CNN anchor Don Lemon called out Tennessee Republicans who expelled two Black lawmakers over a gun violence protest but did not expel a white representative who also participated, calling it “racism” pure and simple.
On Thursday, the Tennessee House voted to expel Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson over a protest calling for gun reform in the wake of the shooting at Nashville’s Covenant School that killed 6 people.
The legislature spared Gloria Johnson, a 60-year-old white woman who participated in the protest. That disparity has been flagged by the Tennessee Three and others as a racist double standard.
Faison — who is chairman of the Republican caucus that pushed through the expulsions — spoke against the protests Thursday night, but walked out on a CNN interview before he could be pressed.
On Friday morning’s edition of CNN This Morning, co-anchor Kaitlan Collins revealed what she was going to ask Faison had he not bounced, and Lemon engaged the argument that the expulsions weren’t racist because Rep. Johnson’s conduct was different:
KAITLAN COLLINS: And the final question that I wanted to ask him was his explanation for why the two Black Democrats were expelled and the woman, the white woman who she acknowledged — she believes race played a role in that she survived by one vote.
DON LEMON: Yep. I think it’s obvious. Look, it’s. They could have done a censure. Right. I think the right question was why take the most drastic action afterwards?
This is exactly what our country was built on. On protesting. Not everyone — protests aren’t perfect. It’s also unconscious bias. It’s racism, it’s a double standard in our society.
I have to say, I would doubt they would have done this to white members because guess what? They didn’t! They did it to the two Black members! And especially the two Black men. It’s like usually, especially with something like this, the way people think about Black men in this society needs to really be examined, especially with protests, especially with how we express ourselves.
If you look at the member there, the guy with the afro, right? He’s very outspoken. Justin Pearson. Right. I just, I just wanted to be clear because there are two Justins. I just wanted to be clear because he has the afro. Yeah.
Too militant or whatever you want to call him, outspoken. But that’s how he that’s his way of expressing himself. And it doesn’t mean that he’s being rude or boisterous or whatever, he’s expressing himself, and that’s how he feels.
And the other guy is a more subdued and he’s going to be on, the other, Justin, I should say, because there are two Justins. And that’s why I keep saying, Justin Jones. That’s the way he expresses himself.
And so I think that we really need to think about the double standard in the society. You may want to call it an unconscious bias. It’s racism! It’s exactly that’s all that it is! And what they were trying to do is something that was good for the country and for Tennessee and for the country. And they ended up with the worst outcome.
Watch above via CNN This Morning.
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