on thursday CNN this morningCo-host Don Lemon picked up the story of a racist video from Philadelphia mocking high school girls’ Black History Month and used it in a horribly biased way to pontificate against the education policies of Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis.
And, although he set up the piece that the girls involved were in high school, he later falsely claimed they were in college and suggested they might not have behaved so badly if they had learned about black history in high school.
Lemon set up the segment by asking viewers to “just sit down and watch it and take it in and try to figure out exactly what’s going on here”: A Video of a racist incident has gone viral online, sparking protests and at least two suspensions at a Philadelphia high school. The video — part of it there — shows a girl splashing black paint on another girl’s face Commenting on Black History Month.“
Reporter Jean Cassarez showed the disgusting video to audience questions, which shows a group of girls with blurred faces (but who appear white) spray painting a second girl’s face while making a mocking comment about Black History Month with a spray.
The CNN reporter told viewers that the two girls attend a Catholic school and that copies of the video were allegedly sent to several black students at the school, even though the incident did not take place on school property. He read a statement from the school that the girls had been suspended.
Instead of focusing on the racist nature of these students and questioning how they were raised to do such a thing, sad Lemon took the opportunity to lecture Governor DeSantis about black history education:
I hope Ron DeSantis is watching and paying attention. I hope that people are saying that we shouldn’t — we should just teach certain aspects of our history. There’s nothing funny about Black History Month because that’s what we should be learning — the importance of Black History Month because these kids think it’s a joke.
Although he previously acknowledged that the girls were in high school, the CNN host then suggested they were in college:
And that’s probably because they didn’t learn it before they went to college, and maybe they wouldn’t exhibit this kind of behavior if they actually knew the history of this country, right? And the real history of this country and the importance of at least some respect and attention to the black people who helped build this country rather than joking around, saying to someone, “Oh, it’s Black History Month!” It’s not funny.
Governor DeSantis, of course, did not get rid of the teaching of black history in schools, but instead imposed regulations to prevent the politicization of the subject.
This episode of CNN This Morning was sponsored in part by RING and ADT. Their contact information is attached.
The transcript is as follows:
CNN this morning
February 9, 2023
6:32 am Eastern
Don Lemon: Okay, so you sit down and look at it and take it in and try to understand exactly what’s going on here. A video of a racist incident circulating online has sparked protests and at least two suspensions at a Philadelphia high school. The video — part of it there — shows a girl splashing black paint in another girl’s face while making a comment referring to Black History Month. So how is it going? Jean Casarez joins us. He is watching this video, and he has a report on it So what happened here?
JEAN CASAREZ: Let’s just state the facts. Here is the information. According to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, there are three girls in the video. Both girls attend St. Hubert Catholic High School. Third daughter — she doesn’t go to school. Now, in the video, one girl is seen blackening another girl’s face with spray paint, hurling racist slurs around, while several girls look on. They sit next to each other – they laugh. Let’s watch it a little.
Unidentified Girl #1: You’re a black girl! You know your roots! It’s February!
Unidentified Girl #2: Your mom never lets anyone in.
Unidentified Girl #1: You’re nothing but a slave. After that, you do my laundry.
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL #2: The white girl just takes it [expletive] [inaudible].
Unidentified Girl #3: I’m black and I’m proud!
CASSEREZ: A black parent whose daughter attends a Catholic school told CNN the video was sent directly to her daughter and niece, along with other black students. Now, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia told CNN that the exact distribution is unknown at this time. Reportedly, the video was taken outside the school, later during school hours, and then circulated on social media. “Those allegedly responsible are not present at the school and are being appropriately disciplined. We take this opportunity to make abundantly clear that hatred, racism or bigotry has no place at St. Hubert’s or any Catholic school. It is not acceptable under any circumstances. Or at any time. ” The statement said general threats have now been made against the school community after the video surfaced on social media. They are being reported to the Philadelphia Police Department and law enforcement agencies as they arrive. Since the release of the video, they have been staying in the campus. The Philadelphia branch of the NAACP expressed strong dismay at the video in a statement Wednesday and called on the school to “ensure immediate action is taken.”
Lemon: I really don’t know what to say.
Casarez: I know. It is beyond words. I mean, what’s the motivation? What is the state of mind? What, I mean, it’s obvious.
LEMON: Look, you know, we were all young at one time — some of us, you know, at least for me, to you. You were younger — you’re younger than me — but when I was in college, you know, people were stupid. People will openly use the n-word, but I thought that by the time we get to 2022, 2023, things will be different. These kids should know better. They’re kids, you know, and I want them to relax that they’re kids, but their actions are reprehensible.
LEMON: And it’s not funny.
LEMON: And it shouldn’t – it shouldn’t happen, but it definitely shouldn’t spread. They should know better the consequences — it will last forever. It will stick with them forever.
CASAREZ: I think it will be very interesting to see what happens because, you know, what is their state of mind here? What are they thinking? And it was done off campus, and we know from a recent US Supreme Court decision of a high school girl who didn’t get —
Poppy Harlow: I was going to come up with Scott’s decision.
CASAREZ: — is he —
Harlow: That’s right.
CASAREZ: — What she didn’t do — she didn’t achieve cheerleader or anything, and off campus she made a video that was absolutely humiliating —
CASAREZ: Principals and students and teachers, and it went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And they said, “This is off campus — free speech.”
Harlow: That’s right.
CASAREZ: It can be done.
HARLOW: This is a really interesting moment in the First Amendment battle —
CASAREZ: It was.
Harlow: — on all this and the results —
LEMON: Well, I —
Harlow: — and responsibility —
HARLOW: — just on the legal front.
LEMON: I hope Ron DeSantis is watching and paying attention. I hope that people are saying that we shouldn’t — we should just teach certain aspects of our history. There’s nothing funny about Black History Month because that’s what we should be learning — the importance of Black History Month because these kids think it’s a joke. And that’s probably because they didn’t learn it before they went to college, and they probably wouldn’t exhibit that kind of behavior if they actually knew the history of this country, right? And the real history of this country and the importance of at least some respect and attention to the black people who helped build this country rather than joking around, saying to someone, “Oh, it’s Black History Month!” It’s not funny.
CASAREZ: Which goes with, the archdiocese saying, “suspension, expulsion, you know, we’re taking action.”
CASAREZ: Is that enough?
Lemon: No, no. It’s not enough.
Harlo: All of this.
LEMON: You learn it when you’re young. That’s where you get it. Thanks, Jean Cassarez.
CASAREZ: Thank you.
Lemon: Appreciate it.