survive rather than helping their church survive, and how there is a huge gap in that area. The story you told about your friend and the comments the black lady made, along with the agreement of Lemon and O’Reilly tells me that the problem is that BLACK people are unclear of the problems in the BLACK community, and have no intentions on helping to be apart of the solution by looking down on a particular lifestyle that AMERICA helped to create. They don’t even recognize the mental damage within themselves perpetuated by the effects of slavery. Black on black hatred! That is how the Whites poisoned our race and some people keep this mentality alive.

    Don Lemon should not give his SUPER 5 problem solving tips. They don’t hold any weight, or validity. I have a huge problem with people speaking on fixing the problems in the “hood” and have never lived their, don’t have family their, don’t frequent the area etc. As he stated he’s lived in several white community and now lives in Harlem-which is not the HARLEM of 1970-1990. He has no clue.

    “Parents do not create criminals. The socioeconomic a of this country — which is systemically set up against Black people is the major culprit for crime creation. When a life of discrimination impairs social mobility and renders impotent the opportunity for an individual to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, survival instincts kick in and there isn’t a creature on this planet that will not kill, steal, or fight to survive…” THIS PARAGRAPH!!!!!! I could kiss you! I love it!

    I could go on and on about this topic, but I’ll give it a rest for today.

    Thanks for this post! I love it!

    Just a lil of the TRUTH

    • revmatthews says:

      @ Mizdos: Let me, first of all, congratulate you for your choice of career, and encourage you to make that dream a reality. The only way to become a championship swimmer is to first jump in the water, metaphorically speaking. As a writer, I find that reading is the best spur for the imagination.

      I found your response to this blog to be educational and enlightening. However….

      (Yes, there is a “however.” It’s the bane of journalism, but all great differences of opinion start with a “however.”)

      May I take issue with paragraphs 2 & 3?

      “… I have a huge problem with people speaking on fixing the problems in the “hood” and have never lived their…”(sic).

      Does a person have to “live in the hood” in order to offer a legitimate opinion as to its problems/solutions? If so, being a sociology major, for example, has no validity, for it is impossible for a person to adequately study/solve the problems of a multiplicity of cultures, having never lived in any of them, save the one they grew up in. Is the truth required to be a citizen of the country of origin? If that premise is correct, then college itself is a waste of time.

      “…When a life of discrimination impairs social mobility and renders impotent the opportunity for an individual to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps,…”

      Too many Black people who have conquered/overcome disadvantaged circumstances, and become successful to make that myth nothing more than an easy way to excuse the results of bad choices. When we as a people realize that “The Man” is not in the business of confirming our individual and collective success, we are presented with a choice, and the result of our choices are synonymous with our consequences.

      “Crime, like electricity and water, flow in the path of least resistance.” http://revmatthews.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/snitchin-first-posted-in-2012/

      Poor parenting is one of those pathways.

      Thank you for reading this response, and feel free to continue!

      • mizdoss says:

        As for the comment about not living in the “hood” and being able to help the “hood”: I just think that its easy to judge a situation you aren’t in. It’s easy to point out what others should be doing when you haven’t ever experienced similar hardships. I grew up in the suburbs, not really wanting for anything, a lot more privileged than my friends, and thought the “American Dream” was achievable to all that got up to catch it, but after realizing how life has a way of interrupting plans, I realized its easier for some and not others. I agree with Lemon in that the basis of these issues starts at home with the family. I just believe it takes a special person to go against their family and beat all of the odds.

        Great Discussion

    • DesiBjorn says:

      As always I’m flattered and humbled by your support. I agree with you that education is the key. It is the single most important institution in the Black community. It is also the most hugely crippled by poor funding, stale curricula, and over worked and under paid educators. The church would be the biggest failure of the Black community as they become more for-profit business than pillars of the community. But you’re right we could go on for hours about those two institutions alone. But I love to hear your thoughts!

      Thanks for reading and responding.

  5. mizdoss says:

    As for the “Obama made it, now we all have a chance” mindset: I think that his election woke a lot of people up and motivated some to become proactive in their communities, education and self success. I just know too many people with problems outside of having an education that affect their “quality of life” so to speak. I understand what your mother is saying about there being no more excuses, after listening to people talk about the election it felt like people saw him as the knight in shining armor ready to fix Black America. The older generation does look at our generation as if we are the cause for the problems existing in our community as if there weren’t thugs around until Generation X became of age. I honestly feel like OUR generation is the reason Obama was elected. Not saying they were the right candidates for the job, but where were these political talks at the dinner table when Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson entered the political arena?

    Black people like Lemon-thinking that there are 5 easy steps to solving life’s issues disgust me. College education is not always the answer. So many people feel that it is, and as much as I love my career choice (Best Teacher in AMERICA) I can’t help but think about that summer job I had at a call center making $13 an hour initially and a promotion and pay raise after only a few weeks. What would my financial situation be if I’d worked my way up in the company 5 years ago? I know I wouldn’t have these student loans, and be in a better position financially than I am now. ESPECIALLY with the low wages of a teacher, the layoffs and downsizing of the education system. Getting a Bachelor Degree is almost as null as a high school diploma. You have to reach the highest degree level to make enough money to balance out the education level you’ve received and dig out of that financial debt.

    I just don’t see a 5 step program as being the solution for our community issues. I do however think our people need to be more involved in the community, actively involved in the political system (as much as I hate politics its the way of the world), and actively involved in self empowerment. You have to create a job nowadays, Black people have to show that our talents are what’s needed and create a position for ourselves in our society, because “they” aren’t offering anything anymore!

    I watched a documentary on the LA Riot in regards to Rodney King and couldn’t help but enjoy the senseof community amongst the black people, even though the rioting and violence was ignorant, and destroyed our own communities, I felt like “At least we’re standing TOGETHER for a damn purpose even if our actions were animalistic.” Its sad that we as a people only come together during turmoil. Would we be discussing this if Trayvon Martin never left the house that night?

    As for the Asian communities I was simply referring to the unity, recycling the money in their own neighborhoods and supporting their own businesses.

    • DesiBjorn says:

      Oh okay. I didn’t know if you’d personally witnessed something or been privy by association to an Asian family and their community. But I agree most other ethnicities in America have a stronger sense of community. That is one reason I make a distinction between Black Americans as opposed to Carribean Americans and African Americans etc.

      You make an excellent point about how the Black community views education as some escape from the issues that plague them. My mother completed college while I was attending and she had the experience of being a college educated Black person in the current decade and she had of 20 years of working experience and it took her 2 years to find a sustainable job. She was disillusioned from her previous thoughts when she badgered me about college and how it would end all my troubles. Now when we discuss it she comes from a different vantage point that, I think, allows he to relate in that regard to the experience that you and I have had.

      I think you also make an excellent point about the Black community creating more jobs. At the heart of my discussion about Don Lemon and the previous generations of Black America a that concept. The idea that instead of attacking one another, if we tried to understand each other and relate to the variety of our experiences, that compassion would unite us and empower us to address the many issues affecting the community from different perspectives.

      • revmatthews says:

        Question: Does Don Lemon speak as one who loves his people?

      • DesiBjorn says:

        I wouldn’t say that I think Don Lemon doesn’t love Black people. I think his intentions are good; however, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I’m not so much concerned with his intentions as I am with his actions which, as I’ve explained, I think are counter-productive and nationally damaging. What’s your feeling on it?

  6. revmatthews says:

    To answer that question properly, I need to do a little research…gimmie a minute….

    (Don’t you love the ongoing mutation of the word “minute”?)


    • revmatthews says:

      Did a little research on Brother Lemon (cue the outrage @ “Brother), he has an intriguing story worth reading. He seems to have earned a measure of respect for his education/career climb, without regard for what we may think of him personally, or what measures he chose to succeed; point is, he got there…

      Now, as far as what he said, let’s examine it:

      1. Stop having children out of wedlock
      2. Finish School
      3. Respect where you live
      4. Get rid of the word “nigger”
      5. Pull up your pants

      As a pastor, it would be hypocritical for me to criticize #1 and #2; indeed, it is a major component in many of my sermons. If the truth be told, if it wasn’t for fornication and ignorance, a lot of Black preachers would be left with little to say on Sunday morning. Check out First Church “Postolic Missionary Baptist Church of Holiness Faith Temple this week, if you don’t believe me.

      #3, while not quite enjoying the status of its predecessors, is certainly a well-spoken truth.

      As far as #4, White people really, REALLY ought to stick their finger in the air, Baptist-style, and tip on out of the discussion. A quote:

      “…(One day I’ll explain why it’s marginally okay for Black people to use the so-called “n-word”, and Whites can’t. Actually, the “n-word”, for many of us, is already no longer in use and to tell the truth, it would have been banished into the Crypt of the Unspoken, had it not been for liberal White folks telling us we shouldn’t/couldn’t use it. You called us that for centuries, and some of you hard-core neocons still use it, but all of a sudden you get a bolus injection of social conscience, and you get to decide that it’s now verboten? Screw you, it’s not your call.)”


      I think the word has its uses, and, like any other element of social intercourse, it’s a matter of taste and recognition of appropriateness. I imagine, in Bro. Lemon’s world, there are fewer places where it would be deemed as such, as compared to my world….


      • DesiBjorn says:

        But where exactly did he get? To be a white washed, token Black on a network that has been desperately to distance itself from liberal discourse? I don’t know that I think to highly of his “accomplishments.”

        I would not argue that anything on the list is “bad” or “wrong” it’s just irrelevant to the true discussion of what is going on in Black communities and the issue of crime and disenfranchisement.

  7. revmatthews says:


    #5….ah, #5! I know a preacher who no longer tells YBMs to pull up their pants. He now says, not only in the protective sanctity of the pulpit, but on the street: “Son, pull up yo’ diaper.”

    In 9th Ward, New Orleans, in fact.

    #5 seems to be the hill that the so-called “hip-hop generation” has chosen to die on. Fortunately, the normal passage of time will select a new hill for most, if not all of them. Time has a pesky habit of doing that, y’know. You may point (with no small bit of desperation) @ the Afros and dashikis of a few of the remaining 70’s kids as comparative to the modern (although the concept of rebellion against the “Establishment” is as old as mankind; Cain’s dialogue with God being a proof of sorts)
    en vogue practice of descending waistline, but I remind you that Afros and dashikis were a symbol of Black pride and a Renaissance of Black self-awareness; can the current display of boxers du jour be argued as such?

    I think our problem is not with the message, but the messenger. At this point we shouldn’t let our logic fail us. For example, every month, our utility bills come in the mail, hand-carried by the United States Postal Service. Do we judge the accuracy of the demands of Cleco or Entex by the color of the carrier, combined with his ethnocentric political persuasions? No, we cuss and fuss and ultimately, pay the piper.

    Which I think we as a people will do, if we’re not careful. Pay the piper, that is…

    • DesiBjorn says:

      The current display of boxers is a symbol of resistance and the awareness of a truth the world wants to ignore and that is that whether the trend started in prison or whether it started in the hood (I have never bought the whole prison origin story) but nonetheless it is a refusal to conform and assimilate to society’s standards which all too often are not created by but are perpetuated by Black people. Sagging pants is hardly a hill that we’ll die on because in truth, its just not that serious. And if it is, if a fashion choice is enough to destroy the lives of young Black men, then this country is a while lot more fucked (excuse my language Rev) than we think because outlawing fashion choices will only be the beginning of the government dictating how we live (which would be the complete opposite of democracy, equality, and a country where the power is in the hands of the people).

      And indeed will pay the piper, but not quite the way most think. We will pay by the degradation of our civil liberties and the resurrection of aristocracy or oligarchy.

  8. Nice post! Some very valid points made.

  9. revmatthews says:

    Snopes.com has an interesting take on the subject: http://www.snopes.com/risque/homosex/sagging.asp

    “…because outlawing fashion choices will only be the beginning of the government dictating how we live…”
    True, dat. (I would almost swear that phrase was first uttered on Amos ‘N Andy…)

    Good discussion, indeed. All we’re missing is a box of dominoes, or a chess board…

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