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The summer of 2014 was the summer of unrest.

Even those of us who were in the trenches in Ferguson covering the protests, marches and the violence, had no idea that all of the aforementioned would become such a significant part of the public consciousness.

What to do about confrontations between the police and black people has barely steered far from the headlines.

Even presidential candidates have to react to it on the campaign trail.


“The fact is that we have too many instances where we have young black. Here in South Carolina we had Walter Scott in North Charleston.  We had a young white teen I believe who was unarmed and killed in police action here in South Carolina.”


“The fact is that we have a criminal justice system that is broken, that there is something very wrong when African Americans here in South Carolina and around the country get nervous about walking down the street or going into their car.  That should not be happening here when we have some idea of how to deal with that.”

From the campaign trail to popular culture, the hit ABC television show, “Blackish” took on the subject apologetically last night.

I was lucky and honored to be a part of it.

Lemon: “It appears a decision about the indictment has been made. It’s about to be announced.”

Characters: “What’s an indictment? Oh ok well it seems as if some people that were supposed to protect us didn’t do the right thing. But it doesn’t happen very often. It happens all the time. It doesn’t happen very often. But this time it did, and if it did then they’re going to get in trouble. So the cops are the bad guys? Yes. No. Some of them are. Well it’s a grey area. Charcoal grey. Basically black.”

In the special, extended episode of “Blackish”, the Johnson family is gathered around the television watching the news where an announcement is about to be made regarding an indictment or non indictment a police officer accused of shooting and killing an unarmed black man.

The episode focuses on these very difficult conversations occur in the home of a black family with young people as members.

The family, like most families, is not in agreement on how often and how big of a problem police abuse is among African Americans.

The episode took me back to, not so long ago, when I was out on the streets of Ferguson, getting jostled and tear gassed, along with my CNN colleague Marc Lamont Hill.

Last night on my CNN Show I asked him if he or anyone else could have predicted just how much this subject would take center stage in American politics.

“Conventional wisdom would say no it wouldn’t be. But I thought it would only because I have an abiding faith in the people and I saw this marvelous new militancy strike up on August 9th, 2014. And I saw young people mobilize, and galvanize and organize. And it’s because young people have resisted and we’ve rebelled in Baltimore, in Ferguson and all over the country. That we have a spotlight here, that Black Lives Matter is a chant, a call and a rallying cry for this political election. And I hope it continues.”

He’s right.

Whatever we predicted or didn’t, from the streets to the campaign trail to the sitcom, the subject of black people and police abuse is a subject whose time has come.

And for those of us of a certain age, we know that there is no stopping anything when it’s time has come.

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10 thoughts on “Don Lemon: Sitcom Takes On Police and Race – Boldly and Blackish!

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  2. Timekeeeper on said:

    I applaud this TV show for having the courage to tackle this subject. They weren’t trying to give any answers, just to say, It Is Out there. Unfortunately, like some of these posts indicate it can bring out the worst feelings in some. People have a tendency to hunker down in their own beliefs and no one wins these arguments.

    • specialt757 on said:

      I actually fell asleep watching this show as I always do, so I record the series. Last night I got to the part where Andre’s mom was cooking plain white rice, no salt or butter for the family, hilarious (actually her and the grandfather are the funniest characters). But I agree, we as a nation, especially within our own community are divided on the issue of police brutality against blacks. Some want to argue that blacks care nothing about blacks killing blacks (which couldn’t be further from the truth) as if that‘s the answer to why police kill and brutalize unarmed blacks. But whatever, the 1st amendment applies to all. I didn’t particularly enjoy what I saw, but I understand the need. There was no consensus but a well needed discussion. I guess there is no right or wrong feeling, you feel what you feel and that’s it.

    • Timothy Green on said:

      Nancy does that poll account for the fact blacks are a smaller segment of the population?? … & yes Jhuf your correct we do sit silently as we slaughter ourselves in places like Chicago but are quick to get in an uproar when an individual, frequently involved in questionable activity, is killed by an officer, there’s no excuse for us doing that

      • Nancy Cruz on said:

        Yes … takes into account the ratios and percentages, especially violent crime encounters

        By the way, I am no fan of the cops and believe a large segment are roided up and assholes

  3. Men of color care nothing about men of color death toll from B on B violence dwarfs that
    of police killing black criminals yet we throw shade on that fact to focus elsewhere

  4. Timothy Green on said:

    Lumping all police involved killings of minorities into the same bucket does us all a diservice, Laquan Mcdonald & Micheal Brown were out “looking for trouble” when their encounters with the police occurred & while the outcomes were definitely heinous acts of extreme over uses of force by police to lump them into the same boat as Sandra Bland & Eric Garner gives people a “easy justification” to dismiss the police officers actions as necessary to a degree. There’s no magical answer so simply saying that “Pigs are racist & out to murder blacks” is an easy response that frequently is borderline foolishness, many are biased indeed which a different issue in & of itself because everyone has biases

  5. Society cares NOTHING for men of color which is why there as been a significant spike in POLICE BRUTALITY!!!!!!

    This is in addition to RACIST law enforcement officers across this country.

    In all of the senseless killings of civilians by PIGS–Eric Garner, Michael Brown, LaQuan McDonald,
    Sandra Bland and so many others-if the incidents had only been handled differently, none of these
    people would have lost their lives at the hands of those who are supposed to PROTECT & SERVE!!!!

    Until Pigs can see all of us as HUMAN BEINGS and nothing less–the beatdowns and MURDERS
    will continue!!!!!

    • Nancy Cruz on said:

      Where are you getting your facts that police brutality has increased? The cops are actually doing less, particularly in minority communities out of fear of reprisal

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