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Part of my research this week for hosting The View was to read a book called The Confidence Code. It was written by journalists Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. Shipman was to be a guest on the show.

Quite frankly, I wasn’t looking forward to reading the book because it appeared to be one more self-help book. Even less appealing to me; the book is geared towards women and why their confidence is so much lower than men in their professional lives. But a funny thing happened while perusing “The Confidence Code,” I started to relate to it.

In one of my first college journalism courses in Louisiana my professor told me I’d never make it because I had trouble mastering videotape editing. I wasn’t terrible, but I wasn’t great either.

However, my writing, shooting and on camera abilities were far better than most of my classmate’s; most of whom were white. His expectations of me were different than they were for the other students in the class who didn’t look like me. What he was saying to me was go find a job more suitable for someone like you.

I had lived in Louisiana all my life and when that man spoke those words to me, I knew where he was coming from. I don’t need to spell it out.

That incident stuck with me. It affected my self-esteem and my confidence. I left LSU and Louisiana in large part because of that incident. I packed up my bags and my 1987 Jeep Wrangler and moved to New York City with $200 to my name, and I never looked back.

DON LEMON: “The Confidence Code”  was originally published on

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