Michael Eric Dyson visits KAMII to discuss new book

Author and public intellectual Michael Eric Dyson speaks about his recently published book “Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon To White America,” to a crowd of several hundred people, Jan. 25, at KAM/Isaiah Israel, 1100 E. Hyde Park Blvd.

Marc Monaghan

Staff Writer

Author, academic, professor, and radio host, Michael Eric Dyson met with Natalie Moore journalist and author from WBEZ 91.5 FM to have a conversation about his new book, “Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America.”

The pair spoke in depth to a large crowd about his book, violence in Chicago and President Donald Trump’s response to the violence in Chicago on Wednesday night, Jan. 26, at KAM Isaiah Israel, 1100 E. Hyde Park Blvd.

Dyson said “Tears We Cannot Stop” grew out of an op-ed piece that he wrote for the New York Times last year titled, “Death in Black and White” following the killings of Philando Castile in St. Paul Minn., and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La., who were both killed by police officers.

The format and tone of the book are that of a sermon where Dyson calls for change. He argues that to make racial progress possible that there is need to confront what he refers to as painful truths and to be honest about how black grievance has been ignored, dismissed or discounted.

Dyson said what is happening in regards to gun violence and shootings is heinous but he argued that more attention is shifted to what some refer to as “black-on-black crime” instead of white people who, according to Dyson are more likely to be killed by other white people.

Author and public intellectual Michael Eric Dyson prepares to hand a signed copy of his book “Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon To White America,” to University of Chicago Laboratory Schools’ librarian Jamelle R. St.Clair during a book discussion and signing event at KAM/Isaiah Israel, 1100 E. Hyde Park Blvd., Wednesday, Jan. 25.

Marc Monaghan

“84 percent of white people who are killed are killed by white people,” Dyson said. “There is no discourse about what is happening to White America. We don’t visualize it. We don’t verbalize it.”

There were 765 homicides last year, according to the Chicago Police Department (CPD) 300 more murders than in 2015.

Gun violence in Chicago has been in the spotlight for much of last year. According to the CPD, there have been 42 murders so far this year as of Thursday, Jan. 26.

President Donald Trump has even voiced his opinion on the matter.

Last week he threatened in a tweet to “send the Feds” unless Chicago officials “fix the horrible ‘carnage’ in the city.”

Dyson addressed Trump’s threat. He said federal intervention would cause more harm than good in the city.

He said that federal government presence could “criminalize the people who aren’t criminals” and lock up people who are not “even the most egregious of offenders of the law” leading to an expansion of the “prison industrial complex.”

Dyson also mentioned the scathing 100-plus-page report from the Department of Justice (DOJ) released last month that revealed the troubled past and present of the CPD.

He said the report shows to an extent that city officials were complicit in what was going in the police department.