Columbia Professor Shows Don Lemon Why He’s Exclusive in His Disdain for Black Youth


by Dr. Christopher Emdin, Columbia University

Yesterday, I wrote a piece critiquing the venom that CNN anchor Don Lemon spat at the Black community for its lack of responsibility in addressing the “thug” behavior spurred on by hip-hop culture. Since last night, I have had a change of heart. Perhaps Don Lemon is right. Perhaps we do need to address the real issues within our communities and target those who enact behaviors that are against the norm. These people are bringing us all down, and they represent the worst in all of us.

The other night, they walked the streets of Huntington Beach, California like an angry gang with their undergarments and lack of manners on display. A few of them yelled at the top of their lungs using a mix of expletives and slang that indicated a lack of concern for education. They kicked over private property and walked the street with unbridled aggression. They littered, seemed to be on drugs, and caused tens of thousands of dollars of damage in just a few hours. When the police showed up, they resisted. They even threw rocks, bottles, and bricks at police officers. One person was being investigated of assault with a deadly weapon after hitting a police officer.


Their parents have to take some responsibility. Society has to do something about this. They represent a culture that brings down society. They must be stopped!!! Seriously, we have to do something about these young white surfers.

To be clear, blaming these young white people for all that is wrong with America is just as problematic as blaming black youth from the hip-hop generation for the issues plaguing our communities. I just wanted to be sure that those who agree with Lemon see the folly in his message and his approach.





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  10. A smart article.

  11. If you’re not part of the solution…youre part of the problem. People like Mr. Lemon do not understand such a sentiment. And I say to all of you who point the finger as he does, what are you doing to make your corner of the world a better place? How are you giving back? How is he giving back? The situation our kids find themselves in is our responsibility and our fault. We don’t adopt our kids, we don’t check on our neighbors, we don’t volunteer to mentor our kids, we don’t even spend time with the kids we make. We don’t educate our children. We don’t educate ourselves. What upset me about Mr. Lemons remarks is not so much what he said, but that he can’t follow those statements up with any viable solutions. We all know what the problems are…..what are the solutions? How can we impact a life and make it better? Look at the kind of impact Steve Harvey makes on our youth…..what if Mr. Lemon got off his ass and contributed something to society? What a wonderful world it could be if we all decided to do more and talk less.

  12. Lemon, while confronting others, should also look in his own mirror where he has plenty of negative problems of his own that also should be addressed immediately, while being a ‘Uncle Tom’ at the same time and a lot of the CNN people still see him as for what he really is , always still a black man, behind his back, whether he knows it or not. If he ever opposes them on any issue, he will rudely be made aware of it, living in his dream world in a house of glass, successfully by worldly means, so far but a complete failure in the most important areas of one’s existence by the standards set by God.

  13. Nug, you can say and believe whatever you choose about Christianity. Most of the successful young African American men and women I know and have met, grew up and still maintain their affiliations and work in the church. You don’t have to like it, but to deny that the Christian faith has had a positive impact on many African Americans is failure to take a look at the obvious. I’m not naive enough to think that ALL pastors and ALL churches have provided a positive experience for ALL people. Some have suffered because of unwise counsel, sex crimes committed against them and even taken a financial loss. However, that is the exception, not the norm. (Now watch some nutcase come along and say that I said, “there is nothing but good in all churches everywhere”).


  15. Since enslavement the rent a negro was available for the right price (in a woodpile). Mr. Lemon has a job and he wants to keep, soooooo he does as he’s ordered and chastised his community, wrongly.
    We must stop vilifying our children and stop others from doing the same. Hip Hop or not our music is no different from theirs. If you don’t believe check oiut some heavy metal, hard rock etc. and you will find its as disturbing.
    We must release the slave mentality and embrace, protect and love our children more than we love our personal luxuries, because they are our future.

  16. If the person who first se*ually violated Mr. Lemon was a Black family member or Black friend of the family Mr. Lemon might now and in the future be sending out a cry for help as he grapples with flashbacks from the time he was powerless in his personal horrible encounter with savagely expressed Black male agression against his little child personhood. OUCH!

    So from the power position of their fraternal order of brothers of broadcasting Mr. Don Lemon finds an ally in the expressed fear, guilt and hate of an heir of White privilege named Bill O’reilly.

    Just remind Mr. Lemon that the present group of contemporary Black youth including Trayvon Martin did not physically rape him. Remind him also that White minds like the ones that think in FOX NEWS comment makers are wholey incapable of providing constructive consultation for the building of viable Black individuals, families or communities. Black Viability is antithetical to the success of the agenda of the nonsensical doctrine of White supremacy and the privilege it automatically bestows upon people with White skin.

    “White is not always right and is never superior to Black just because it is White.” Say it a thousand times each day until your healing comes.

  17. Can we please stop the madness. Can we please stop trying to wash away our dirty laundry and stop blaming others for our issues. Listen I understand that we as black people have hatred from all sides but lets not kid ourselves about issues in our communities and with the still silent and uninvolved hip hop community when it comes to pertinent issues. Yea those surfers went crazy and not much happened to thim, I see what the problem is and I understand. Does the hip hop community help the cause or is standing idly by as our young teens celebrate and mimic them. Not all of hip hop is remiss in their actions but a large number are absent and this distrubs me. They profit from degrading lyrics and obscene images but yet we defend them and their influence on our children and teenagers. We have to take responsibility for our actions and when called out for it instead of cutting down the person take a look at the state of young men and boys I this country. Going after Mr Lemon is exactly the type behavior that is counter productive to our issues. It’s okay for the news and other media outlets to portray us as thugs and the like but when a black person steps up and says maybe we need to stop it and it is a cause of our problems he’s made fun for who he is. That makes you no better than a self hating house negro who is to busy hating his brother for saying what the truth is and turning a blind eye to the real issues.

  18. I think we black folk need to take responsibility for our actions I don’t care what others do I care about the plight of black America we are the ones in danger and we need to fix these problems these young black men need to pull up their pants go back to school and our young sisters don’t need to open their legs to every Tom dick and Harry to be accepted and luv. To my sisters luv yourself and luv God trust him he will guide you through with no scratches. Jesus is the only way for black America to come together and help take care of each other all we need to do is believe in in the power of the holy ghost. The church need to take a large role in our communities. We need to get out there in the trenches to help solve some of these ill problems in our communities. The church suppose to be covered under blood of Jesus they need to get out there in the faces of our young people and tell them the goodness of the Lord give our young people hope that Jesus will save and keep them protect them from others who don’t want you to change. I believe if the church can come out the doors of the church and come out were these young people hang and minister to them and tell them Jesus luv them and we luv let’s pray with them. If churches commit to this believe me u will see crime go down because the power of God has taken over the situation all the church has to do is get out there and minister to people hearts. The prostitute, drug dealer, gang bangers and others who don’t know the Lord all of them can be deliver and set in the moment of the twinkle of an eye. So don lemon is right but there are other places he can voice his opinions to black America without praising a racist bigot name bill O’reilly from fox news. Don should had taken this situation to blacks face to face I think he would had gotten a lot of support from our leaders and community activists.

  19. Great article Dr. Emdin. The issue in the Zimmerman case is not Trayvon Martin’s attire. Zimmerman murdered an innocent kid. Don Lemon needs to stick to the facts. If, Trayvon’s attire was an issue, why did millions of professional people, kids, students, celebrities, and professional athletes imitate his attire to show concern for justice in this country? Don should show respect for the Martin family and not use his media platform to agree with white conservatives regarding African American kids’ attire AT THIS TIME. Now is not the time.
    Don needs to acknowledge that white conservatives view him the same way as Trayvon Martin.

  20. I don’t really care if some white people are acting rowdy and sluggish also. Its comparing apples to strawberries. Our race simply cannot afford it. Whites, because of centuries of dominance and taking care of each other, can afford to act a fool a lot more than we can. The black race is barely hanging on to its existence in America. No it is not fair, just like we have to be at least twice as good as the next white person when applying for a job, we can’t tolerate this behavior nearly as much as they can. The white race is stacked pretty have a lot more ground to give than we do! Just because of white people do it too, does not mean that we can’t afford to do it. Therefore, somebody has to step up and speak the truth.Somebody has to tell are people who are doing wrong to stop doing wrong and start making examples of them. Somebody have to call them out. Al Sharpton is not going to do it because there is no money in that for him. Bill Cosby tried it but the black race pretty much the excommunicated him. Don Lemon was right and we know it. We simply cannot handle the truth. Hypocrite Dr. Boyce Walking actually agrees with Don Lemon also, but he has seized the Trayvon Martin situation to try to gain some black and MSNBC credibility. He is probably trying to become a rent a nigger too, like Sharpton and Melissa Harris-Perry have.

  21. CNN AFRICAN AMERICAN BROADCASTER DON LEMON SAID : “Black people, if you really want to fix the problem, here’s just five things that you should think about doing,” Lemon continued. Those five things, he said, were hiking up their pants, finishing school, not using the n-word, taking care of their communities and not having children out of wedlock.” LIL BOP BOP’S RESPONSE: ” Mr Lemon, if i pull my pants up will i get a job? im a young nigga with a felony, g.e.d. and limited work experience competing with a laid off employee from highmark looking for a second job because her walmart job isnt enough to provide for her and her children she had out of wed lock when she was 16 and 18…See her mom had her at 16 so what do she know about being married n shit? Im saying i hustled in front of this mcdonalds and ate at this mcdonalds everyday…. I took care of the hood…. When the little league football team needed equipment i paid for it…. When youngins get there report cards i give them money for good grades… I got them young niggas to stop beefing and finish school…. My hood love me…. I took care of my community….. Now that i went to jail came home and wanna do right this same mcdonalds got me sweating for a job…WTF!!!! 3 days later : Mr Lemon mcdonalds called me back and said i didnt get the job…. they said i had violence on my rap sheet but i didnt … see mcdonalds and other restaurant consider getting caught with a gun violent whether you commit a crime with it or just have it while getting arrested, like i was….. I dont know which way to turn now mr lemon…. I dont have a family structure to lean on…. My pops Passed away while i was in the jail and my mom fuck wit me but she lives with her dude and they aint got money like that for me to borrow… I got a kid on the way and my girl need me… I aint got time for school so what now…. I dont wanna hustle but it feels like i got too… Ima keep looking for a job but bottom line…. i gotta take care of my family!!!!!! FUCK DAT!!!!!!!” Lil bop bop’s story is like millions of others who suffer from generational poverty.. People with money are raised differently… We aint even talking about a lot of money… IM TALKING ABOUT A REAL LIVING AND WORKING WAGE!!!!! The economy is so fucked up that 15 dollars an hour is poor in this country…. .The price of things go up but what we make stays the same or moves up by the cent rarley the dollar…. Nobody wants to live in he hood… nobody wants to have babies out of wed lock nobody wants to live a bad life…. How do you unteach something you were born into?? if that was easy then the black race would be in a much better place… We all know of families where nobody aint shit except drunks, drug dealers and jail birds… but then you get that one that there whole family is proud of that graduated, is in college and never does drugs….thats like seeing a fuckin comet… very rare….I can go on and on but my point is YES WE KNOW THAT WE NEED TO DO BETTER … THATS EASY…. IM TIRED OF YOU FAKE ASS BLACK INTELLECTUALS ATTACKING EASY SHIT!!!! USE ALL OF YOUR FUCKING NERDY BRAIN POWER ON ATTACKING THIS CAPITALIST SYSTEM THAT STEPS ON THE POOR WHILE BAILING OUT AND SUCKING THE DICK OF THE RICH!!!!!! ITS LIKING KICKING PEOPLE WHEN THEY’RE DOWN….. ITS LIKE YOUR BEING A BULLY!!!!! YALL GET ON TV AND TALK TOUGH AS HELL TO THE 99% ABOUT ALL THAT WE DO WRONG AND WHAT WE NEED TO DO BETTER BUT SQUIRT THE JIZZ OF THE 1% ALL OVER YOUR FACES!!!!!! POOR IS POOR BUT BEING A POOR MINORITY WITH SNEAKY CODE WORD RACIST LAWS ON THE BOOKS MAKES IT EVEN WORSE FOR US!!!!! YALL SMART ASSES KNOW THAT JUST LIKE WE KNOW WHAT WE NEED TO DO AND WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO WHICH IS DO BETTER…. USE YALL PLATFORM TO FIGHT THEM NOT US…. SAYING SHIT FOR HEADLINES WHILE TAP DANCING FOR “DA MAN” AT OUR EXPENSE… YOU WANT YA OWN SHOE THEN SAY IT NIGGA!!!!

  22. Anytime Black Americans accept the fact that they are Americans and not other,then they will not be seen as them. The same behavior that is attributed to black Americans, is practised by white Americans,but then, they have the control of the mega phone, hence they are able to define black Americans who and what black Americans are, and guess what; we fall right in line! On the other hand when black Americans speak proper english or pull up their pants, black Americans suggest that “you are trying to be white”
    My point is until black Americans become proud of being an American the land of THEIR birth,and that collectively (black/white) are ashamed of indecent behavior, so no white person can say its not us it’s them black people. You must realise that to the rest of the world, recardless of your ethnic background you are seen as Americans whether for good or bad. However I must say that the response on this article makes me very hopeful, conversation like this, I am sure make us a better people,the people that we really are.

    One Love!!!!

  23. Boyce in trying to drum up support for his ridiculous essay on Lemon, hence, the 94 other articles about the subject. Watkins is a bully. Not much substance to him.

    • Bravo! Point clearly made. However, let’s hope that [d]on the []l]emon, and his merry band of elitists, will be able to follow you. You know what they say: You can explain the issue to them, but you can’t make them understand. Keep up the good work in calling out the lost [n]egroes among us. You might also want to pen a letter to [c]rystal [w]right, who self identifies as the “Conservative Black Chick”, and a partner at the [b]ecker [w]right [g]roup (of all fields–public relations), located in Washington, D.C. Let’s “call ’em out, and hang ’em high”–figuratively speaking, of course….

  24. Ebony's former schoolmate

    Just wondering if Don Lemon feels the same way about flamboyant homosexuals that elicit (at times) warranted backlash and name calling from the heterosexual community… I know it’s apples and oranges, but sometimes you have pose things in a way individuals understand.

    The majority of hip-hop music is purchased by the white community, has been for years. So what’s stopping “Brad” from going all “thug” in his community after listening to a “n*gga” laced verse from any popular rapper?

    My guess would be the resources made available to Brad from his family and community.

    And if Brad does happen to have a problematic disposition, it accredited to divorce or AHAD or am I just generalizing like Mr Lemon?

    #Whitepplproblems #Kanyeshrug

  25. Open letter to O’reilly & Don Lemon

    Seems to me you are sterotyping. Let me be very clear. “Black” boys aren’t the only ones that: listen to rap, wear sagging pants, born out of wedlock, not finishing school, etc. I think we are all grown enough not to point fingers. Are either one of the critics doing anything to help fix the problem. You can point fingers all day, but if you are not a part of the solution you’re a part of the problem. Everyone seems so eager to point out the things that’s wrong in the black community blindfolding us of the things that happen in the other communities everyday. On yesterday I read an article that listed a study stating that white people need to be more afraid of themselves then any other race. You see, I am not a pro black activist & I don’t believe in everything the media tells me. However, I’m not blind to the facts either. Yes this world we live in make it harder for an African American to succeed then any other race. I find it fascinating how quickly African Americans can belittle each other. I see it all the time. African Americans are like “crabs in a barrel.” We tend to believe everything that is said about us by others & in a way we start rejecting our own race, just to get ahead. We too, begin to play the finger pointing game like we are better then the rest. Again, I ask what are you doing to fix the problem? Let’s be honest here just for one second….. how about we not use the inventions that were made by African-Americans for one day. Let me see at that moment how sagging pants, born out of wedlock, rap music etc, is the reason the world is the way it is. I have seen Caucasians rapping, sagging, having kids out of wedlock, etc just like African Americans, Mexicans, bi-racials, & every other race. How come when “blacks” do the same thing other races do, its a crime for “blacks” but not for others? If we all are created equal, when will everyone start being treated as equal? Again, I am not blind to the facts. I see things on both ends of the spectrum. You cannot say something is good for one race, but bad for another. Yes, we have black on black crime & it saddens me deeply, BUT that does not make it right for us as a human race to be a target for other races with no consequences. We as African Americans need to stop listening to what the world has to say about us & define who we are on a individual basis & as a whole. We need not wait until something tragic happens to come together for our voices to be heard. I don’t see black or white on a daily basis. I don’t determine how I treat someone based on the color of their skin. I treat I’m people as I want to be treated. I do not see color until racial descrimination takes place towards others or myself. Not a race alone needs to come together, but we as a people need to come together. White, black, purple, orange, green, etc need to come together as a group of people & be the change we want to see. Once we are able to look past the color of someone’s skin, then & only then can we begin to see a change. Until that time comes, finger pointing is not a solution, it only adds fuel to the fire. “It takes a village to raise a child” & that village can consist of any race that wants to be the change they want to see. Look in the mirror & ask yourself if you are a part of the problem or solution. Honesty is the best policy. Let’s take off the blindfolds & call a spade a spade & a joker a joker. Division leads to destruction, togetherness leads to victory. “God so loved the WORLD that he gave his only begotten son so that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 is not based around race & neither should we. God doesn’t see color & neither should we. Be the change you want to see…….

  26. Living in Baltimore is an unbelievable sight to see on a daily basis. Trust me, its a struggle! and although, we as black people know and understand our ills, we should never, EVER sit at the table and discuss it ‘others’ who don’t look like us, know us and don’t care to, and actually that sentiment is mutual; however, what makes Lemon an idiot is that he does not know any better .Lemon is a clown…for the reason of airing our dirty laundry, which is also his dirty laundry to the ‘others’ even if he has a valid point of view. He is what I would consider the ultimate snitch.

  27. Maybe I’m missing something but I see a lot of boys of different races running around in the video. Is a Columbia professor using anecdotes to dispute statistics? Don really got what passed for Black intellectuals these days shook. Good.

  28. Yes, there are so-called “culture problems” in our communities. Parents and the kids themselves should be responsible for their behavior. Things like sagging pants, profanity and disrespect for others are things that ALL kids can control.

    However, Mr. Lemon should be pointing to the Black kids in Florida who are demonstrating peacefully at the Florida statehouse for changes in the laws of Florida. I suggest that there are more kids like these than the ones Don Lemon depicts.

    Yes many of our kids probably NEED to teach their parents, many of whom are kids themselves, how to behave!! Poverty IS NOT the cause of ALL our problems. Some of them are of our own doing!!

  29. I found nothing wrong with what Don suggested and find little comfort in the professor giving me a white version of things. I wonder everyday, if Martin Luther King would look on at some of our present ‘young black men’ and their choice of dress, lingo and behavior would he be finding excuses, making comparisons or trying to point them in the direction of character development.

    • Psychotherapist/Behaviorist/Counselor

      The professor is right. Don should focus on youth culture, not solely black youth–all youth.

  30. Great points about how this mob was not raised up as a societal problem for a race, but, merely relegated to being a small, local problem.

    I fail to see what this has to do with the comments made by Don Lemon. I know that you’re not saying that we should accept poor behavior from black youth (or adults) simply because a group of whites have behaved poorly (certainly not the first time and won’t be the last).

    We should look at Don’s comments as coming from a position of love. What if your grandmother had made these same statements? You would know that she only means well for the young people and harbors no ill intent. I don’t know Don from Adam in real life; however, I choose to look at Don’s comments the same way that I would look at these same comments if they came from my grandmother.

    Don said nothing about harming people who don’t heed his advice. He is merely suggesting some things that people can do to improve their position in life. I’m confused at the anger and hatred that I see coming his way.

    • Psychotherapist/Behaviorist/Counselor

      Don’s position comes from simplicity. That is what the professor is highlighting. Anytime a black person sides with Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, there is a problem in his logic. At best, Don’s list is full of half-truths that need further exploration and attention to fully address the issues with the complexity they deserve.

  31. this article underscore that bias in attributing social status to race. The state of blacks is indeed messed up and certainly required a greater conversation for remedy. Lennon doesn’t know what its like to grow up in a resources community plagues by violence and drugs.Without regard to race, it is human nature for one to gravitate towards the offering in its community. Before coming at the black community neck, ask what the hell am I physically doing in the here and now to help out. And buy a loaf of bread from Tyrone Deli ain’t enough to say “oh yeah, I gets down with the black Community”. Without looking at the color of ones skin lets fixed what our people are going through. buy our people I mean every race, sex, class.

  32. Ok. I’ve just read the caption to this piece and it appears interesting. But I don’t have optimism for my endorsement of the professor. But I’ll pour my morning coffee, give it a read and see what I think then.

  33. Understood!