CNN anchor Don Lemon broke down crying Thursday on his show “Tonight” after his Cornel West got emotional calling for Black folk to intervene if they witness a police incident like the one that resulted in the death of George Floyd.
West said, “When you talk about brother George Perry Floyd Jr., you’re talking about a human being. About a precious son of George Perry Floyd Sr. sr. and precious Larcenia Jones Floyd. You are talking about what it means to open yourself to get beyond the stereotypes and acknowledge that for the first, nearly 100 years, America failed only question. Didn’t stay in contact with the humanity of young people. You enslaved us. You tortured us. You tried barbarized us, and we responded with making your democracy better with more love, more freedom.”
He continued, “Do we have what it takes to really acknowledge the rich humanity of black folk to treat us fairly, like human beings? Because if not, you’re going to lose your democracy. You’re going under. You’re going fascist. If it wasn’t for Black Voters, especially Black women voters, you would have gone fascist under the gangster named Trump.”
He added, “I telling you, brother, if the police can’t do it, we have to do it ourselves. I’ll tell you this, too. Let me add one thing, brother. I thought, brother George. I thought about my brother, and I thought about my father, and I thought about my grandfather. I’m not going to stand there for no 9 minutes and 29 seconds and watch somebody murder my father. No, no! Uh-uh, no, no, no. Martin Luther King Jr. talked about pacifism. I believe in nonviolence, but I’m not going to watch that kind of murder. I love my brother Charles McMillian. That is why he was crying. That what his tears were about. He felt helpless. We are not going to do that. Some of us Black folk, some of us Black men, we are not going on stand there. We are going to have to intervene in some way. You aren’t going to kill us like that, and we remain spectators.”
Referencing Lemon’s book “This Is the Fire,” West said, “Somewhere I read, silence is not an option. I don’t stand with the silence. That’s the last two sentences of your letter to Drew, your letter to your nephew. But America needs to understand that, too. We’ve got to self-respect. We’ve got to self-defense. We intervene when you start killing us like that.”
Crying and holding his face, Lemon said, “I’m sorry.”
West said, “We intervene out of love, brother.”
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