CNN’s Don Lemon got a lesson Monday night after trying to use Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral to pitch a favorite policy of American progressives.
And it wasn’t the kind he was looking for.
But for educated viewers everywhere, it was a moment to remember.
The conversation came at the end of an interview Lemon was conducting with Hilary Fordwich, a British-American businesswoman and commentator on the royal family.
On the occasion of the death of the longest-reigning monarch in British history, Lemon decided to head into the contemporary leftist fetish for the history of slavery — with the audacity to imply that the royal family should be paying reparations to the descendants of victims of the trade.
Considering it was Lemon, the question was almost as predictable as it was in poor taste.
And considering how badly Fordwich smacked him down with her answer, it almost looked like she was ready for it.
Check out the exchange here. It might make your day:
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 20, 2022
“All of this wealth, and you hear about it, comes as England is facing rising cost of living,” Lemon said. “And then you have those who are asking for reparations for colonialism … some people want to be paid back. Members of the public are wondering, ‘Why are we suffering when you have all of this vast wealth?’ Those are legitimate concerns.”
Whatever Lemon thought was “legitimate” about bringing up reparations for slavery in a context like that, Fordwich set him straight.
“I think you’re right about reparations in terms if people want it though, what they need to do is — you always need to go back to the beginning of a supply chain. Where was the beginning of the supply chain? That was in Africa,” she said.
“Across the entire world when slavery was taking place, which was the first nation in the world that abolished slavery? First nation in the world to abolish it … was the British.”
The complicity of African nations in providing slaves for export — both to the Western hemisphere and to the Arab world — is just one of many inconvenient truths about the history of slavery, since it doesn’t feed the current political atmosphere of loathing for Western civilization.
But Fordwich went even further, to suggest that the descendants of British sailors who died trying to stamp out the slave trade on the high seas — an overwhelmingly white lot, no doubt — might be in line seeking reparations of their own.
“Two-thousand naval men died on the high seas trying to stop slavery. Why? Because the African kings were rounding up their own people,” Fordwich told Lemon. “They had them on cages waiting in the beaches. No one was running into Africa to get them
“And I think you’re totally right. If reparations need to be paid, we need to go right back to the beginning of that supply chain and say, ‘Who was rounding up their own people and having them hang from cages?’ Absolutely, that’s where they should start. And maybe, I don’t know, the descendants of those families where they died in the high seas trying to stop the slavery, those families should receive something, too.”
That wasn’t the direction Lemon was taking the conversation, and the dumb-founded look on his face showed how much he regretted it.
“It’s an interesting discussion, Hilary, thank you very much,” he managed to get out, not entirely convincingly. “We’ll continue to discuss in the future.”
That didn’t sound like a sincere “thanks” at all. But the response on social media showed how much other viewers liked it.
Great response. Another reminder to people crying out for reparations, every race of every nationality has been victims of slavery at one point of time in history.
— Jtum (@jgtumblin) September 20, 2022
Lemon got a severe, real history lesson which left I’m stunned and speechless.
— Gary Jusseaume (@GaryJusseaume) September 20, 2022
No sane individual in the 21st century disagrees that slavery is a crime against humanity — whether it’s practiced in the modern world through human trafficking and Chinese labor camps, or through the 16th to 19th centuries with the settlement of North and South America, or in the Muslim world or every other place in the world it’s been practiced (which is every place humans have existed).
But what leftists refuse to recognize today is that the slave trade they’re obsessed with — particularly the slave trade that brought Africans to what became the United States — could never have taken place without the active acquiescence of African kingdoms who all too willing sold black captives to European and Arab buyers.
That’s not a role that’s emphasized in education, it’s not part of the mainstream media or Hollywood culture. (Even Time magazine admits the latest offering on the topic of slavery “The Woman King” doesn’t do justice to a “complicated” subject. When libs call something “complicated,” it’s not usually complicated. It just means they don’t like the truth.)
And it’s a good bet that part of history isn’t a common conversation among Lemon’s social set when slavery comes up. In fact, living in a liberal bubble might have allowed Lemon to forget that there are real people, with real knowledge, who have real disagreements with the leftist worldview in its entirety.
Monday night’s interview was a lesson for Lemon.
He’s been demonstrating a remarkable ability to ignore reality lately, but this lesson is one he shouldn’t forget any time soon.