Terry Crews vs. Don Lemon on Black Lives Matter: "Black People Need To Hold Other Black People Accountable" | Video | RealClearPolitics

Terry Crews vs. Don Lemon on Black Lives Matter: "Black People Need To Hold Other Black People Accountable"

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CNN's Don Lemon and actor Terry Crew debated the purpose of Black Lives Matter and the backlash over his recent tweets that BLM should be more focused on black-on-black crime on Monday. Lemon said BLM is about police brutality, not gun violence in the black community and if Crews wants to make that an issue he should start his own group called "All Black Lives Matter." The CNN host said incorporating that concern in BLM would be "apples and oranges" to what the movement is about.

"You know, this is the thing, Don. You know, black people need to hold other black people accountable. I said the same thing -- this is the black America's version of the Me Too Movement. If anything is going to change, we, ourselves, need to look at our own communities and look at each other and say, this thing cannot go down," Crews said.

"This is the thing, too," Crews continued. "There are a lot of great, great people there who are held hostage, who are held hostage by people who literally are running these neighborhoods with violence, and then claiming that black lives matter."


"When you look at the parents of these little kids who are mentioning and saying, hey, man, why aren't they speaking up for me, too?" Crews asked. "When I look at this whole thing about -- you know, it's about who is controlling the narrative. It's got to be all Black Lives Matter. And what's happened is that because I even challenged it, because I even questioned or -- and warned people, I became -- like, if I told you to wear a mask."

"The Black Lives Matter movement was started because it was talking about police brutality," Lemon said. "If you want Black Lives Matter movement that talks about gun violence in communities, including black communities, then start that movement with that name. But that's not what Black Lives Matter is about. It's not an all-encompassing. So if you are talking about -- if someone started a movement that said cancer matters, and then someone comes and says, why aren't you talking about HIV? It's not the same thing. We're talking about cancer."

"So the Black Lives Matter movement is about police brutality and injustice in that manner, not about what is happening in black neighborhoods. There are people who are working on that issue. And if you want to start that issue, why don't you start it? Do you understand what I'm saying?" Lemon asked Crews.

"But when you look at the organization, police brutality is not the only thing they are talking about," Crews responded.

Transcript of the debate:

LEMON: All right, everybody, please listen to this segment because actor and activist Terry Crews is facing backlash for tweeting, "We must ensure 'Black Lives Matter' doesn't morph into 'black lives are better.'

Here is how he explained it. "Are all white people bad? No. Are all black people good? No. Knowing this reality, I stand on my decision to unite with good people, no matter the race, creed or ideology. I have given the number of threats against this decision. I also decide do die on this hill."

Terry Crews joins me now. Terry, man, you stepped in it.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: You say that you're willing to.

TERRY CREWS, ACTOR: Yeah.

LEMON: You say you're willing to die on this hill. You have taken a lot of heat for this. Explain what you are thinking and why it's so important that you die on this hill?

CREWS: Well, again, I wanted to bring up the fact that, you know, there are some very, very, you know, militant-type forces in Black Lives Matter. And what I was issuing was a warning. You know, it's one of those things where I have been a part of different groups, I've been a part of different things, and you see how extremes can really get, can go far and go wild.

And then when you issue a warning, and when a warning is seen as detrimental to the movement, how can you ever, ever have checks and balances? You know, in the 60s and 70s, airplanes went down all the time. And the reason they found out why they did was because the pilots could never be questioned.

CREWS: And when you have the leaders of the black lives movement, who are now talking about, you know, if we don't get our demand, we are going to burn it down.

Other black people who are talking about working with other whites and other races, being viewed as sell-outs or called Uncle Toms, it starts -- you start to understand that you are now being controlled. You're not being treated as loved. You're actually being controlled. Someone wants to control the narrative.

And I viewed it as a very, very dangerous self-righteousness that was developing, that, you know, that really viewed themselves as better. It was almost a supremacist move --

LEMON: Let me jump in.

CREWS: -- where they view that -- their black lives mattered a lot more than mine.

LEMON: OK. So, let me jump in here. There's a lot that you said. You think that Black Lives Matter is -- you said it's -- you think it's an extreme movement? Because it's now part of the --

CREWS: No. This is the thing. It's a great mantra. It's the true mantra. Black lives do matter. But, when you're talking about an organization, you're talking about the leaders. You are talking about the people who are responsible --

LEMON: OK, I got you. I got you. I got you.

CREWS: -- for putting these things together, two different things.

LEMON: Terry, you realize that even during the civil rights movement, that Dr. King was seen as extreme. That movement was seen as extreme. To people who don't want to make change, movements are seen as extreme. You can paint them easily as an extreme when they are not.

CREWS: This is very true. But also, you know, when you're talking about MLK, you're talking about Nelson Mandela, and even Malcolm X, they all realized that you had to have a non-racial component to these kind of movements or there will be resentment. There will be a get back. There will be -- one of these people will tend to say I don't want to move from one oppressor to the next. And one thing --

LEMON: Who's the next oppressor? Who is the next oppressor?

CREWS: When I -- when I describe this. When you look at the city of Chicago, there are nine children who died by gun violence, by black- on-black gun violence, with -- from June 20th all the way to today. And you talking about, even with the Atlanta child murders, there were 28 kids who died in two years. You're talking about a month and you have nine black kids. And the Black Lives Matter movement has said nothing about this kind of thing.

LEMON: What does that have to do with equality, though, Terry? I don't understand what that has to do with equality because -- listen, there's crime. There are people in those communities who -- those people aren't just being nonchalant about gun violence. I lived in Chicago. There are many people who are working in those communities to try to get rid of the gun violence. The gun culture in this country is prevalent.

But I don't understand what that has to do with a movement that's for equality for black people. It's not mutually exclusive that you care about equality for black people that somehow you are going to stop random violence or unfortunately, kids from being shot. It just seems like apples and oranges.

CREWS: You know, it's not that way. You know, this is the thing, Don. You know, black people need to hold other black people accountable. I said the same thing -- this is the black America's version of the Me Too Movement. If anything is going to change, we, ourselves, need to look at our own communities and look at each other and say, this thing cannot go down.

This is the thing, too. There are a lot of great, great people there who are held hostage, who are held hostage by people who literally are running these neighborhoods with violence, and then claiming that black lives matter.

When you look at the parents of these little kids who are mentioning and saying, hey, man, why aren't they speaking up for me, too? When I look at this whole thing about -- you know, it's about who is controlling the narrative. It's got to be all Black Lives Matter. And what's happened is that because I even challenged it, because I even questioned or -- and warned people, I became -- like, if I told you to wear a mask.

LEMON: I get it. Terry, you're a high-profile person. You're writing things out there. You know you're going to get backlash. You know people are going to respond to what you are saying on Twitter. So I don't think you should be surprised by that. You know, I have skin as tough as an armadillo because of what I do. I think maybe you should adapt that.

But here -- here's what I have to say. The Black Lives Matter movement was started because it was talking about police brutality. If you want Black Lives Matter movement that talks about gun violence in communities, including black communities, then start that movement with that name.

LEMON: But that's not what Black Lives Matter is about. It's not an all-encompassing. So if you are talking about -- if someone started a movement that said cancer matters, and then someone comes and says, why aren't you talking about HIV? It's not the same thing. We're talking about cancer.

So the Black Lives Matter movement is about police brutality and injustice in that manner, not about what is happening in black neighborhoods. There are people who are working on that issue. And if you want to start that issue, why don't you start it? Do you understand what I'm saying?

CREWS: But when you look at the organization, police brutality is not the only thing they are talking about.

LEMON: I know that. I agree. But that's not what the Black Lives Matter movement is about, Terry. Black Lives Matter is about police brutality and about criminal justice. It's not about what happens in communities when it comes to crime, black-on-black crime, people who live near each other, black people kill each other. It is same as whites. Eighty-some percent of white people are killed by white people because of proximity.

CREWS: Very true.

LEMON: It is the same thing with black people. It happens in every single neighborhood. But again, I'm not saying it's not important that those kids died, but it's a different movement.

CREWS: Listen, I understand what you're saying. I totally understand. It is about police brutality. That should never be accepted. I am not saying that that's not it. But they are -- there's more there. And when I look -- if they have more on their agenda, we need to ask them about what else is on that agenda, other than police brutality. And that's all I'm doing -- questioning, warning, and watching. And if that bothers you now, that bothers me.

LEMON: I'm over. I'm over, Terry.

CREWS: We're equal. I should be able to say something truthful.

LEMON: I got to go, Terry. I got to go. I got to go. We'll see you. Terry, thank you for coming on. I appreciate it. Thanks, everybody, for watching. I'll see you. Thank you. Our coverage continues.
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