Was what Don Lemon said so wrong?
Gregory Kane | 9/13/2013, 6 a.m.
There are STILL black folks mad at CNN on-air personality Don Lemon. The “hateration” started a while back, when Lemon offered this advice to young black men in America:
Stop wearing sagging pants.
Stop saying the n-word.
Finish high school.
Have fewer children out of wedlock.
Black liberals and progressives in their never-ending quest to have black folks think of themselves as victims first, victims last and victims in perpetuity, went off on Lemon. But let’s take his bullet points one by one, shall we?
Number one: will it KILL young black men to stop wearing their pants down over their butts? Will it do them any real harm to pull their darned pants up?
No, it wouldn’t, and it just might make them more employable in the process.
When we’re discussing the plight of young black men in America, we do inevitably have to discuss the issue of unemployment, right?
Some studies put the unemployment rate for young black men at 18 percent. I’m betting the rate is at least quadruple that for those young black men rocking the sagging pants look.
Very few employers are going to hire any young man— no matter the race or ethnicity— that shows up for an interview wearing pants that sag down over his butt. And those lucky enough to wear their pants that way that do get jobs won’t have them for long.
Music mogul Russell Simmons, one of those leading the clarion call that the head of Don Lemon, be brought to them, tweeted that sagging pants are a cultural statement.
Were he younger, Simmons said, he might wear his pants that way. He might even hire guys who wear their pants that way. However, if he does, he can rest assured he’d be hiring bona fide fools.
Number two: again— who does it harm if young black men were to stop using the
No one. And an upgrade in vocabulary might help those young black men looking to make their way in the job market.
Number three: I’ll have to admit that Lemon threw me for a loop with this one. Exactly when did littering become exclusively a young, black male thing?
It isn’t. I’ll have to concede that Lemon gave brothers a bum rap on this one.
Number four: hasn’t this advice been given to young black men since black folks were called colored and Negroes? Didn’t James Brown, back in the early 1960s, cut a record urging young black men to finish high school?
And there was another song— I can’t remember the artist or artists— that had the refrain “I’m going back to school.”
Again, it comes down to a matter of young black men making themselves more employable. Young black men with high school diplomas are, almost by definition, more employable than young black men who don’t.
Before I began my journalism career, I supervised a department at Sinai Hospital. I had a list of principles that I would not violate. At the top was this one: I would NOT hire a high school dropout.
My reasoning was this: I ran a department of transporters— workers responsible for moving patients around the hospital— and the coverage had to be 24-7.
That means I needed people on all three daily eight-hour shifts, seven days a week. I needed workers who didn’t mind working overtime or on holidays and weekends. Those who dropped out of high school couldn’t handle this situation.
At school, they got every weekend off. They got every holiday off. They got a two and a half month break during the summer. If a person couldn’t handle that, then said person couldn’t handle working in my department either.
Point number five: really, should I even have to argue this?