If you had to guess, how many white Americans don’t view black people as human?
Don Lemon didn’t provide a percentage, but in a June 15th Washington Post interview, he indicated the outlook is glum.
There used to be a notion of national unity, but it appears to have gone the way of the dodo bird.
As the CNN host put it, “We’re living in two different realities as black and white people.”
The way Don sees it, he’s an ambassador for people who are black — who, if I understand correctly, therefore think and feel the same as he:
“[It’s about] speaking for the people who don’t have agency, for marginalized people and especially for Black people. Look, I’m a Black man in America. Black people have a unique experience in this country, unlike any other… So if I’m the only Black man on prime-time cable, I’m certainly going to speak for the people who don’t have the privilege of the platform that I have. If I don’t do it, who’s going to do it?”
As for Barack Obama’s election proving “we’re living in a post-racial world,” Don says, “that was bull—-.”
Black people knew how racist white people still were:
“[Trump] was a wake-up call to White people who thought we were living in a nonracist world. We’re living in two different realities as Black and White people. We knew, as Black people, what was lurking beneath the surface. I still believe that [Trump] was the necessary wake-up for America to realize just how racist it is.”
So how do things change? Don deals with the daily dilemma of needing to show the horrors black Americans endure, without oversaturation leading to numbness:
“[I]t’s the new blaxploitation,” he laments. “We constantly see Black bodies being killed. How long are we going to have to hold Black bodies up to get justice? That is a constant struggle every single night.”
There’ve been moments of progress, at least temporarily.
Case in point: the tragedy of George Floyd. It prompted white people to finally see humanity in a black man:
“We all became human, and we saw the humanity — finally — in this Black man who was getting killed by a police officer. Now, is that lasting? That’s another question. But for that moment, that was the impact.”
Black people, he notes, have an obligation to educate and direct white people. In that process, perhaps they’ll see black people as human. But it’s taxing:
“Whether we like, as Black people, being the teachers or helping to guide White people through racism — it’s uncomfortable sometimes, it’s tiring — unfortunately to some degree you have to do it, because otherwise they may take the wrong actions, and we want people to do it the right way. And the right way is by understanding and seeing our humanity.”
One basic problem: He doesn’t believe the country’s “seen enough people like [him].”
Despite the sad state of affairs, he maintains a dream:
“I would love America to see Black people, especially Black gay men as — and I hate this word — normal, and as human beings and as part of the culture. That we have our vulnerabilities and our struggles, but we also have our successes.”
You know how you white people hurt and love? Well, so do black people:
“We love, we hurt, and we go through trials and tribulations just like anyone else.”
Back to the initial issue — does the nation’s white citizenry view black people as fully human? Don Lemon can’t say Yes:
“I don’t know if America sees Black people and especially Black gay men as fully human, and as deserving of the American Dream.”
It’s an awful dreary world he’s exposed.
Meanwhile, he’s fighting for the opposite. One method: the promotion of Critical Race Theory.
While state laws ban the ideology via eliminating teaching that one race is superior over the other, individuals are guilty due to their race, and meritocracy is racist, last week on CNN, Don characterized CRT as the mere history of slavery.
And people don’t want to interrupt their pleasure in order to face it:
“That’s the whole thing about what privilege is, is that you — people don’t like to have their pleasure interrupted. Their peace interrupted. And so people think that it should be the way that it should be because they have been taught that in this country.”
CRT critics? They’re arrogant and judgmental:
“[F]olks on the other side, stop making it about you. And be curious instead of judgmental.”
That sounds like a great idea.
Now how do we all — and not just some — do it?
It’s gonna be tough — especially with white people not seeing black people as human.
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