Racially Charged Generalizations of the People of Ferguson
Don Lemon sparked outrage all throughout his reporting of Ferguson, Missouri, but nothing stood out quite as much as his comment that there was an obvious scent of marijuana in the air.
“Obviously, there is the smell of marijuana in the air,” the CNN reporter said during the live coverage.
Immediately, social media users and prominent Black figures slammed Lemon for the racist and inaccurate generalization against his own race.
Russell Simmons tweeted, “Anderson Cooper/CNN reporters putting this in perspective “almost everyone is peaceful”…Don lemon “obviously I smell Marijuana” wtf.”
Others shared images of charts and statistics to remind Lemon, along with their own followers, that nothing about a marijuana smell should be “obvious” or expected simply because someone is in a predominantly Black neighborhood. Studies show that white people and Black people actually use marijuana at roughly the same rate, and young white people tend to use it more than young Black people.
His Shouting Match with Hip-Hop Star Talib Kweli Over White Supremacy Ruling Media
In another disastrous report from Ferguson, Don Lemon hosted a chaotic interview with hip-hop star and activist Talib Kweli after he tried to explain why the media’s coverage of Ferguson wasn’t accurate. Kweli made it clear that he didn’t believe the news reporters had malice intentions but that the white supremacy that runs the media industry resulted in skewed headlines that suggested protesters were the ones antagonizing police officers. In the middle of Kweli trying to make his point, Lemon interrupts him several times, which ultimately resulted in a shouting match between the two. The fact that he got into the argument wasn’t necessarily the biggest issue. The part that was the most problematic was the simple fact that Lemon was defending the coded language being used by mainstream media, CNN included, in order to portray a majority of peaceful protesters as out-of-control rioters.