Since the slaves were in the fields of America black people in a general sense have always wanted to get “there”.What is “there” well no one really knows but its gotta be better than this. In a general sense “There” means equality, prosperity, and non-bigotry. The whole idea of acceptance and getting there can be very contrived and heavy-handed. I will admit that black people have had many of a misstep in getting “there”. Yet, no one has really come up with a concrete way of getting “there” because no one has a real answer about getting “there”. The idea of getting “there” is in many instances shrouded around acceptance at any costs while others revolving around respect as a human being.
Don Lemon this past Saturday not only does he give credence to one Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly in his “ideas” of what black people need to do to get….”there”. Lemon proceeded to give his own 5 pointed manifesto on CNN of what black people need to do to get “there”. The issue with people like Don Lemon and others with his pathology is that sagging pants isn’t stopping black people from getting “there”.
I get what Don Lemon was trying to say He was speaking in summation about African-American’s personal responsibility. But isn’t personal responsibility something not just African-Americans but all Americans need to uphold? Lemon in his comments offered nothing that has not been spoken about at ad nauseam with no real practical solutions. He spoke about sagging pants, littering, saying “nigga”, and children out-of-wedlock, being the reasons that black people can’t get “there”. When in actually his tone and riding in on the Bill O’Reilly horse made him look like Spliff Star to ala Busta Rhymes. His comments looked in many ways as he was inferring that those “Negros” he was critiquing were the reason he and other black people like himself were not “there” and that maybe if these other black people could hold up the end of this bargain I could get all I worked for.
For instance, Don Lemon could have addressed the sagging pants comments in a constructive way that could be encompassing to self-responsibility but also American’s prison culture. He could have use that opportunity to add to his sagging pants point by also talking about the imbalanced sentencing processes, lack of rehabilitation provided, prison industrial complex, and the privatization of the prisons that foster the same culture he commented on that was rampant in his Harlem neighborhood.
Lemon also didn’t try to throw in the socio-economics of his area in Harlem (though the last I heard wasn’t Harlem basically gentrified now?). Lemon’s comments were most interesting considering that he is also a gay black male who has all kinds of red herrings thrown about his lifestyle from AIDS being spread by gay men to many other homophobic ideas.
We cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptable to ourselves.- Malcolm X
Don Lemon spoke nothing of the most important thing black people need if they are ever going to get “there”…knowledge of self. The only thing America respects is power and the only way power can be truly attained is through knowledge of self. Understanding who you are and your ability as man/woman is the most important thing that anyone needs. You can be the biggest man on aesthetically(society wise) who doesn’t sag, has PhD from Stanford and who is a part of the neighborhood clean up crew but if you don’t have a strong sense of self you’re just a person acquiescing to the power structure (see the character “Boxer” in George Orwell’s Animal Farm).
At the end of the day everyone’s idea of getting “there” is varies but one that only speaks to the lowest common denominator is the biggest flawed one. Lemon can comment on out-of-wedlock children but the last time I checked MTV’s Teen Mom mostly highlights young white girls. It’s interesting that some of the people who always want to be not associated as more than “just black” (instead of blackness having varying degrees) are the first to criticize those they wish not to associate with either economically or culturally. Getting “there” isn’t just for black people take on there has to be some consorted effort by all people to have real discussions and solutions on the racism, bigotry, and hegemony in America.
I struggle with Don Lemon and those of his ilk’s idea of what getting “there” is. Is mainstream assimilation and acceptance paramount to some people’s ideas of getting “there”? Are there problems in the black community has in front of them to move forward and inch closer to getting “there”? As Pierre Delacroix said in Bamboozled “Emphatically Yes!!”, but this idea of homogenizing and doing anything possible to be accepted by the mainstream will not get people to respect you but only to accept and tolerate. Lemon moreover was inundating and co-signing intentionally or unintentionally with those who believe that black culture is built on ignorance and not being educated. Which we all know is not true.
If black people are ever going to get “there” it is going to come from earning respect which isn’t going to come from just pulling up one’s pants. I dislike sagging pants like many others but if Lemon and anyone else with that pathology think that not sagging pants is going to stop bigotry in America or get black people“there”; I have an Iceberg in Florida to sell them
With all of that being said Don Lemon I have to give you the GAS FACE!!!….
Make sure you check out this week’s episode of the “Straight Outta Lo Cash” Radio Show. This week’s show “Can We Just Get Fleece Johnson to Deal With George Zimmerman” with guests Socialite Sande . You can also subscribe to the show on I-Tunes or listen on your Android, I-Phone, or I-Pad with Stitcher Radio.