CNN Host Don Lemon suggested his own book on Wednesday as a way for white people to learn about grace and accountability in the battle against racism.
“I would recommend a book that comes after that, by this author Don Lemon who says this is the fire that we are in that also talks about accountability and grace at the same time,” Lemon said on CNN’s “New Day.” Lemon’s comment was in response to a Tuesday Las Vegas Raiders tweet saying “I can breathe 4-20-21,” which was posted shortly after a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of third-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter and second-degree unintentional murder in the death of George Floyd.
Floyd died in police custody in May after Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, video footage of the incident shows. Philonise, Floyd’s brother, said Monday that “today we are able to breathe again,” after Chauvin’s guilty verdict, ESPN reported.
Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis told ESPN that the tweet was inspired by Floyd’s brother’s statement. The team received criticism for the tweet, but Davis said the tweet will not be removed as it has been public for a prolonged period, according to the Associated Press.
“I felt that was a powerful statement,” Davis told ESPN. “Today was a day where I can breathe, and we can all breathe again because justice was served.”
“I feel bad it was taken in a way it wasn’t meant to be done,” Davis told the AP. “That can only be my fault for not explaining it.”
Lemon said he wasn’t offended by the Raiders’ tweet as Floyd’s family and supporters were essentially saying the same thing. He said that if a person has a problem with the tweet, the issue should be discussed with Davis to help him understand that the comment was offensive.
“I think we need to give each other a little room to breathe and to be able to have these conversations,” Lemon said. The CNN host said all people must be held responsible for their statements, but we should also work towards solutions.
“So maybe in their response they did something that you didn’t like or you may find offensive in some way, but he didn’t say oh my gosh I can’t believe, you know, the white cop didn’t get off,” Lemon said. “He’s trying, at least he’s trying.”
“I don’t want to castigate someone for at least trying to do the right thing, even if it may be done in ignorance. I don’t think it was harmful,” Lemon said.
Lemon’s book, “This is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism,” applies his work as a reporter and experience as a black man to answer the question of whether we can end racism within our lifetimes, according to the book’s summary.