Michael Eric Dyson’s Sermon to White America

By Chris Roberts

  • Michael Dyson makes a nice living telling us how awful we are.

By most measures, Michael Eric Dyson is an accomplished man. He is an ordained Baptist minister, and after stints at universities as prestigious as Brown, DePaul, and Columbia, he is now a professor of sociology at Georgetown. He is a regular commentator on television and radio programs, he has written over a dozen books, all published by well-respected houses such as Oxford and St. Martin’s. For a public intellectual, this is as good as it gets.

But Dr. Dyson is not a happy man. His latest book, Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America, is like just about every other book by a black intellectual: It’s about how awful and unbearably racist his country is. But it has an unusual angle. In a recent interview Dr. Dyson described it this way:

I envision the audience to be that ocean of white folk I encounter who are deeply empathetic to the struggles of minorities—they are the ones who ask me, “What can I do, as a white person?” This is my attempt to address them in the most useful and, hopefully, edifying manner.

His answer? Individual reparations. Since there will never be government reparations, under the guidance of wise blacks such as himself, white ethno-masochists could set up “Individual Reparation Accounts” (IRAs), and start giving part of their income to groups like the NAACP.

This makes Dr. Dyson the exact opposite of what American Renaissance stands for, so I jumped at the chance to hear him speak about his book. Just one night before the “DeploraBall” and two nights before the inauguration, I spent an hour and a half in Washington DC listening to Dr. Dyson preach the gospel of white guilt. For the first half, he answered softball questions from a black journalist named Wesley Lowery, and then he took questions from the roughly half-black and half-white audience.

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