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Will Don Lemon Be Canceled for What Was Just Spotted Behind Him During CNN Segment?

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On Dec. 31, somewhere around 8 p.m. on the East Coast, the talking heads on CNN stop getting outraged and start getting drunk.

Yes, in a tradition even difficulties of 2020 couldn’t stop from happening, CNN’s New Year’s Eve sloppy merriment went on as usual. Shots of vodka! Double entendres! Anything goes!

Hopefully nothing serious ever happens late on New Year’s Eve, because Brooke Baldwin trying to pronounce “Azerbaijan” after a civilian airliner gets shot down over its airspace will be a tragicomic meme the network will never be able to live down.

Things were a bit different this year and hosts weren’t at massive parties throughout the United States, as per usual. Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen still anchored the night from a mostly empty Times Square, but Don Lemon was in at home with Brooke Baldwin, the CNN host he’s usually paired with for the New Year.

The thing with watching Lemon’s segments on New Year’s Eve is to spot the exact moment his BAC hits 0.15. Usually, it’s when he makes mistakes like thinking a reporter from local TV station was a former girlfriend. (That relationship took place, one assumed, before Lemon was openly gay.)

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That was in New Orleans in 2018. This year, the shoot was done from Lemon’s kitchen presumably so there could be frequent ministrations from the cooking sherry.

Because it was in Lemon’s kitchen, however, his blood alcohol content wasn’t exactly what people spotted. Instead, it was this:

That’s what’s known as a “mammy jar” — a form of ceramic jar with a female blackface character, popular in the Old South for reasons you might be able to deduce.

“The mammy stereotype portrays black women as obedient maids to white families,” The New York Times’ Elisha Brown wrote in a 2019 piece.

“Like blackface, racist objects such as mammy jars perpetuate deep-rooted stereotypes about African-Americans by portraying them as docile, dumb and animated. But some white families view these objects as keepsakes, passed down through generations as relics of the past.”

“They were everyday objects which portrayed black people as ugly, different and fun to laugh at,” David Pilgrim, founder of the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Michigan’s Ferris State University, told The Times.

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“They were, in a word, propaganda.”

This was partially in the context of Grace Coddington, a now-former creative director for Vogue magazine, being photographed for an article in a French magazine with the ceramics in her home:

The photographer for that piece, according to The Times, said he was “ashamed and embarrassed” and “sorry for my mistake and the hurt it caused.”

(It was unclear exactly why a photographer would feel it necessary to apologize for taking pictures of things that were actually in a room he was photographing.)

It wasn’t just one Twitterer noticing Lemon’s “mammy jar”:

And how embarrassing, too, when his ideological fulminator BFF — Chris Cuomo — delivered an impassioned speech in the wake of the Megyn Kelly blackface “scandal” two years ago, in which Kelly didn’t defend blackface or don it herself but merely said it was considered acceptable when she was a child. Bam:

Ah, but there’s always that standby crutch: reclamation.

A reminder to whom? An insanely well-remunerated CNN host? Who’s to say others aren’t offended, particularly when someone of privilege displays this artifact which The New York Times points out “perpetuate[s] deep-rooted stereotypes about African-Americans by portraying them as docile, dumb and animated?”

Can viewers be trusted to understand context?

Expecting the hyper-woke to ask these questions of Lemon when they’d raise them in other situations is like expecting to get a unicorn as your next Uber ride, however.

Remember that when Megyn Kelly merely mentioned  the specter of blackface on her show, it was canceled three days later.

Should Don Lemon face a reprimand for this?

Meanwhile, Democrat Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel have all actually donned blackface, but that’s been long forgotten — because they exhibit Correct Belief™.

Don’t expect anyone to pay attention to Lemon’s mammy jar or reprimand him for having a piece of racist memorabilia on his kitchen counter.

They’ll still be more concerned with how much he drank. Or, for that matter, the green bell pepper.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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