Houston Forward Times

31 July 2013 Written by  Jeffrey Boney

CNN ANCHOR DON LEMON: WE NEED SOLUTIONS, NOT SOUND BYTES

You know, I found myself writing about the issues surrounding African American accountability this week, when all of a sudden, I see this shocking piece from CNN’s Don Lemon over the weekend.  

Lemon has been taking a whole lot of heat, and rightfully so, for the things he said during his “No Talking Points” segment this past Saturday, when he said that he agreed with the racist comments about Black people from the always controversial Fox News host Bill O'Reilly.

To give you a backdrop to know where I am coming from, Lemon plays a clip from O’Reilly where he states, “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 blDon Lemonack 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.”  O'Reilly went on to blame the issues in the Black community on “the disintegration of the African American family," "the drug situation" and “the entertainment industry for promoting gangsta culture."

Sadly, Lemon not only chose to agree with O’Reilly, he chose to double down on his comments.  

“Bill’s got a point,” Lemon said. “In fact, he’s got more than a point…In my estimation, he doesn’t go far enough.”

In poor taste to Trayvon Martin’s memory, Lemon chose to piggy-back off of the tragedy and the Zimmerman verdict by using his CNN bully-pulpit to give Blacks a reality check, by going on the air to share what he believes are problems that Black males bring on the Black community.

"Black people, if you really want to fix the problem, here's just five things that you should think about doing," Lemon stated.  

Lemon went on to say that if Black people pulled up their saggin’ pants, finished school, refrained from using the N-word, stopped littering and stopped having kids out of wedlock, those five things would immediately change the course and address problems in the Black community. What a bunch of crap!

All in all, while there may be some major challenges in the Black community, those challenges aren’t exclusive to the Black community alone.  I totally agree with Lemon that the five issues raised are legitimate issues and that African Americans should address those issues and not sweep them under the rug.  Addressing these issues will strengthen the Black community and help our next generation of leaders navigate in this current American culture.

What I don’t agree with is Lemon’s decision to use his privileged media position to drop a bomb on the Black community, choosing to deliver his Black chastisement piece over CNN’s airwaves and choosing to validate his new “sound byte buddy” and controversial White talk show host Bill O’Reilly’s position in order to bolster his own.  

Does Lemon agree with Nation of Islam and its current leader Louis Farrakhan also?  

The Nation of Islam has been promoting things in the Black community for years, such as family, Farrakhaneducation, economic self-sufficiency, personal accountability and “doing for self.”  I am curious whether Lemon ever quoted clips from Farrakhan or the Nation, since he’s been in the media, so as to challenge the Black community as he did.  If he hasn’t, is it because the Nation and Farrakhan have been deemed toxic and controversial by the same mainstream media for whom he works?  I mean, if Lemon cared so much about the Black community, as to put the Black community on blast on CNN using “sound bytes” of O’Reilly’s own words, shouldn’t he use the Nation and Farrakhan to promote his message the same way he used O’Reilly’s words?

How does littering, sagging pants and the use of the N-word by other Blacks, contribute to the deplorable and severely inadequate educational and economical travesty that are faced in this country.  I mean, if I stop sagging, do I get a job or a better education?  If I stop littering, will my neighborhood get the resources it needs to make it better?  If I stop using the N-word, will I stop getting racially profiled and murdered like Trayvon Martin and countless others?  

Give me a break!!!!

Tell me, what the hell is so different between Black people and White people, except....well.....they are Black and White?  

Question.....don't White people use slang and offensive terms amongst each other?  
Don't White people wear tattoos, flip flops, crass T-shirts and look grimy at times?  
Don't White youth pop pills and do hard drugs?  
Don't White youth have unprotected sex and have babies out of wedlock too?  
Don't White people flick cigarettes and trash too?  
Don't White people kill each other also?  
Don't White people drop out of school too?  Hmmmm...Didn’t Bill Gates drop out of school?   

I will never make excuses, but I believe many people see problems from afar, but refuse to get their hands dirty fixing the problems. I think it is wonderful to challenge the Black community to do better and want better. However, I believe the issues that Lemon address are merely nuisances in our communities compared to the real issues going on in our communities.

Everything Lemon suggests sounds simple, but this isn’t Staples and you can’t press an ‘Easy’ button to address Black issues. You definitely can’t just talk about it on TV. Don Lemon didn’t offer any real solutions; he simply told us what we already knew.  

I’d love to see Don Lemon, Bill O’Reilly and anyone else who agrees with their methodology, come show me what they have done to address some real issues; I mean, except talk about them.  


Jeffrey L. Boney serves as Associate Editor and is an award-winning journalist for the Houston Forward Times newspaper.  Jeffrey is a Next Generation Project Fellow, dynamic international speaker, experienced entrepreneur, business development strategist and Founder/CEO of the Texas Business Alliance.  If you would like to request Jeffrey as a speaker, you can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .