by Yvette Carnell
Earlier today, I shared how deflating it was to watch a bemused Don Lemon gush over President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative yesterday on air, while reporting for CNN:
CNN’s Don Lemon, who went out of his way to cosign Fox News Bill O’Reilly’s pathologizing of black culture, and recently gave his blessing to the NYPD’s stop and frisk program, was front and center, choking up at President Obama having offered a helping hand to black boys. It was irksome to watch these two black men, Obama and Lemon, who’ve so vastly misunderstood how, with their finger wagging rhetoric, they’ve both been used as tools to thwart the forward momentum of any legislative action that could have actually provided a solid foundation for black youth.
If you haven’t had a chance to listen to Lemon explain himself, listen now:
According to Lemon, Obama became a black president yesterday. In Lemon’s mind, President Obama fulfilled his promise to black people, and walked into his melanin casing by becoming Fundraiser-In-Chief. Lemon, as usual, isn’t at his best when he’s attempting to digest political outcomes or implications.
Think about it: Why couldn’t Obama’s initiative have been paired with a legislative effort? Even if Obama had lost, it wouldn’t have appeared that he was depending solely on private money to help African American boys. Defeat is something I can stomach. Losing your will to fight? Not so much.
Young black men need a champion in the White House. And even though they’ve had a black man as president over the past six years, they’ve never had a president who has governed with them in mind. What can Obama do now? He can fight for the comprehensive economic recovery act that he didn’t fight for in 2009, with key provisions which fund black youth. Win or lose, he should make the case and take it to America , especially considering the impact that the minimum wage economy is having on all Americans. If that doesn’t work, then he can do his charity thingy post 2016. But win or lose, he should fight for us.
But there’s also something even more dangerous here, slithering around the edges unnoticed. What lies ahead once charity becomes viewed as an adequate substitute for government intervention? This is what Umair Haque describes as neofeudalism, where we all exist at the kindness of wealthy benefactors. It is the supplanting of gov’t at the behest of privatization.
What you see with Obama, and to a lesser extent Cory Booker, is the handing over of government responsibility to private charity and enterprise. That is something that Lemon and other members of the press peanut gallery haven’t even touched upon.