I don't know if Don Lemon was just being willfully obtuse here or if he honestly doesn't know anything about the history of the Civil Rights movement in America, but it's segments like this one that make me cringe whenever I see him on television.
CNN host Don Lemon was perplexed by the violence that erupted in Ferguson after the St. Louis County grand jury decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson, and turned to Rev. Jesse Jackson for an explanation.
"It went in front of our legal and judicial process and the outcome was the outcome and we must abide by it. The lawlessness and the violence is really -- it should not have happened and there should be no excuses made for it," Lemon said to Jackson on Tuesday morning.
Jackson explained that while he does not approve of violence, the Ferguson community is in a lot of pain.
"There is a body of people who after a long train of abuses, Don, people simply explode," he said.
Lemon remained focused on the violence and looting following the grand jury's decision, and continued to ask Jackson why some people failed to remain peaceful.
"The whole thing starts with an unarmed teenager shot in his own neighborhood six times and left to rot in the street in the sun for four and a half hours. That is the beginning of the origins. The origin didn't start with looting, it started with shooting," Jackson responded. "Therefore both violence must end on both sides. Then we might move toward tranquility."
Lemon then asked multiple times how Jackson could "make excuses" for looters in Ferguson.
"I don't want to speak for you, that you're making excuses for the bad doers," the CNN host said. "So what do you want to leave with people? What is your message going forward?"
"I am not making excuses going forward. I'm giving an analysis that compounded injustice leads to anarchy and justice leads to peace," Jackson answered. "I am fundamentally an advocate of non-violence but I understand how pain plays out when it's compounded, and it is a long train of abuses."
And as they discussed, here's how Jackson responded after Lemon suggested that there wasn't any violence or rioting during back in the 60's.
LEMON: Reverend, listen, part of your legacy is that you marched with Dr. King peacefully, non-violent protests. Most of those protests were during the day, and they were even in the teeth of the most terrifying odds, as James Baldwin says, even in the most obstinate opposition, they still - you and Dr. King remained peaceful. What has changed in our culture and our society that people result -- resort to things that played out here last night in Ferguson?
JACKSON: You do know that when Dr. King was alive we had the Watts riot and the Newark riot and the Detroit riot and Chicago. And there was a comprehensive reset of that - it determined that a body of pain and fuel of poverty which is a weapon of mass destruction precipitated by police action triggered those riots and that police behavior should -- the police should have blacks and whites, men and women to be credible.
They should reflect in the judges, Don, as well. But beyond that, the issue of unemployment, unemployment for blacks is three times the national rate. That matters. Blacks are ten times more likely to be arrested. That matters.
And for juries to look in the face of killed young blacks and say that juror was justified in letting them go free, that's a bitter pill to swallow. I hope that we will have enough rational sense to speak above our pain and be non- violent, and be disciplined, but also be consistent, and persistent and be (INAUDIBLE) in our outrage until we get some relief from Congress and the White House to relieve our misery.