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As I wrote in my last commentary, I think even the NFL could learn from the Mizzou players who stood up for what they believed in.

I also followed that sentence by asking you what you believe in.

The reason I’m asking you again this time is because the only issue I have with what happened at the University of Missouri is their vigorous effort to squash freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

That is a very dangerous road that no one should want to go down.

Just ask the university’s mass media professor Melissa Click who was caught on camera pushing a student journalist’s camera and trying to force him to leave.

Reporter:  “I’m media.  Can I talk to you?

Click:  “No, you need to get out. You need to get out.

Reporter:  “No I don’t.”

Click: “You need to get out.

Reporter:  “No I actually don’t.”

Click: “Hey can you help me get this reporter out of here.  I need some muscle over here. Help me get him out?  Who’s gonna help?”

Student:  “What are you doing over here?”

Reporter:  “I’m documenting.”

Click:  “You need to get out.  You need to get out.”

Reporter: “This is public property.”

Click:  “I know that’s a really good one. I ‘m in communications actually and I really get that argument.  But you need to go, you need to go, you need to go.”

Again, she’s a mass communications professor.

The students then jumped in and started confronting the reporter saying he needed to protect their space, their “safe space” as human beings, and then began yelling at reporters, “hey hey ho ho, reporters have got to go.”

I’m not sure one can blame the students in that situation because they are probably only reflecting what they’re being taught from some of the adults at the university who appear to be encouraging that behavior.

Reportedly the students who organized the protests, including the graduate student who went on a hunger strike, refused to talk to The St. Louis Post Dispatch and some news organizations if they could not control the message and the conversation.

The Twitter account belonging to Concerned Students 1950, the protest organizers, tweeted (quote), “it’s typically white media who don’t understand the importance of respecting black spaces.”

It was followed by (quote), “We truly appreciate having our story told, but this movement isn’t for you.”

Mizzou has one of the most well-respected journalism programs in the country.

Students there should know that in America, a country with a free and open press, that it is dangerous to deny anyone that freedom.

In fact, it’s un-American.

It is also equally as dangerous and limiting and short-sighted to only speak, associate and engage with people or news organizations with whom you agree.

Freedom fighters like Dr. King and Malcom X quite often and on purpose, would run right into the lion’s den to engage with people with whom they didn’t necessarily agree or care for.

Why?

Because they weren’t afraid of confrontation; of being challenged.

They weren’t afraid of being offended.

They weren’t afraid of offending.

They knew the real meaning of freedom of the press, freedom of speech and expression.

Let me be extremely clear here.

Students should be safe from physical harm and threats anywhere; especially on college campuses.

But they should not be coddled by retreating into so-called “safe spaces” because they’re afraid of having their feelings hurt.

If you’re afraid of having your feelings hurt, don’t leave your house.

College is the place where robust debate should be welcomed and vigorously explored.

It is the field trip before the real world.

In the real world people’s feelings are hurt every single day.

No one on my job agrees with everything I say, and guess what, I’m not offended by it.

I expect and even welcome it.

And speaking as a black person in America, considering the history of this country, if anyone should fight tooth and nail for free speech and a free and open press, it should be black people.

Just as you cannot control how people will receive your message, you should not try to control who tells it.

If any one group should know better, it should be black people.

That footage from Bloody Sunday on The Edmund Pettus Bridge near Selma, broadcast nationwide by a free and open press, outraged a country and embarrassed a President to enact expansive legislation that allowed our people to be able to attend that very university where you’re protesting.

The people who got the crap kicked out of them, who were fire hosed and attacked by dogs, and some who even died, did it without the “luxury” of a so-called “safe space.”

The leaders of that movement that propelled us into this moment, did it through wit, grit and wisdom, not through shutting people out.

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14 thoughts on “Don Lemon: Mizzou, “Safe Spaces” Are Not Your Friend

  1. Remarkable issues here. I am very satisfied to
    peer your post. Thank you so much and I am taking a
    look ahead to contact you. Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

  2. Tom's Counscience on said:

    For all of the negativity that Tavis Smiley said about President Obama, I never once doubted his passion for the Black Community. Can’t say the same for Don Lemon. Tom Joyner, you really f&%ked up this time. You are alienating your audience with this a$$hole.

  3. Students Reject Biased, Unobjective Obama/Liberal Democrat Mouthpiece Mainstream Media ABC,CBS,NBC! it should not have been a surprise that the students protested presence of the discredited, distrusted media. Lemon knows from personal experience the effect of lies and distortions by the Mainstream Media ABC, CBS, and NBC. Oct 30, 2015 Mediaite: 32,000 Petition Signers Want CNN to Fire Don Lemon.

  4. Timothy Green on said:

    I think many commentors are missing the Lemons point, you gotta be willing to run up in the lions den & defend your stance if you really wanna push for change, that means don’t be afraid of the fox news ignorant idiots ..cause theyre gonna twist your point even more if you don’t confront their bullshit head to head

  5. Reene Craig on said:

    I wish I was on TJMS text message. I was very upset with the commentary that Don Lemon provided. It goes right with his name SOUR. You are trying to tell us the media is fair? Yes their is freedom of speech but just because you are a journalist I have to talk to you. Take all the pictures you want. It is indeed a public space. So now the media can demand I talk to them like their the police. Don Lemon needs to go. Where is Tavis Smiley at? Does he has his own broadcast. I need to listen to someone who not out of touch.

  6. Someone who remembers when TJMS was about something on said:

    Tom sold us out to get ratings. Why do you think the TJMS is doing this meet every listener tour? He’s losing fans because of stupid ish like this. How dare you think so little of us that you force us to listen to Don Lemon. You fired Tavis for his different opinions and replace him with Don Lemon who is one step above being a reporter for TMZ?!?! Please stop saying this guy is making us think. The only thing he makes me think is that Tom Joyner done lost his mind. But then again, Tom Joyner is an admitted mercenary.

  7. Don you know good d@ well the reason Dr. King had nothing to hide is because he didn’t play games. He would have been marching against racism and ALSO in black neighborhoods telling us to stop murdering robbing and killing our own with drugs!! See these kids knew the media would find out the so called hungry kid is just a rich brat like a lot of the white college kids. He needs to pretend to be black at Mizzou but we know at a HBCU the black students would have called out his phoney azzzz!Fox News is correct these naive brats are going to get a rude awakening when they get into the real world and learn these so called protesters won’t be so protesty when mortgages, kids and bills have to paid so they won’t march out of a job if they suspect racism occurs. Yeah whine pout and demand the company head resign….hahahahahahahaha

  8. dreander on said:

    The same Don Lemon who would deny those opposing gay marriage their freedom of speech are now criticizing the Missouri students. What a hypocrite!
    But let’s not be mad at Don Lemon. Let’s be mad at the person who is giving him the platform to spit on African Americans on black radio. And that is Tom Joyner.
    Tom claims to care about black people but I don’t buy that anymore. He is using us to enrich himself and family. Don Lemon is part of that scam.

  9. Timekeeeper on said:

    I have very mixed feelings about both freedom of speech as well as freedom of the press. And Don Lemon has never proven to be an advocate for the people, instead his is looking out for his fellow journalists.
    Especially when he says College is the place where robust conversations should take place.
    Yeah, tell that to those students at Kent State who were shot and killed for doing that very thing. By the police no less. And Linda makes a very good point as well when she says freedom of speech is not always applied equally. In short, Freedom of anything is always an area of contention when people of color are concerned.

  10. Timothy Green on said:

    Its the way of the world these days, your either a fan or a “hater” & folks are quick to dismiss “haters” even if the hate could be just wanting clarification

  11. Freedom of Speech does not apply to people of color when they pull the covers off of Racist s–t.

    It is then that White folks do not want media coverage or any word of their ugly deeds to be exposed to the world.

    I am very proud of the African American students at U of Missouri for their non-violent but in your face boycott and I hope the environment on campus improves however, I won’t hold my breath since this Cancer is rampantly spreading across other college campuses across Amerykah.

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