5 things author Michael Eric Dyson wants white America to know

Author Michael Eric Dyson has written a compelling - and deeply personal - book about America and race.

In his latest book, “Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America,” Dyson, an ordained Baptist minister, Georgetown Univerity professor and social critic, speaks frankly to white America and implores them to be honest about race and white privilege.

Here are 5 points he makes in his book:

1) Race has no meaning outside of the cultures we live in and the worlds we fashion out of its force and energy. Whiteness is an advantage and privilege because you have made it so, not because the universe demands it. 

2) White or black identity is nothing without the people and forces that make it true. White and black folk are bound together, even when we breathe very different meanings into race.

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3) You never stop to think that Babe Ruth never had to play the greatest players of his generation - just the greatest white players.

4)Black sweat built the country you now reside in, and you continue to enjoy the fruits of that labor. There are all sorts of ways to make reparations work at the local and individual level. You can hire black folk at your office and pay them slightly better than you would ordinarily pay them. You can pay the black person who cuts your grass double what your might ordinarily pay. Or you can give a deserving black student in your neighborhood, or one you might run across in the course of your work, scholarship help.

5) Beloved, your participation in protests, rallies, local community meetings, and the like makes a huge difference. When we gather to express grief, outrage, and dissent, your presence sends the signal that this is not “just a black thing.” It is, instead, an American thing.


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