Fox News host Bill O'Reilly—whose comments about the problems in the black community raised a firestorm this week—has at least one supporter.
And he's African-American and a host for rival network CNN.
Don Lemon said Saturday on his “No Talking Points” segment that O'Reilly has "a point. In fact, he’s got more than a point…In my estimation, he doesn’t go far enough.”
Lemon's reaction came after playing a clip of O’Reilly stating, “The reason there is so much violence and chaos in the black precincts is the disintegration of the African-American family…Raised without much structure, young black men often reject education and gravitate towards the street culture, drugs, hustling, gangs. Nobody forces them to do that. Again, it is a personal decision.”
Lemon then listed five essential reforms black men need to make:
- pull up pants
- drop the N-word
- take care of their communities
- finish high school
- lower rate of children born out of wedlock.
“More than 72% of children in the African American community are born out of wedlock,” Lemon continued, emphasizing this point as the top priority. “That means absent fathers. And the studies show that lack of a male role model is an express train right to prison, and the cycle continues.”
“So please...pay attention to and think about what has been presented in recent history as acceptable behavior,” Lemon concluded. “Pay close attention to the hip-hop and rap culture that many of you embrace, a culture that glorifies everything I just mentioned, thug and reprehensible behavior; a culture that is making a lot of people rich—just not you. And it’s not going to.”
After Lemon's comments, he invited reactions from guests and was deeply criticized by Michael Skolnick, editor-in-chief of Global Grind, who is white.
“I think your comments sounded like a conservative preacher on a Sunday, and certainly Bill O’Reilly should welcome you on his show,” Skolnik said. “I’m disappointed in you.”
“You’re talking about sagging pants,” Skolnik added. “I’ve heard this rap for years. Let’s stop talking about sagging pants, and let’s talk about why we incarcerate 2.2 million people in this country, and why young kids look up to guys who come out of jail. We waged a war against black and brown people forty years ago, the War on Drugs, and it failed miserably, and now we’re reaping the repercussions.”
Lemon shot back—and topped it off with a fatal blow: “Not every black kid is in jail. And there are rules, and people should know where that style comes from, whether it’s a black kid, a white kid, or whether it’s Justin Bieber. That is glorifying prison culture. Who wants to see someone’s butt crack?”
Lemon asked another guest, Larry Elder, to expand on his points; Elder did so, naming Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty as the culprit in black American families' disintegration...and Ronald Reagan as a restorer of employment opportunities for black men.
“We’ve been giving people incentives to marry the government, and allow men to abandon their financial responsibilities,” Elder said. “My dad was a janitor, he worked two full-time jobs as a janitor. He never read Adam Smith, but he also said, ‘I never got a job from a poor person.’”
Lemon wasn't buying it, though: “Larry, you’re gonna have a hard time convincing people that Ronald Reagan is the scion to help African American people. That’s a tough sell.”
Here's Lemon agreeing with O'Reilly and laying out what he believes the black community needs to do to address issues it faces:
And here's the second segment featuring white guest Skolnik taking Lemon to task for criticizing the black community and agreeing with O'Reilly. The exchange comes at the 1:30 mark: