There's been enough complacency: "Silence is no longer an
Once was a time, though, when things were kept quiet.
"My life has been blessed..." says Lemon, "but let's be
real: I grew up gay and Black in the South in the 1970s."
Raised by an extended family of women, he heard stories of
voter suppression, the denial of education, and too many
hard times. Several years ago, Lemon went to Africa with his
mother, to a fortress where slaves left that continent; he
grew up in Louisiana and knew about the area's dark past. He
acknowledges that things have changed; that some things are
"'different this time'," but they're still the same, whether
you live in poverty you've been manipulated to be in, or you
live in a well-to-do enclave and try to Shop While Black.
Racism, he points out, is so endemic that we don't always
see it sometimes, or know its entire history. We condemn
White Supremacy without understanding how it ever existed in
the first place, we march to "defund the police" but forget
that many Black families likewise fear a neighborhood
"Racism... is a contagious assailant," he says.
"Healing is you and me standing on the John Lewis Bridge. We
can get there... if we're willing to do the work."
As today's books go, This is the Fire is pretty thin.
It doesn't look like much, but dive inside for ten minutes
and you'll see that it's thick with hope.
And yet, one might argue that, despite that the words here
are fresh and current, author and CNN Tonight anchor
Don Lemon doesn't tell readers much that's new. George,
Breonna, Jacob, Stephon, Sandra, their names are familiar,
and absolutely no one has forgotten the last White House
administration. Readers get a bit of biography and that
delicious Lemon sense of wry humor, but what else?
Lemon's thoughts are the kind that make you gasp. They're
I-never-saw-it-that-way avowals that leave room for
self-education, reparation with wisdom, honest reflection,
and fixing what's so deeply and wrongly embedded in this
They demand that you think. Now.
And so, whether you're up for a heated argument, a fiery
debate, or just a warm talk with someone, this is the
perfect time to read those words. This is the Fire
will spark a discussion.