Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.
Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America (original 2017; edition 2017)
by Michael Eric Dyson (Author)
Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric DYSON (2017)
Silent Scream (10)
No current Talk conversations about this book.
The thing this book does really well is share what it is like to be a black man living in America today. The anger at being disrespected by cops for no other reason than the color of one’s skin, the terror of having to teach one’s kids how to act around police for fear that they might end up a statistic, the demoralization of having to ask for simple, common decency only to be ignored or rebuffed continually, and the self-hatred that comes from looking at one’s own life thru the lens of a society riddled with white supremacy. He shares stories from his own life, but also from a general experience of black life in America.
Dyson pulls no punches and minces no words. The set up of arranging his book as a sermon and addressing his readers as “beloved” somewhat softens the harshness of his message, but not so much that you can ignore the rawness of his emotion. It’s not so hard to put yourself into another person’s shoes when they describe their experience so well.
If we are to make real racial progress, we must face difficult truths, including being honest about how Black grievance has been ignored, dismissed, or discounted. As Dyson writes, "At birth you are given a pair of binoculars that see Black life from a distance, never with the texture of intimacy. Those binoculars are privilege; they are status, regardless of your class. In the tradition of The Fire Next Time (Baldwin), short, emotional, literary, powerful, this is the book that all Americans who care about the current and long-burning crisis in race relations need to hear.
A book that needs to be read, but probably not by the ones who need it the most. Written in the form of a sermon/epistle, Dyson preaches mostly about the advantages of being white in America in terms of getting ahead, being paid more, not fearing death when confronted by the police, etc. I thought his discussion of the distinction between the terms "nigger" and "nigga" to be particularly insightful. On the other hand, I did not agree with his oversimplification of the reasons why Donald Trump was elected President, which was viewed solely from a perspective of race. The lengthy, annotated bibliography provided in the penultimate chapter will provide many with additional books to consider, and I have already borrowed the one which most appealed to me. Also, I can't wait to compare it to Between the World and Me.
This is a sermon/rant, not a rational argument, but I’m not sure if it makes sense to accept that framing — ultimately it isn’t supposed to just be entertainment (an area where it fails, at least for me), but to influence thoughts and actions, Unfortunately it also fails to present enough of a coherent intellectual argument to be convincing, either. It is essentially a long emotional argument about “some bad things have happened to black people, whites people don’t care”. I might even accept that argument, but the consequence of “racial politics are the most important thing in the world and in particularly US black/white racial politics” seems pretty bogus.
(Cornel West does a much better job of describing problems in a rational and convincing way, but is unfortunately basically a socialist or more left, so his solutions might be reasonable in terms of racial politics but make no economic sense. I don’t really follow any other contemporary authors of black politics; my impression is most of them are socialists or communists, so I don’t know if they are going to be much better.)
Fifty years ago Malcolm X told a white woman who asked what she could do for the cause, 'Nothing.' Michael Eric Dyson believes he was wrong. Now he responds to that question. If society is to make real racial progress, people must face difficult truths, including being honest about how Black grievance has been ignored, dismissed, or discounted.
No library descriptions found.
Amazon Kindle (0 editions)
Audible (0 editions)
CD Audiobook (0 editions)
Project Gutenberg (0 editions)
Google Books — Loading...
Melvil Decimal System (DDC)305.800973 — Social sciences Social Sciences Groups of people Ethnic and national groups ; racism, multiculturalism General Biography And History North America United States
Is this you?
Become a LibraryThing Author.
Each essay tackles the issue of race from different angles- music, living and being, what happens when profiled, etc. I am so glad these types of books are starting to flood the market as they are so needed. The drawback is that there are lots of these types of books flooding the market, so some of the good ones will be lost. This quick and short read is one of the good ones and I hope people will read it when it comes out on January 17th. ( )