CNN's Lemon to Guest: You're White, You Can't Understand

CNN's Lemon to Guest: You're White, You Can't Understand

CNN’s Don Lemon had Dallas radio host Ben Ferguson to discuss President Barack Obama’s remarks about racial profiling as it pertains to the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case. When Ferguson suggested that some women felt concerned for their safety when men of any race were near them in certain circumstances. Lemon retorted that because of  Ferguson’s “white privilege” he couldn’t possible understand: 

Ferguson: “I have seen women, when I go to my parking garage every day, they are nervous when they are by themselves, regardless of the age or the man that’s around them because they’re in a vulnerable situation. That’s not only during issues of race.”

Lemon: “If you think it’s equal. ], and I don’t mean to call names, but I think you’re sadly naive.”

Ferguson: “Are you saying Don, that every woman in America that’s white is automatically, 100% of the time terrified of an African American man in any one of these situations, but they would not be terrified if it was a white or Hispanic man? That’s an incredibly broad brush. That’s what you’re implying–“

Lemon: “That’s not what I’m implying, that’s what you’re hearing. I’m telling you my experience, the president’s telling you about his experience. And you’re saying that we’re not having that experience. Who are you to tell us we’re not having that experience, when you’re not living it? You’re not in our bodies. It’s insulting for you to say, ‘No that’s not happening.’ You don’t live as a black man, you don’t know that.”

The remarkable interview may be a first for CNN or broadcast journalism, in general. A host debating an issue with a guest reaches the point where he diminishes his guest’s perspective and opinion as “sadly naive” solely based on the fact that his race protects him from having  an informed opinion. Imagine a news anchor (that’s what CNN calls Lemon) like Shep Smith or David Gregory, debating an issue with a guest and dismissing his opinion because he’s black. 

Lemon finished by explaining to Ferguson that his “white privilege” was prohibiting him from understanding the issue: 

“You have a certain entitlement as a white person that people of color don’t have. You don’t see that? You’re filtering through a place of privilege that you don’t understand. Your privilege does not allow you to see certain biases and certain circumstances in society.”

Watch the segment here: 


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