CNN Tonight host Don Lemon passionately spoke out about how being an African-American man in the U.S. has affected his interactions with the police. He made the comments while live on CNN Thursday during a roundtable discussion on the recent police shootings of two black men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.
After stating that he is exceedingly polite to any police officer with whom he interacts, Lemon said, “I shouldn’t have to do that, I shouldn’t have to be ‘Yes, sir’-ing anybody. I’m a grown-you-know-what man in America.”
He continued: “I do it because I want to stay alive; that’s why I do it. My white counterparts, they don’t do that. They speak to police officers in a way that I would never in a million years do, and that is the reality of it. I have to do that because I want to stay alive.”
Lemon added that it’s ridiculous since he isn’t someone who disobeys the law. “As accomplished as I am, and a man of color on television who is recognizable to many people, I have to do that because I don’t want to be shot and I don’t want to be killed,” Lemon said. “And I am someone who is never in trouble.”
When fellow panelist David Katz, CEO of Global Security Group, chimed in to say that he tells his children to be polite to the police as well, Lemon responded to say that’s also something that Castile’s mother had taught her son. “That’s what the guy in Minnesota, they said his mother said,” Lemon explained. “She taught him the same thing, and he is dead today.”
Watch the full video below.