Start With the Man in the Mirror, Don Lemon

The CNN anchor's "tough talk" fails to reflect what's really going on in the black community.

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At the brunch, one of the attendees -- a woman, like so many in the room, who is at the forefront of her career -- told a story about seeing another woman in need of help. She watched from the sidewalk as a mother struggled with a diaper-less toddler clearly in need of a bathroom who was seconds away from going right there on the crowded and hot sidewalk. Instead of shaking her head in disgust or going on a Twitter rant about "these people," she offered her aid. There was a restroom in a store not too far away, she told the struggling mom. Could she help her get there?

That's what looking in a mirror is like. Seeing another person, who might not be perfect but who in the end is a reflection of you. What Lemon did on his show -- wagging his finger at all the pants-sagging, littering, unwed high school dropouts -- was a mutation of truth telling. He was nothing more than a tattletale, pointing excitedly to all the things his brothers and sisters are doing wrong in the hopes of what? A reward? A pat on the back? A seat at Bill O'Reilly's table?

As we continue to have "real" discussions on race in America, shouldn't we begin first by looking in the mirror?

Helena Andrews is a contributing editor at The Root and author of Bitch Is the New Black, a memoir in essays. Follow her on Twitter.

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