CNN’s Don Lemon hosted a town-hall meeting Tuesday night, with a number of viewers as well as black leaders. The episode was called “Black and White in America.” Following a question about what sort of precautions and checks could be added to prevent something like the shooting of Mike Brown and the massive militarized response from the police, one guest suggested that officers be forced to wear cameras on their person while on-duty.
The guest made the point that if you have a camera on in the green room back stage it will dramatically change the interaction between the people. The same could be said of the police force, and the guest suggested it might help change the type of people who choose to become law enforcement officials.
Don Lemon then shared a story one of his producers – who is white – had during an interaction with a member of the Missouri National Guard, who were sent in to “support local authorities” by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon:
“I’m just going to be honest with you. Last night, one of my producers said that they — I won’t say if it’s a he or she, because I don’t want to give anyone away — said they came in contact with one of the members of the National Guard and that they said, ‘You want to get out of here because you’re white, because these n-words, you never know what they’re going to do.’ True story. I kid you not. 2014, a member of the National Guard. And my producer doesn’t lie. It is a true story.”
These are the people called in to “restore order.” These are supposed to be the arbiters to cool tensions and take over for local authorities who are out of control. And yet, they too, are clearly imbued with the racism that is endemic to our society.
You can watch the segment of the CNN town hall here: http://www.mediaite.com/tv/cnns-don-lemon-national-guard-used-n-word-to-describe-ferguson-protesters/#ooid=dpOWZxbzqLUbhT7J9Mzt9ow9BA3aAw6U