/  06.18.2021

Don Lemon is not here for critics of critical race theory. During a conversation with fellow CNN host Chris Cuomo, he took the time to address all individuals who are opposed to having critical race theory courses in schools.

Hours after President Joe Biden signed the bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, the late night talk show hosts discussed the importance of the day, which many have just become aware of in recent years. The chat made for a seamless transition into another topic: the significance of teaching critical race theory.

The subject — which was reportedly developed in the 1970s — explains that systemic racism stems from a history in which white people declared their superiority by enslaving Black people.

As the fight for social justice and equality continues, however, states like Texas, Florida and Oklahoma have passed bills banning critical race theory in schools. Lemon believes that the critics’ opposition displays their “privilege.”

“That’s the whole thing about what privilege is — that people don’t like to have their pleasure interrupted, their peace interrupted,” he said. “So people think that it should be the way that it should be because they’ve been taught that in this country.” He countered claims that the lessons would make white people feel bad with questions about how Black people should feel when slavery is taught in schools.

“You don’t think that telling them people were beaten and sold and lynched makes them feel bad?” Lemon asked. “Having people come to the realization, especially ancestors of slaves, that they were enslaved and that they were beaten, and they were sold and they weren’t able to accrue wealth, they weren’t able to go to school, they weren’t able to go vote — you think that makes them feel good?

“So the folks on the other side, stop making it about you, and be curious instead of judgmental.” 

Ultimately, Lemon expressed that Juneteenth and other real occurrences in Black history should be included in school curriculums.

“[We] need to speak to the right, the people who want to commemorate this or don’t think that the full history of our country should be taught in schools,” he said. “All of it should be taught. There were many more people who contributed to the beginnings of this country, to making this country what it is, than just one group of people — and the history needs to be told by many people. There are more voices.”


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