Don Lemon Talks Stop and Frisk, Black Twitter Responds With #DonLemonOn

don-lemonDon Lemon keeps putting his foot in his mouth. Every few weeks, he has something negative to say about or to the black community. Just weeks after telling black people to pull up their pants, he spoke candidly this morning about his support for the highly contested New York “Stop and Frisk” policy. I, along with the rest of black Twitter responded with the #DonLemonOn hashtag. He deserved it.

Lemon, a CNN personality and reverse race activist, had one main question to ask: “Would you rather be politically correct or safe and alive?” His question stems from his assertion that the NY election today could be a major benchmark for the rest of the country. Though, his loaded question implies that stop and frisk has resulted in a reduction of crime because of its effectiveness. While understanding that NY police may abuse the power afforded them by stop and frisk, he still favors the method as a means to reduce crime.

“So for those of us who’d like to believe in theory that we’d rather be inconvenienced by being stopped by police than shot by gun wielding criminals on the street, we deeply know that while that is true, it is highly unlikely that the police, the people holding the authority, and our fates in their own hands will treat us as citizens who deserve the same respect as any other citizen who happens not to be of color in the United States.”

He went on the finish with, “So the question is: would you rather be politically correct or safe and alive? That’s the real issue facing the citizens of New York and pretty soon, ultimately YOU.”

Sadly though, Lemon is invariably missing the point. The folks that are getting stopped are not actually committing the crimes. According to a piece published last year in the Huffington Post, the policy’s implementation targets blacks and Latinos with lower likelihood of possessing deadly weapons. A few important facts might help Lemon speak more adeptly on this subject.

  • 90% of those stopped were black and Latino even though blacks and Latinos make up only half of the population in New York City. In essence, more blacks have been stopped than actually inhabit the city.
  • When blacks and Latinos are stopped, the police are more likely to use force.
  • With a 300% increase in stops since 2003, only 176 more guns have been found (that’s over 500k more stops).
  • Even though blacks and Latinos are stopped 90% of the time, they are half as likely to have a deadly weapon in their possession than whites.
  • Stop and frisk has not been shown to affect murder rates. The rate has been dropping steadily since the 1990s.
  • 9 out of 10 stopped are guilty of nothing.

Lemon seems not to care about these statistics when expressing his support for “political correctness.” If the conversation were as simple as being politically correct, it wouldn’t be a conversation. In actuality, this is legal racial profiling. There are no checks and balances. The law has not been proven to keep people safer nor reduce murder. Instead, it humiliates black and Latino citizens who – nine times out of ten – are innocent of any crime. This is the equivalent of a teacher punishing an entire classroom because she can’t figure out who made a fart sound when she sat down.

Well, black Twitter wasn’t going to stand for that. The hashtag #DonLemonOn erupted as we all went in on the idiocy Lemon spewed this morning.

I really wish Don Lemon would sit down and be quiet. But, like I have come to know about my five-year-old son, children don’t always follow good sense. However, I have started crocheting a massive net. I vow this day to round-up every chair in the United States. I will drag them in my net straight to Don Lemon’s doorstep. Hopefully, he’ll be so overcome with gratitude at my fervor that he will indulge me with a seat…even if it is just for a little while.

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Jenn M. Jackson

Co-Founder/Editor-in-Chief
Jenn M. Jackson, PhD is a co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Water Cooler Convos. She is a native of Oakland, CA. Jenn is a radical Black feminist scholar who believes none of us are free until all of us are free.

2 Responses

  1. “Stop and Frisk” is a breach of civil rights for anyone stopped, regardless of their race. The actions and abuse by the NYPD are filling the very definition of a “Police State” where citizens are under never ending scrutiny in order for cops meet a quota designed to turn profits. You can read much more about our Justice System running amok and how they’ve violated civil liberties across the country in the name of the almighty dollar at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-privatized-police-state.html

  2. Thanks so much for the comment. I completely agree that NYC has become a police state. Thanks for the link!

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