God's New Black Lives Matter Book

Michael Eric Dyson's Tears We Cannot Stop, the latest manifesto of black American activists, has been approved by the Holy Spirit, and thus it remains suspect.  This latest addition to the canon comes to us from St. Martin's Press (so you know it's legitimate), has conveniently bypassed all our ecumenical councils, and is spiritually confirmed in the preface by none other than Dyson himself, a gay-affirming Black Lives Mattering NWA-listening Baptist minister.  He writes:

God stood in my way when I tried to write anything, and everything, except what I offer you now. This is written to you, my friends, because I feel led by the Spirit to preach to you.

Against such confidence there can be no argument.  Except...

For a book endorsed by the Holy Spirit, it could have benefited from the use of a dictionary.  The Spirit should know, for instance, that the word bigot isn't the same thing as racist and that a bigot is bad at listening to other ideas, and a racist is bad at accepting other colors of people.  We believe He would also know that a privilege is something enjoyed by a minority at the expense of the majority, not something the average person enjoys while the minority doesn't.  But the Father has forgiven us for our ignorance, so we forgive the Holy Spirit for His.

These minor insults to omniscience aside, Dyson's mimicry of Jesus also leaves much to be desired.  He seems to have never known that, as half a truth is a whole lie, getting half a Jesus is a lot like getting a whole Satan.  The less savory portions of Jesus's ministry, such as His tendency to get invited to dinner parties and ruin them, is recreated tastelessly in Dyson's own speech at the University of North Carolina, when he was invited to a commencement ceremony and proceeded to slander a crowd of horrified matrons.  His reason for doing so was given in the book.  The people who were gathered to send their children off for an education were white and therefore racist.  It was therefore Dyson's mission to chastise them because he is not white, and therefore not a racist.  Paul says everyone must serve a function in the body of Christ, and Dyson is doing an exemplary job playing his role as the worst of the nether regions.

What Dyson seems to have forgotten about the dinner speeches of Christ is that the speeches were given to hypocrites.  The Pharisees of Jesus's day, binding heavy loads for others, hard to bear, but unwilling to lift a finger to help them, had crafted a series of rules that were difficult to follow but self-glorifying to preach.  Dyson, so far as I can tell, is indistinguishable from the Pharisees in his unwillingness to see the log in his own eye before removing the mote in another's.

Dyson states in the book that white novelists shouldn't write about black characters, but black people should be able to rewrite white history.  He believes that whites defending themselves from an accusation is white fragility, but blacks defending themselves from an accusation is anti-racism.  He says there is no such thing as whiteness while "defending blackness" from the thing known as cultural appropriation.  He believes that all whites should be held responsible for history's white oppression, while saying whites should never associate him with our present-day black criminals.  He brings up how often blacks are killed by the police and completely ignores how many more whites (and Hispanics and Asians) are killed and robbed and raped and beaten by blacks.  In one sentence he celebrates the overrepresentation of blacks on the NFL field.  In the next he curses the overrepresentation of whites in NFL offices.  If the Holy Spirit is said to speak in groans that cannot be uttered, in this book He seems especially good at eliciting them.

When Dyson's demands aren't hypocritical, they are ridiculous.  His objection to whites not always having black friends leaves us wondering what exactly he thinks a friend is, or why he thinks good ones are easy to come by, or how 13% of the population (assuming they were all worthy of friendship) could be spread evenly over the rest of us.  He says whites should pay blacks exorbitant amounts to mow our lawns without considering that many of us don't have exorbitant amounts to give away or even yards to mow because we are poor.  He crafts a list of "necessary" black reading so long that the average man would have to throw away his interests in every other subject to actually read it.  Dyson is a minister of Christ, but apparently he is unaware that lifespans have shortened immensely since The Flood.

After putting us through all this, he complains that white people would rather spend time with African immigrants.  This much is a hundred percent true, and it wouldn't be true if it weren't for people like Dyson.  He says, The siege of hate will not end until white folk imagine themselves as black folk.  We would ask him to do the same for us, except he already has – and we would prefer him to have less of an imagination.  Aside from the fact that he believes we have time and money in excess and access to Ivy League schools and legal immunity, we wonder what he imagines racism to be if white racists enjoy spending time with blacks who don't hate them.

To be fair to Dyson, not all of the book is embarrassing.  Some of it showcases his talent as a writer (particularly the chapter on the N-word), and the actual cases of actual white racism he relates are poignant and shocking.  There's even a section on the differences between patriotism and nationalism that deserves to be shared, concerning Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand for the National Anthem.  But as with the rest of the book, the higher his ideals the lower his practice.  He believes that the difference between a patriot and a nationalist is that a patriot holds his country to its ideals and a nationalist throws ideals aside for the pride of his country.  If this is the case, Dyson is wholeheartedly a black nationalist.  He gives principles only to white people.  As the list above shows, there is no standard, no sermon, no ideal for him to be held to except the advancement of blackness itself.  Dyson is a jingo, and white America is his colony.  

As such, the defining factor of this book is his utter lack of moral character.  No black activist would ever consent to a reversal of Dyson's terms, and they know it.  They are well aware that an inversion of his stances would end in total subjection to white supremacy.  Yet Dyson wonders when white people will consider him an equal.  Our answer is that we will: when he learns the Golden Rule and stops trying to make himself our master.

Dyson says this book, written in the style of a church service, is a message from the Spirit.  An endorsement of a Baptist minister by The New York Times and Stephen King and Toni Morrison and a slew of national papers should have been a clue that it came from the Devil.  In writing this backward, hypocritical, sanctimonious, blasphemous, hateful, idiotic, racist, ignorant mess of a book and claiming its endorsement by the Holy Spirit, Rev. Dyson has certainly gained the whole world – and in the process lost his own soul.

Jeremy Egerer is the author of the troublesome essays on Letters to Hannah, and he welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.

Michael Eric Dyson's Tears We Cannot Stop, the latest manifesto of black American activists, has been approved by the Holy Spirit, and thus it remains suspect.  This latest addition to the canon comes to us from St. Martin's Press (so you know it's legitimate), has conveniently bypassed all our ecumenical councils, and is spiritually confirmed in the preface by none other than Dyson himself, a gay-affirming Black Lives Mattering NWA-listening Baptist minister.  He writes:

God stood in my way when I tried to write anything, and everything, except what I offer you now. This is written to you, my friends, because I feel led by the Spirit to preach to you.

Against such confidence there can be no argument.  Except...

For a book endorsed by the Holy Spirit, it could have benefited from the use of a dictionary.  The Spirit should know, for instance, that the word bigot isn't the same thing as racist and that a bigot is bad at listening to other ideas, and a racist is bad at accepting other colors of people.  We believe He would also know that a privilege is something enjoyed by a minority at the expense of the majority, not something the average person enjoys while the minority doesn't.  But the Father has forgiven us for our ignorance, so we forgive the Holy Spirit for His.

These minor insults to omniscience aside, Dyson's mimicry of Jesus also leaves much to be desired.  He seems to have never known that, as half a truth is a whole lie, getting half a Jesus is a lot like getting a whole Satan.  The less savory portions of Jesus's ministry, such as His tendency to get invited to dinner parties and ruin them, is recreated tastelessly in Dyson's own speech at the University of North Carolina, when he was invited to a commencement ceremony and proceeded to slander a crowd of horrified matrons.  His reason for doing so was given in the book.  The people who were gathered to send their children off for an education were white and therefore racist.  It was therefore Dyson's mission to chastise them because he is not white, and therefore not a racist.  Paul says everyone must serve a function in the body of Christ, and Dyson is doing an exemplary job playing his role as the worst of the nether regions.

What Dyson seems to have forgotten about the dinner speeches of Christ is that the speeches were given to hypocrites.  The Pharisees of Jesus's day, binding heavy loads for others, hard to bear, but unwilling to lift a finger to help them, had crafted a series of rules that were difficult to follow but self-glorifying to preach.  Dyson, so far as I can tell, is indistinguishable from the Pharisees in his unwillingness to see the log in his own eye before removing the mote in another's.

Dyson states in the book that white novelists shouldn't write about black characters, but black people should be able to rewrite white history.  He believes that whites defending themselves from an accusation is white fragility, but blacks defending themselves from an accusation is anti-racism.  He says there is no such thing as whiteness while "defending blackness" from the thing known as cultural appropriation.  He believes that all whites should be held responsible for history's white oppression, while saying whites should never associate him with our present-day black criminals.  He brings up how often blacks are killed by the police and completely ignores how many more whites (and Hispanics and Asians) are killed and robbed and raped and beaten by blacks.  In one sentence he celebrates the overrepresentation of blacks on the NFL field.  In the next he curses the overrepresentation of whites in NFL offices.  If the Holy Spirit is said to speak in groans that cannot be uttered, in this book He seems especially good at eliciting them.

When Dyson's demands aren't hypocritical, they are ridiculous.  His objection to whites not always having black friends leaves us wondering what exactly he thinks a friend is, or why he thinks good ones are easy to come by, or how 13% of the population (assuming they were all worthy of friendship) could be spread evenly over the rest of us.  He says whites should pay blacks exorbitant amounts to mow our lawns without considering that many of us don't have exorbitant amounts to give away or even yards to mow because we are poor.  He crafts a list of "necessary" black reading so long that the average man would have to throw away his interests in every other subject to actually read it.  Dyson is a minister of Christ, but apparently he is unaware that lifespans have shortened immensely since The Flood.

After putting us through all this, he complains that white people would rather spend time with African immigrants.  This much is a hundred percent true, and it wouldn't be true if it weren't for people like Dyson.  He says, The siege of hate will not end until white folk imagine themselves as black folk.  We would ask him to do the same for us, except he already has – and we would prefer him to have less of an imagination.  Aside from the fact that he believes we have time and money in excess and access to Ivy League schools and legal immunity, we wonder what he imagines racism to be if white racists enjoy spending time with blacks who don't hate them.

To be fair to Dyson, not all of the book is embarrassing.  Some of it showcases his talent as a writer (particularly the chapter on the N-word), and the actual cases of actual white racism he relates are poignant and shocking.  There's even a section on the differences between patriotism and nationalism that deserves to be shared, concerning Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand for the National Anthem.  But as with the rest of the book, the higher his ideals the lower his practice.  He believes that the difference between a patriot and a nationalist is that a patriot holds his country to its ideals and a nationalist throws ideals aside for the pride of his country.  If this is the case, Dyson is wholeheartedly a black nationalist.  He gives principles only to white people.  As the list above shows, there is no standard, no sermon, no ideal for him to be held to except the advancement of blackness itself.  Dyson is a jingo, and white America is his colony.  

As such, the defining factor of this book is his utter lack of moral character.  No black activist would ever consent to a reversal of Dyson's terms, and they know it.  They are well aware that an inversion of his stances would end in total subjection to white supremacy.  Yet Dyson wonders when white people will consider him an equal.  Our answer is that we will: when he learns the Golden Rule and stops trying to make himself our master.

Dyson says this book, written in the style of a church service, is a message from the Spirit.  An endorsement of a Baptist minister by The New York Times and Stephen King and Toni Morrison and a slew of national papers should have been a clue that it came from the Devil.  In writing this backward, hypocritical, sanctimonious, blasphemous, hateful, idiotic, racist, ignorant mess of a book and claiming its endorsement by the Holy Spirit, Rev. Dyson has certainly gained the whole world – and in the process lost his own soul.

Jeremy Egerer is the author of the troublesome essays on Letters to Hannah, and he welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.

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