CNN host Don Lemon opened up on Thursday about why he insists that people of color should remain calm when interacting with police.
“I’m an American, I shouldn’t have to do that,” he said during a panel discussion. “I shouldn’t have to be ‘Yes, sir’ing anybody. I’m a grown you-know-what man.”
“You don’t have to say ‘sir,'” said guest David Katz, a former Drug Enforcement Administration senior special agent.
“But I do it because I want to stay alive,” Lemon continued. “That’s why I do it. Now, my friends, my white counterparts don’t do that. They speak to police officers in a way that I would never in a million years do, and that is the reality of it. I have to do that because I want to stay alive.”
“I tell my kids that,” Katz protested.
“Let me finish, let me finish!” Lemon said. “As accomplished as I am, and a man of color on television who is recognizable to many people, I have to do that because I don’t want to be shot and I don’t want to be killed. And I am someone who is never in trouble. The only time I’m stopped is for something stupid — riding a skateboard on the sidewalk. That’s the kind of crap I’m stopped for, not for anything else.”
“I taught my kids the same thing,” said Katz, who is white. Lemon cut him off and explained that the mother of Philando Castile — who was shot dead by an officer during a police stop on Wednesday — taught him the same thing.
“And he is dead today,” Lemon said.
Watch the discussion, as posted online on Thursday, below.