Hip hop music is important precisely because it sheds light on contemporary politics, history, and race. At its best, hip hop gives voice to marginal black youth we are not used to hearing from on such topics.

— Michael Eric Dyson

The most contentment Michael Eric Dyson quotes that are proven to give you inner joy

You cannot hear the name Martin Luther King, Jr.

, and not think of death. You might hear the words 'I have a dream,' but they will doubtlessly only serve to underscore an image of a simple motel balcony, a large man made small, a pool of blood. For as famous as he may have been in life, it is - and was - death that ultimately defined him.

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Hurricane Katrina overwhelmed levees and exploded the conventional wisdom about a shared American prosperity, exposing a group of people so poor they didn't have $50 for a bus ticket out of town. If we want to learn something from this disaster, the lesson ought to be: America's poor deserve better than this.

48

He was not hip-hop's most gifted emcee.

Still, Shakur may be the most influential and compelling rapper of them all, he was more than the sum of his artistic parts.

28

We should not be post-racial: seeking to get beyond the uplifting meanings and edifying registers of blackness. Rather, we should be post-racist: moving beyond cultural fascism and vicious narratives of racial privilege and superiority that tear at the fabric of "e pluribus unum.

27

I think that not only do saints make poor role models, they are incapable in one sense of identifying radically with those of us who are mere mortals. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s mortality says to us that here's a figure who got up every day of his life facing tremendous odds and yet overcame them.

25

Donald Trump amplifies the worst instincts.

And his nationalism is really a white racist supremacist nationalism.

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We can't exempt ourselves from the same moral calculus that we are willing to apply to others.

22

To challenge norms, presuppositions, practices in communities across this country - where the unconscious valorization and celebration of whiteness and conscious resistance to trying to grapple with black and brown and other peoples of color's ideas and identities - makes a huge difference.

20

My job is to explain stuff you don't know or already know and have to unlearn.

My job is to teach you stuff you don't know that you need to know, stuff you should know. I'm going to take what you already know and re-describe it.

16

Bill Cosby is a famous black guy who has a bully pulpit the size of the world;

it's global. He puts his colossal foot on the vulnerable necks of poor people, and as a result of that, we don't have a balanced conversation.

14

I was very struck when Min. Farrakhan said if Jesus and Muhammad were here today, they'd be embracing each other. That's a tremendous message that needs to be heard more broadly.

13

I think public intellectuals have a responsibility - to be self-critical on the one hand, to do serious, nuanced work rigorously executed; but to also be able to get off those perches and out of those ivory towers and speak to the real people who make decisions; to speak truth to power and the powerless with lucidity and eloquence.

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About Michael Eric Dyson

Quotes 151 sayings
Profession Author
Birthday October 23, 1958

I don't believe in that kind of American John Wayne individualism where people pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Someone changed your diapers. And if that's the case, you ain't self-made.

10

I'm in bed, so to speak, more with those people who consider themselves atheists but who are concerned about the same things, ideas, and politics I'm concerned with than those who claim to be religious in the same way that I am but have no interest in the political reorganization of society, which needs to be talked about from the pulpit.

7

I think it's extremely important to challenge white brothers and sisters and think more systematically and strategically about the whiteness that they possess.

7

Jeremiah Wright is one of the greatest prophetic preachers that black America has produced. What I find striking is that many white brothers and sisters miss the fact that there would be no black church if the white church wasn't political and racist in refusing to worship with us.

6

I believe in a God of a second chance and a God of love and mercy, because I need so much more of it myself.

6

I was born in '58, so the riot in Detroit in 1967 was a memorable introduction to the issue of race and how race made a difference in American society. And then the next year, of course, Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. And the Detroit Tigers winning the World Series. All of that made a huge impression on my growing mind.

6

Comedy is to force us to observe ourselves in ways that are humorous and yet, at the end of the day, that cause us enough discomfort with the status quo to make a change.

5

I think that what Donald Trump is doing, the way in which racism, xenophobia, anti-Muslim belief and the like are being expressed through the campaign of Donald Trump, calls for, I think, a very vigorous and aggressive response to what he's saying.

5

White supremacy is the conscious or unconscious belief or the investment in the inherent superiority of some, while others are believed to be innately inferior. And it doesn't demand the individual participation of the singular bigot. It is a machine operating in perpetuity, because it doesn't demand that somebody be in place driving.

5

There's a dark underside to philanthropy.

People who give a bunch of money are deferred to, even when they are wrong. The emperor cannot be shown to have no clothes.

3

We need all the newfangled web-based Internet spread, you know, social media that can catalyze, you know, some serious consciousness about what's going on. But we also need people on the streets pounding the pavement to make a significant and dramatic appearance to suggest that what's going on here is unacceptable.

3

Obviously, Jay-Z is one of the greatest entertainers of the world today.

Not only is he a remarkable rhetorical genius, he's also a man of deep sympathy and empathy for those who are lost and vulnerable, but especially under-educated youth of all cultures and stripes.

3

If white and black and red and brown can come together to focus our energies on overcoming the racial malaise that persists, then this will have been a great moment.

3

Light-skinned black people are seen to be closer to white people.

The allegiance to lighter-skinned people has operated in a very destructive way that we have internalized ourselves inside black communities. You look at many of the prominent black people in this society who have been able to do well. Many have been lighter-skinned.

3

I think that Michael Jackson, just as an entertainer, as a figure who embodies the contradictions of Black identity, and the possibilities of R&B music in the '70s and '80s will continue to be one of the most recognized and formidable human beings that we've ever produced in our tradition.

3

But for poor black people and working-class black people, it is a much more difficult way to go. The over-incarceration of black people is just intolerable. When you look at the disparity in terms of education and access to fair schooling, it is horrible. If this would happen to white people in this country, it would not be tolerated.

3

I have no interest in romanticizing poor black people, having been one of them myself in our beloved hometown of Detroit.

3

I didn't get to college until my 20s, because I was a young father on welfare and had to take all kind of jobs to support my young son. There's what frames my view on the topics I discuss on my shows, and the average person relates to that. No matter how many degrees I have now, I lived that life, and that comes through to the people watching.

3

[ Mrs. James, my fifth-grade teacher] introduced us to these authors early on and taught us that their literature is important. Langston Hughes - we read his poetry. We studied who W.E.B DuBois was. And so she whetted our appetites.

2

That kind of peer learning, that peer teaching, that peer evaluation, and then administration of insight.

2

New Orleans invented the brown paper bag party - usually at a gathering in a home - where anyone darker than the bag attached to the door was denied entrance. The brown bag criterion survives as a metaphor for how the black cultural elite quite literally establishes caste along color lines within black life.

2

The consequences of whiteness are particularly lethal right now.

And the ignorance about it, especially on the part of white people themselves, makes them unavoidably complicit in a system that has to be unmasked, unveiled, undressed in order to be reformed or destroyed.

2

Record labels collude with some of the radio stations, and the radio stations have their play lists, dependent upon what they call the, quote, 'hits.' What's commercially viable gets recycled, endlessly repeated, and as a result of that, the progressive music can't break in.

2

There's a great book about John Kennedy and his relationship to civil rights called 'The Bystander.' The title alone suggests that he did as little as possible, any minimal critical effort, to really facilitate civil rights in the White House.

2

I knew Snoop Dog didn't start misogyny.

I knew that Tupac Shakur didn't start sexism, and God knows that Dr. Dre didn't start patriarchy. Yet they extended it in vicious form within their own communities. They made vulnerable people more vulnerable.

1

The beauty of the literary art, the grappling with the black church, the wrestling with one's identity in the bosom of a complicated black community that was both bulwark to the larger white society as well as a threshing ground, so to speak, to hash out the differences that black people have among ourselves.

1

There is no conscious choice of heterosexual identity any more than there is a homosexual one. The last person in the world who wants to be homosexual, for the most part, are homosexuals.

1

There is a consciousness as an agent of one's own destiny as a person in America, there are things that can be done, there are advantages and benefits which exist that are directly related to - and even rest upon - white privilege.

1

All Americans deserve an equal crack at what it means to be a - having - having resources in your own home and in your state and in your country.

0

There's no question that O.J. Simpson had been a substitute white man in America. He had gained honorary white status. He was not viewed by many white Americans as black. He was not seen as the African American athlete who was rebellious: Jim Brown, Muhammad Ali, Hank Aaron... He was accepted in golf clubs that were very tony.

0

I think that he [Michael Jackson] did derive an ultimate sense of joy and satisfaction in what others enjoyed from him that was denied to himself. There's no question that the transcendent art that he created was a means, an instrument, a vehicle for others to experience what he didn't.

0

[The World Series] introduced me for the first time to a team with a lot of black players. Detroit had about three of them: I think it was Willie Horton, Gates Brown, and Earl Wilson - might have been one or two more in '68.

0

America certainly has made extraordinary progress.

The collective unconscious of the nation has certainly shifted as a result of the civil rights movement and the developments in the '70s and '80s. We have witnessed a great expansion of the black middle class.

0

I suppose that I inherited the same vocabulary and world view as most black Christians do, most Christians in general, to be sure. It was heterosexist in the sense that it took the heterosexual orientation as the norm from which to start as the given. And everything that fell outside of that was not acceptable.

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I don't think you can bury words. I think the more you try to dismiss them, the more power you give to them, the more circulation they have.

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That is my job as an intellectual, as an extension of my vocation: to engage in a serious reckoning with the present manifestation of both white supremacy, white refusal to acknowledge culpability, and the attempts of black people to re-describe the harm and trauma we've endured, as well as to say afresh what it is that must be done if we are to be conscientious.

0

Black women must challenge black men to live up to their best in every arena of the culture - at job, at home, in school and in religious arenas.

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