- By creating laws specifically designed to profile and incarcerate Black people, America now locks up more Black men than South Africa did during the height of apartheid, one of the most racist regimes in the history of the world (so, the data implies that America is more racist than the old South Africa). It’s hard for families to stay together when you’re sending every other potential father or husband off to forced labor camps for decades at a time. This also breaks down the structure of the family, leading to a broad increase in the number of single-parent households (see the anti-mass incarceration campaign by myself and Russell Simmons to understand this issue further).
- Black schools are funded at a rate that is significantly lower than White ones. It’s difficult for kids to speak Don Lemon’s proper English if the schools can’t even afford to buy books. In fact, there are quite a few states that are spending more money on building prisons for Black children than educating them. Don, please talk about that during your next rant.
- Nearly every statistical study imaginable shows that even when Black people have plenty of education, they are less likely to be hired and the first to get fired. An excellent case-in-point is when Yolanda Spivey showed that the number of call backs she received dramatically increased when she changed her resume and pretended to be a White girl. So, despite the claim that Black unemployment exists because those “lazy buffoons” don’t want to work, the truth is that discrimination is very real.
- Because of widespread joblessness, incarceration, a poor educational system, and drugs/guns being dropped off in Black communities, many of our kids can’t even walk to school without worrying about taking a bullet to the brain. These drugs and guns are not delivered by Black people. Can you investigate this on CNN? I bet they won’t let you.
- Many of the cultural challenges we have as a community come right out of the music that is played to our kids on the radio by companies like Clear Channel, which promote violence, drug/alcohol abuse, s*xual irresponsibility, etc (see our push to destroy Lil Wayne’s deal with Pepsico to understand what I’m talking about). Don and Bill would never confess that it is the cultural failings of White America which have led gun manufacturers, private prisons, major record labels and others to profit by marketing death and despair to young African Americans – as a business school professor, I can assure you that MARKETING-DOES-WORK.
Hint to Don: Almost none of the destructive entities I’ve mentioned are owned by Black people, even BET. So, the next time you see a jobless, uneducated thug with eight baby’s mamas and sagging pants rob your friend on the street, understand that this man was made in America. He got his gun there too.
I could go on and on, but the truth is that Don and Bill O’Reilly might find a way to blame White racism on Black people too, like the abusive husband who says, “I wouldn’t have had to beat you if you hadn’t kept burning my dinner.” It is the persistent commitment to lying about racism that keeps our country from moving forward. It’s hard to take responsibility for a state-sponsored 400-year holocaust, and easier to use your power to allow yourself to live in denial.
God bless Don Lemon, and I hope he has a long, vibrant career in media. But all of us have issues, and I think that Don’s latent anger toward the African American community (especially Black men) is making him the Black gay equivalent to the angry White male. Growing up as a gay, abused child in the bible belt of Louisiana had to be difficult for him, and I can’t help but wonder if his disturbing remarks are a reaction to the rejection he’s felt from Black America over the years. We should be ashamed for mistreating him, and I’d like to be the first to say, “Don, I’m sorry for what others have done to make you so angry at the Black community right now.”
Don, we’re not all bad. Also, if I get shot while walking down the street while wearing my hoodie, just remember that my death will not be interpreted the same way if my name were Mark Zuckerberg. He wears hoodies too, and no one says he should die because of it.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the author of the lecture series, “The 8 Principles of Black Male Empowerment.”