Michael Eric Dyson Interview: The Ugly Truth

Michael Eric Dyson: Breakfast Club Interview (February 2017)

Michael Eric Dyson makes very intriguing points in his Breakfast Club Interview. He integrated how prominent racial factors are in popular culture and African-American. Some people like to say how “racism is dead,” but Dyson examines how racial antagonism is instrumental in the reduction of Black success and ingenuity. He states that he sees whiteness as a construction. He also made an interesting notion that white privilege hurts white people as much as it hurts people of color. I cannot say that I agree with this statement simply because I do not believe that he explains himself enough. I do not understand how white people can suffer from their own construction as much as Black people. When a Black man is killed for being Black, how does the white man suffer just as much? How does a white woman feel the same pain as a Black woman who falls to maternal mortality due to inequity of medical resources?

Dyson also discusses how the renowned Grammy snub was bigger than Adele and Beyoncé. I agree that supporting Beyoncé does not equate to degrading Adele. White people have to realize that their privilege and power keeps equally or more qualified Black people from reaching the same success. Beyoncé has to deal with intersecting consequences as a black woman along with her craft being discounted. This is not to say that Adele’s album was not great. The point to be made is that like Beyoncé, black artists have historically been forced to deal with their craft being labeled as inept just because whiteness has been constructed as being superior. That is, Dyson posits that the epicenter of Beyoncé’s snub is centered around white supremacy more so than talent. Yes, Beyoncé is the greatest entertainer in current times, much more so than Adele, with sonically invaluable integrations. Unfortunately, her race has been socially and culturally limiting.

Dyson critiques the misogyny and patriarchy within hip-hop and the defenders of it, calling them “unwoke negros”. He points in particular to the objectification of black women and speaks on the power of black women, claiming that they are the group who has fought the hardest for the rights and lives of black men, including black men themselves. He also speaks on the hypocrisy that black men have towards black women, citing how several black men will hold their mother in the highest of regards while calling other black women “bitches” and “hoes”. I agree with Dyson’s argument that this logic is backwards. While rappers may call these women “bitches” and “hoes”, these same women oftentimes become the mother of their own children and the cycle of logic continues. How do you teach your son to respect their mother while still calling her such offensive titles? We must fight against this way of thinking by holding artists accountable in addition to educating the youth about respect.

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Khailah Bell

Khailah Bell

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