Don Lemon to Millennials: "Get Off My Lawn"

During a news segment on the Edward Snowden NSA leak, Don Lemon and guests turned to ridiculous stereotyping of millennials. Here is how the situation unfolded:

Guest 1: And Don, Tom’s really correct about this sense of entitlement that many of these youth have. Think about it, they have been celebrated with ponies, and birthday parties, and doting parents, and hover parents. Every time they did their first step they were celebrated and glorified.

Don Lemon: Yeah, and medals for coming in fifth. Everyone gets a medal, everyone gets a trophy and everyone who gets yelled at, at school, is being bullied. There are legitimate cases of bullying, but not all are. When I was a kid if someone yelled at you or started a fight my mom would say did you hit them back and you say no and and she would say go back down the street

Guest 1: Yeah, back then it was called social learning

Read the official full transcript here.

Not only was this segment completely off topic from the very real debate about Edward Snowden’s proper status as either hero or traitor, it missed the mark on being a real dialogue about the millennial generation. These stereotypes about the millennial generation are pervasive and problematic. Immediately after this situation unfolded, I, and other millennials, took to Twitter to inform Don of our disappointment.





So, what was Don Lemon's response to our legitimate gripe about his decision to permit and engage in a conversation writing off an entire generation?


I quickly mounted a retort in the form of a challenge to Don Lemon and all reporters engaging on millennial issues.



The very least that any "news-gathering" organization can do when addressing issues about a specific group of people is to permit a representative from that group to defend themselves. What happened today on CNN was a great example of outright stereotyping. The millennial generation is one of the most engaged generations at its age in decades. It was largely the millennial generation that pounded the pavement for President Obama in both his 2008 and 2012 election victories. It is the global millennial generation that led the Arab spring. The millennial generation, along with others, is currently fighting in Afghanistan, and fought bravely in Iraq. And, I am confident that it is the millennial generation that will in its time solve many of global challenges that continue to plague humanity. 

Yes, we are young, but we are not nearly as naive as Don Lemon and his guests attempted to make us sound today. Yes, we view the world differently, but that is one of our great strengths. And yes, we have been lauded, celebrated, and are parents may be doting, but the people doing the lauding, celebrating, and doting was Don's generation. 

So Don, the next time you and your guests want to discuss "kids these days," please have enough respect for our generation to have a dialogue with one of us. I will gladly volunteer. 

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Edward Williams

Edward Williams is currently a 3L at the Georgetown University Law Center. He is a 2009 Teach For America Atlanta Corps Member. He graduated from Howard University in 2009 with a BBA in International Business and Finance with honors. He has interned at JP Morgan and Merrill Lynch in their investment banking/sales and trading divisions, and was a 2010 Teach For America Policy and Advocacy Leadership (PALI) Fellow at the National Council on Teacher Quality in Washington, DC. Edward is originally from Savannah, GA.

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