Don Lemon Fires Back At Critics, ‘Uncle Tom’ Label: What’s Wrong With ‘Telling People To Dress Appropriately?’

CNN’s Don Lemon tonight addressed the controversy raised by his remarks on Saturday in which he voiced his agreement with Bill O’Reilly‘s comments on the black community. Lemon convened another panel to address all the criticism he’s got, including charges that he’s being an “Uncle Tom.” His panelists agreed with him that Lemon wasn’t being condescending, he was just giving some much-needed “tough love” to the African American community.

LZ Granderson told Lemon how he had to explain the to his own son why he shouldn’t go out wearing saggy pants in public, saying that young black man can still express themselves creatively without linking themselves to that history.

RELATED: CNN Guest Rips Don Lemon’s Race Remarks: ‘Sound Like Conservative Preacher, O’Reilly Should Welcome You’

Lemon directly took on the critics of his remarks Saturday.

“What is wrong with telling people to dress appropriately? These are things that I said yesterday that my mom taught me in kindergarten… Dress nicely, speak well, speak appropriately.”

Ana Navarro acknowledged the “Twitter hate” Lemon got for his remarks, adding that “success is not going to be reached by not speaking English correctly” and all Lemon was doing was giving “tough love” and “constructive criticism” to the black community. Lemon defended his other coverage of race in America, touting panels and discussions he’s done on racial privilege, racism, and profiling.

Lemon also brought up the special he did on the n-word a few weeks ago, and explained that he actually got threatened for telling a black mother she shouldn’t use the word to her child. Granderson allowed that there’s a certain level of context that needs to be understood in talking about the n-word, but he said the bottom line is that when people walk around with saggy pants and dropping the n-word, they likely won’t get a good job or a “decent date with anyone worth loving.”

Lemon asked Granderson, “You know what you sound like right now?”

Granderson asked back, “Like a reasonable human being?”

Lemon brought up the “Uncle Tom” moniker that’s been thrown his way. Lemon concluded that the bottom line is that “it’s really just about respecting yourself.” Lemon said, “You have to make a decision at some point that you are going to be better than your surroundings and your circumstances.”

Watch the video below, via CNN:


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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac