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  • -Don Lemon, thank you so much for being here.

  • It really means a lot to me. I know how busy you are.

  • -I am honored to be here and to be in your home.

  • It means a lot to me.

  • Can I say something? -Sure.

  • -Your open. Wow. Bravo, brother.

  • And that's exactly what we all need to do is examine ourselves.

  • And that was really honest and very brave of you.

  • And I appreciate you having the depth, really,

  • to do what you did in that open.

  • That's amazing.

  • I wish more people would do that,

  • because we can't go back to the way we were.

  • Even before this death happened with George Floyd,

  • with the pandemic, Jimmy, we weren't gonna go back

  • to life the way it was.

  • And now that this happened, we can't go back.

  • So this is a time for us to change, and I thank --

  • I appreciate you for stepping up

  • and being a leader and helping to change.

  • -I wanted to thank you for saying that,

  • but I want to thank you even before we got into this,

  • just to say, just for the pandemic,

  • when that was happening, thank you for staying on the air

  • and being there for all of us.

  • You know, I don't know if you get enough credit,

  • as much as you deserve.

  • You deserve a lot of credit for getting out there

  • and making us feel calmer and safer

  • and just giving us the information

  • and showing up and being there for us.

  • So, that was happening, and I wanted to thank you for that.

  • And now I saw your special last night,

  • "I Can't Breathe -- Black Men Living and Dying in America,"

  • and that was absolutely phenomenal.

  • Bravo to you for that.

  • What has this been like for you, professionally?

  • -Well, professionally, it's tough

  • because it's so personal, you know?

  • Because I'm seeing people who look like me,

  • who have similar backgrounds,

  • who have loved ones who look like my family, dying.

  • I mean, literally watching them die.

  • We watched this man die on-camera,

  • we watched Ahmaud Arbery die, in Georgia, on-camera

  • literally within the span of a week or two.

  • And, I mean, it's been tough to go on and not be emotional,

  • but, you know, I lead from the heart

  • and I'm very candid and I don't always say the right things.

  • That's why -- I don't always say the right things,

  • but I always say what I'm feeling in the moment,

  • and it's always real.

  • And I don't mean it --

  • You know, it doesn't come from a bad place.

  • And so that's why I appreciate what you said

  • and what you're doing, because we have to stop

  • beating people up for mistakes, because we're all human.

  • We have to allow people to be human.

  • And we all have pasts, and they're not perfect.

  • And we have to allow people to be flawed and have conversations

  • like we're having now and not castigate people for it.

  • People say the wrong things all the time.

  • In your family, with your wife, with your mom, your dad,

  • your sister, whomever, your brother,

  • you have conversations, you have arguments,

  • and you say the wrong thing,

  • but you're still a family and you still love each other.

  • And I think even as Americans who may not live together

  • or know each other, we have to allow each other

  • that same freedom.

  • And that's all -- That's what I'm trying to get across

  • every single night, especially since this happened.

  • -What can people be doing right now?

  • White people, black people.

  • I'm not saying, "Tell me what to do,"

  • but what do you think all of us as a country

  • should be doing or can be doing?

  • -Exactly what we're doing right now.

  • That's what they should be doing.

  • And every time something like this happens, Jimmy,

  • we say, "We need to have a conversation.

  • We need to have a conversation."

  • Yes, we need to have a conversation,

  • but that is at the very minimum.

  • We should be having a conversation.

  • White people, get some black friends.

  • Examine your social circles.

  • Do you have any people of color in your social circles

  • besides people you work with or maybe who work for you

  • or maybe you ride the subway with,

  • I mean, who live in your neighborhood?

  • Do you? I mean, just let's be honest.

  • And look at your staff if you work.

  • Look at the people you work around,

  • especially if you're a boss.

  • How many people of color do you have on your team?

  • How many direct reports do you have?

  • Because that influences what you put out in the world.

  • And I think people should just be honest,

  • because we all created this toge--

  • This is the America that we all created,

  • and we can all change it if we really wanted to.

  • And we have to stop asking, "Well, what can we do?"

  • It is shocking, honestly, Jimmy, to most African-Americans,

  • if not all African-Americans, that what happened

  • to George Floyd, as sad and awful as it is,

  • is an epiphany for white people.

  • It's not an epiphany.

  • It happens all the time, and many people

  • make these calculations every time they see it.

  • "Well, this doesn't happen much. They're making an excuse.

  • It happens to white people."

  • How much videotape -- Have you seen videotape like that

  • of white people?

  • And if you do, it's very rare. Have you seen it, Jimmy?

  • -No. -Okay.

  • So when people are telling you that these things happen,

  • well, you should probably meet them where they are

  • and believe that they do, because it happens,

  • and stop making excuses for racism and get out there.

  • But the biggest thing is take some action.

  • Use whatever platform you have or wherever you are

  • and try to do something for a person of color

  • or understand a person of color or improve conditions.

  • When something happens in the workplace

  • that you perceive to be discriminatory,

  • don't stand by and let it happen and then say,

  • "Oh, that's terrible that it happens to you."

  • Speak up.

  • -Yeah, you had a quick call-out the other night,

  • because you said that you were getting texts and DMs

  • saying, "Great job, Don."

  • You're doing great."

  • And you're like, "Yeah, what are you doing?"

  • -Yeah. -"Don't tell me.

  • You have a platform. Use it."

  • -Well, here's the thing. And you know this.

  • So, the trades will pick up a headline -- right? --

  • and say, "Oh, Don Lemon is calling people out."

  • What I meant was not in a derogatory or negative way.

  • And I did say, "You may be doing something

  • that I don't know about, and if you are,

  • then I apologize."

  • But I have asked people to come on CNN many times,

  • and even with this, and they'll say,

  • "Oh, I can't do it.

  • You know, I just -- Man, it'll ruin my brand" or

  • "I'm worried about it.

  • I can't -- You know..."

  • And if you don't help those young people

  • who are really out there and try to change that narrative

  • about all of this rioting and everything is bad

  • and black people are causing chaos --

  • If you don't step up to those people who are standing

  • on an abyss and trying to change things,

  • when are you going to do it, black or white?

  • And that's not just for

  • Hollywood people and celebrities.

  • Those are the people who represent them,

  • Those are the producers,

  • all of those people who are making money.

  • And the reason I said that is because

  • there's a vacuum of leadership in this country,

  • and we live in a very celebrity-driven society.

  • And people listen to artists of all kinds --

  • rappers, actors, comedians.

  • They listen, and you have a big voice and a big platform.

  • And the reason I mention all those bold names

  • that I mentioned is because I love those people,

  • I respect those people, and they have a major, huge influence.

  • And sometimes, if you're doing things behind the scenes,

  • you're giving money, it's very important.

  • Don't get me wrong.

  • But visibility is also extremely important,

  • because young people need to be able to see that

  • they can be like you and that sometimes doing

  • a Twitter post or an Instagram post, that's great,

  • but it's in a vacuum sometimes.

  • Do you understand what I'm saying?

  • -Yeah, I do.

  • -I use my platform the way that I can.

  • I'm not criticizing people in that way,

  • but it's just a call to action for everyone

  • to do what they can,

  • because this a critical moment in our country.

  • That's it.

  • -I want to talk more with you

  • when we come back from the break.

  • Is that okay? -Absolutely.

-Don Lemon, thank you so much for being here.

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Don Lemon on the Death of George Floyd, Forgiveness and Calling Out Celebrities

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/07/03
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