Michael Eric Dyson on President Obama

Watch this edgy and controversial video of Michael Eric Dyson commenting on the first 100 days of the President!

What do you think about Dyson’s thoughts on President Obama? Is he right?  Freestyle with me, has the black community given President Obama a free pass without any critique or accountability?

Published by Drew G. I. Hart, PhD

Drew G. I. Hart is a theology professor in the Biblical & Religious Studies department at Messiah College with ten years of pastoral experience. Hart majored in Biblical Studies at Messiah College as an undergraduate student, he attained his M.Div. with an urban concentration from Missio Seminary in Philadelphia, and he received his Ph.D. in theology and ethics from Lutheran Theological Seminary-Philadelphia. Drew was born and raised in Norristown, Pa and has lived extensively in Philadelphia and Harrisburg, PA as well. Dr. Hart’s dissertation research explored how Christian discipleship, as framed by Black theologies and contemporary Anabaptist theologies, gesture the Church towards untangling the forces of white supremacy and the inertia of western Christendom which have plagued its witness in society for too long. As two traditions that emerged from the underside of violent and oppressive western Christian societies, he found Black theology and Anabaptism each repeatedly turning to the particularity of Jesus in the gospel narratives. From that arises an ethic of solidarity with the oppressed and pursuing liberation in Black theology and an ethic of radical peacemaking and ecclesial nonconformity in the Anabaptist tradition. Each challenge the violent and oppressive logics of mainstream western Christianity and salvage the call to follow the way of Christ. Together in dialogue they deepen our analysis of the churches failures and the need for Jesus-shaped repentance. His work beyond teaching and writing has included pastoring in Harrisburg and Philadelphia, working for an inner-city afterschool program for black and brown middle school boys, delivering lectures and leading anti-racism workshops, collaborating with local faith-based organizers and activists in his city, and doing a broad range of public theology. He is also a co-leader for a local Harrisburg faith-based relational network called FREE Together which has collaborated with POWER Interfaith, MILPA, the Shut Down Berks Detention Center movement, and a little with the Poor People’s Campaign. Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism by Drew Hart, has received great reviews by Publisher’s Weekly and Englewood Review of Books. Endorsing this resource, Shane Claiborne said, “This book is a gift from the heart of one of the sharpest young theologians in the United States. Hold it carefully, and allow it to transform you--and our blood-stained streets.” As a text, Trouble I’ve Seen utilizes personal and everyday stories, Jesus-shaped theological ethics, and anti-racism frameworks to transform the church’s understanding and social witness. Trouble I’ve Seen focuses on white supremacy as an overarching framework for understanding racism, with careful attention to its systemic and socializing dimensions. However, unlike sociology textbooks on the subject Dr. Hart also considers the subversive vocation of Jesus and the nonviolent yet revolutionary implications his life ought to have for his followers today. His newest book project is entitled Who Will Be a Witness?: Igniting Activism for God’s Justice, Love, and Deliverance and will be published September 1, 2020. Who Will Be A Witness? invites the church to liberate its centuries long captivity to supremacist practices, and to expand its restricted political imagination in view of Jesus’ messianic reign. The book guides disciples of Jesus into joining God’s delivering presence through scriptural reasoning, historical reflection, practical theology for congregational life, social change theory, and the Christian call to love our neighbor. It is written for congregations, leaders, and students that understand that pursuing God’s justice goes way beyond waiting around for electoral seasons to come around. It is about the ongoing vocation of the Church right now, at the grassroots level, seeking after the wellbeing of their neighbors through faithful, strategic, and concrete action. Drew recently joined the Inverse Podcast team serving as a cohost along with Australian peace activist Jarrod Mckenna. Together they interview interesting people and explore how scripture can turn our ethical imagination and the violent and unjust systems of our world upside-down, which contrasts with interpreting the Bible as a tool for the status quo. Dr. Drew Hart was the recipient of bcmPEACE’s 2017 Peacemaker Award, a 2019 W.E.B. Dubois Award from a Disciples of Christ congregation, and in October 2019, Dr. Hart was chosen as Elizabethtown College’s 2019 Peace Fellow. Each award recognized him for his local and national justice work and public theology. You can find Drew Hart on Twitter and Facebook, or you can catch him as he travels and speaks regularly across the country to colleges, conferences, and churches. Drew and Renee, and their three boys (Micah, Dietrich, and Vincent) live in Harrisburg, PA and attend Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren.

8 thoughts on “Michael Eric Dyson on President Obama

  1. I have serious problem with Michael Eric Dyson: he is not an original. Nary an original thought has ever escaped that man’s lips in my hearing–ever!
    I don’t know of any other way to put it.
    Hungry for something original and empowering I have been much more of a John McWhorter, Shelby Steele, Thomas Sowell, Debra Dickerson and Juan Williams kind of fan.
    Now that feels subversive! That is something that can challenge me.
    And don’t forget Stanley Crouch either…

  2. A lot of things have been said about Dyson… but unoriginal, that is a new one for me. Have you actually read any of his stuff? I see you are well read among black conservatives, do you dislike Cornel West, bel hooks, and Henry Louis Gates as well, or is it just Dyson?

    Anyway, you didn’t really dialogue with Dyson… what specifically did you think about what he said? I am less concerned about the Dyson, the man, and more concerned with people dialoguing about what he said, whether they liked it or not… any thing you would like to add to the conversation?

    1. 1. Like DR said all he peddles is victimhood. That is what is unoriginal about him. The idea that unless all White people like us we will never be able to succeed. Isn’t that all we have ever heard?
      That is his box and he does not think outside of it. Anything “original” he says is a spin on that theme.

      (For example hasn’t the “when you’re black and famous you have to suck up to White people” thing been done for everyone from Tiger Woods to Oprah?)

      I don’t want to see myself as a victim anymore.

      2. Secondly why are we still looking for some Messiah to “save” us as black people? (Even though he denies this at the end!)

      Why is he still fostering this idea that salvation comes from the government?

      The single biggest redemption of black people in America would be the restoration of the traditional family as a norm. That fact is backed up by everything we know to date about social science. Does he ever talk about the black family at all? I haven’t heard. And if he does, is it anything other than “racism is destroying the black family”?

      We need to move away from racism being the single largest definer of the black American experience. Black African and West Indian immigrants to the United States have a phenomenal rate of achievement that says that the capacity of other African-Americans is also unlimited (or t least is far higher than it shows). In fact, history shows this. Even during the dark days of Reconstruction and the days of Jim Crow, blacks have thrived wherever they have had family.

      3. Henry Louis Gates is leagues above West and Dyson (who are celebrities–no more).
      Nothing is wrong with studying racism either. There is lots we can learn about human nature through this study and it has brought consciousness to many different issues like white privilege, portrayals of blacks in TV and on advertisements, unconscious bias, the Magic Negro and other such things which remain important.

      However, there are other dimensions to the black experience in America that are far more important to highlight.
      How long does it take for talk about blacks being degraded by others for people to internalize it and view themselves that way?

      4. As a Christian I think we downplay the idea of destiny being controlled by God–not by external forces.
      We need not to lose sight of that.
      My potential cannot be hindered by racism (real or theoretical) if my future is in God’s hands.

      5. I challenge you to do some reading on the other side. I didn’t always think the way I think now; but after that I felt a lot more comfortable and unapologetic about who I was in many ways and helped me beat back decisively any inferiority complexes I might have picked up along the lines of being black.

      You don’t have to agree with everything Sowell et al says. But that is the brilliance of it–it allows you to feel free to come up with your own understanding of the issues surrounding being black in the world. You can be your own Dyson!

      Thanks for being gracious to me. God bless you and may He appear soon to sort out this mess!

  3. Sorry to delete the last comment… but there are limits to how much I will allow people to ramble and not engage with the particular post material. Feel free to repost.

    1. How come Dyson can say the word “black” that many times in his own rant and when I quote him I’m rambling?
      Ok, it’s your blog.
      My point was simply to show Dyson’s excess by quoting it. Once a person can wade through the verbal deluge of Dyson’s name calling, whining and decrying the victomhood of SOME in the black community the listener hears that he’s not happy with the President because he hasn’t done enough for a specific portion of the American public.
      How blind can one be?
      Did Dyson actually think Barack Obama was ever going to do for Blacks?
      Dyson should have asked me – I could have told him Obama never cared a WHIT about anyone and wasn’t about to do anything unless it increased HIS position, HIS control and HIS power.
      Where was Dyson when Obama threw Pastor Wright under the bus? Where was Dyson when Obama threw his own grandmother under the bus?
      None of this was enough for Dyson to realize that Obama sees people (any people) as simply a means to his end.
      You remember the movie “Casablanca”? The French Policeman hears that there is gambling going on in Rick’s establishment . . . “I’m shocked!!!” he says.
      Obama isn’t doing anything for the Black community???
      Oh Wow! – I’m shocked!!!
      Is Dyson niave or just willfully ignorant? Me thinks he doth protest too much… but since his shtick to to foment the victimhood of blacks – this was just him doing what he does for a living.
      I’m thinking Dyson probably does and always did know Obama isn’t going to do for the black community and is secretly happy because this only helps Dyson’s ability to increase his own following.
      With Obama it’s all about control and power.
      I think that with Dyson, it’s about the ratings.

  4. i like the comment he said about not worrying about reverse racism, he is more concerned with racism that is in drive.

    i think obama is tackling a lot of issues already, the economy and health care, international relations. he does not seem to be afraid or unwilling to address certain issues. he does not seem to shy away from some controversial issues, however he also knows how to skirt around some issues too. i think gay rights people are feeling a bit disappointed with him too at this point. so what all is really on his agenda? time will tell i guess

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