06-25-2017  5:16 am      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Cooling Centers to open in Multnomah County Saturday, Sunday

Temperatures expected to climb into the upper 90s this weekend ...

Multnomah County Leaders Release Statement on Safety at Summer Events

Officials advise public to check in, have a plan and be aware at public events ...

Portland Musician, Educator Thara Memory Dies

Grammy-winning Trumpeter, composer, teacher died Saturday at the age of 68 ...

St. Johns Center for Opportunity to Host Meet the Employer Event June 27

Employers represented will include Mary’s Harvest and Del Monte ...

New Self-Defense Organization Offers Training to Youth in Multnomah County

EMERJ-SafeNow offers July classes for children ages 8-10 and youth ages 15-19 ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Our Children Deserve High Quality Teachers

It’s critical that parents engage with educational leaders and demand equal access to high quality teachers ...

Civil Rights Groups Ask for Broad Access to Affordable Lending

Charlene Crowell writes that today’s public policy housing debate is also an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the past and...

Criminal Justice Disparities Present Barriers to Re-entry

Congressional Black Caucus Member Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) writes about the fight to reduce disparities in our criminal justice...

Bill Maher Betrayed Black Intellectuals

Armstrong Williams talks about the use of the n-word and the recent Bill Maher controversy ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

Michael Eric Dyson

By Michael Eric Dyson
St. Martin's Press
Hardcover, $24.99
202 pages
ISBN: 978-1-250-13599-5

Book Review by Kam Williams

“America is in trouble, and a lot of that trouble--perhaps most of it--has to do with race. Everywhere we turn, there is discord, division, death and destruction.
When we survey the land, we see a country full of suffering that it cannot fully understand, and a history that it can no longer deny. Slavery casts a long shadow across our lives...
Black and white people... seem to occupy different universes with worldviews that are fatally opposed to one another... What, then, can we do?
What I need to say can only be said as a sermon... I offer this sermon to you, my dear white friends... I do so in the interest of healing our our nation through honest, often blunt, talk... Without white America wrestling with these truths and confronting these realities, we may not survive.

To paraphrase the Bible, to whom much is given, much is expected. And, you my friends, have been given so much. And the Lord knows, what wasn't given, you simply took, took, and took, and took.

But the time is here for reckoning with the past... and moving together to redeem the nation for the future.”

Excerpted from the Chapter 1, "Call to Worship" (pages 3-7)

Michael Eric Dyson teaches Sociology at Georgetown University, and is the prolific author of 20 best-sellers and a popular face on the TV talk show circuit. Many might forget that Professor Dyson got his doctorate in Religion from Princeton University.

In his new book, Tears We Cannot Stop, he reminds us that, "Although I am a scholar, a cultural and political critic, and a social activist, I am, before, and above anything else, an ordained Baptist minister." That helps explain the profusion of captivating, flowery rhetoric whenever the brother's been handed a microphone.

While his previous works were aimed at a black audience, this is his first intended to be read by whites. It is also written in a unique literary style, namely, as a sermon designed to keep Caucasians standing on their feet like an inspired congregation of holy rollers.

The chapters are even laid out like a church service, starting with the "Call to Worship," followed by "Hymns of Praise," an "Invocation," and the "Scripture Reading" leading to the "Sermon," and concluding with the "Benediction." The meat of the message can be found in the Sermon section which opens with the iconoclastic suggestion that there is no such thing as a white race.

Professor Dyson's point there is that whiteness is an arbitrary (as opposed to a scientific) construct which affords one group advantages and privileges at the expense of others. He argues that "whiteness is made up, and that white history disguised as American history is a fantasy, as much a fantasy as white superiority and white purity."

If I were Dyson, I wouldn't be holding my breath for a positive reception from his intended audience, given the ascension of Donald Trump and the celebration of rednecks in the runaway best seller, Hillbilly Elegy. He might be better off redirecting his sermon to the African-American community and changing his incendiary opus' subtitle to "Preaching to the Choir!"

Can I get an "Amen!"

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