Don Lemon's ‘Stop & Frisk’ Talk Spawns a Mocking Hashtag

“Would you rather be politically correct or safe and alive?” Lemon asked on CNN

CNN's Don Lemon has become the target of a mocking hashtag after what some people took as a defense of New York City's “stop and frisk” policy.

In a radio commentary for BlackAmericaWeb, Lemon asked of “stop and frisk”: “Would you rather be politically correct or safe and alive?”

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That's the section of the portion of the commentary online critics are mocking with the Twitter hashtag #DonLemonOn, which imagines him tolerating various forms of racism.

“#DonLemonOn MLK's assassination,” tweeted @DCPlod. “Would you rather he'd lived long enough to see himself become the villain?”

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#DonLemonOn black women's hair,” wrote @H2OCoolerConvo. “Would you rather get fired or just cut your dreads and keep your job?”

Lemon's provocative question headlined and concluded a more nuanced commentary about the policy, which allows New York City police to stop and frisk people on the street. Critics say it is used disproportionately on blacks and Hispanics.

Lemon argued that the problem with “stop and frisk” is that it can be so easily abused. He said some people might tolerate a policy of “stop, question and frisk” if officers were polite and respectful, like TSA guards doing patdowns at the airport.

But in reality, he said, police can easily become “so drunk with power that they abuse it.”

Lemon said Tuesday's New York City mayoral election was “one of the most important races in the world” because it could bring an end to the policy. Other cities will likely follow New York's example, whether New York keeps the policy or not.

“Whatever the mayor here decides will be reflected in your city, reflected in your crime rate, and in your economy,” Lemon concluded. “So the question is: Would you rather be politically correct or safe and alive? That's the real issue facing the citizens of New York and, pretty soon, ultimately you.”