CNN anchor Don Lemon was visibly emotional on Thursday after President Obama announced a new initiative, “My Brother’s Keeper,” aimed at helping black and Hispanic youths to graduate from high school and train for careers. On Friday, Lemon continued talking about President Obama’s comments, telling fellow CNN anchor Carol Costello that he “became the black president” in that moment.
Costello said, “It sounds like a great program. But Don, as you well know, it takes more than money and programs to solve racism.” She asked, “Do you think the president will continue to be vocal, to be blunt, since his term is ending?”"Is this a time to be America’s black president?” she asked.
Don Lemon said he wrote a column Thursday on that theme. He said the president “has been criticized about this – it came a little bit too late, whatever. That doesn’t matter.” Lemon added, “Yes, he became the black president, and not in a bad way.”
“When the auto industry needed help the most, he bailed them out. That did not mean he was president just for autoworkers. When financiers needed help, it didn’t mean he was just president for Wall Street. He realized at that particular moment that this particular group needs my help. And that’s why I said he became the black president, and that’s not such a bad thing. I think he realized that these young men are ultimately his legacy.”
Don Lemon’s comments come at Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly went in on Valerie Jarrett about the ‘gangsta culture.’ He asked Jarrett to tell ‘gangsta rappers’ like Jay Z and Kanye West to knock it off. He urged her to say their behavior is wrong if the White House really wants to improve minority communities:
“They idolize these guys with the hats on backwards, and the terrible rap lyrics and the drug and all of that,” he continued, adding that high-profile figures need to hammer young people with that message to “reverse the peer pressure.”
O’Reilly also challenged First Lady Michelle Obama to come on “The Factor” and tell teenage girls “You stop having sex. You stop getting pregnant. This is wrong.” Source: Talking Points Memo
Of course, the usual chorus of right wing haters didn’t let this moment pass without giving their two cents. Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin attacked the President’s new initiative saying it was as bad as Arizona’s anti-gay bill, SB 1062, which was vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer on Wednesday. Never mind the fact that young black and Hispanic men are disproportionately imprisoned and impoverished. Ms. Rubin accused Obama of “hyping” racial differences that would cause divisions by using “victimhood as a political weapon.” Really? She also wrote “In any event, it’s insipid to suggest one’s ‘brother’ for whom you should look after is defined by skin color or ethnic background.” Um, whatever….