Michael Eric Dyson calls out President Obama for his response to Michael Brown’s killing
Michael Eric Dyson admonished President Obama today as he subbed for Ed Schultz on The Ed Show. He was not at all happy with the intensity with which President Obama addressed the Michael Brown killing. He believes President Obama has the skills to take on the issue of police violence on minority communities.
The Presidents commentary on Ferguson cast a neutrality that ignored the reality. Police must protect and serve. This is not selective or subjective responsibility. President Obama failed in his leadership to say what he really knows and as lived as a black man in America.
Mr. Obama you know this is deeper than Michael Brown. This is about the constant harassment to which Black people, and Brown people, and others are subject. This is about an unjust criminal justice system that continues to demonize black boys and girls. This is about you understanding in your own body and skin where you live existentially the plight and predicament of Black people who are being surveilled by and occupied by a police force that refuses to acknowledge their fundamental humanity.
You are a constitutional scholar. You know that this nation has not done just by its people as the vox populi, as the voice of the people. As the person that we depend upon to tell truth, in the two years you have left you must relinquish your fear. You must stand up and tell the truth as only you can do. You wrote of the most brilliant biographies of self-autobiographical narratives, memoirs, told the truth about what it means to confront a complicated Black identity.
We cannot let President Obama off the hook because we know he is capable of pushing a larger and necessary dialogue of race injustice in this country. Yes you may take a hit. But you take a hit when you talk about Iraq. You take a hit when you talk about gay marriage. You take a hit when you talk about what happens in the environment. So please sir stand up for another section of the population, the very people from whom you emerge and by whom you are represented across the nation.
You gave a press conference talking about Iraq and a people who were a minority people under siege in a community. There was another on in America under siege and you failed them sir. I say this as your friend and I love you and a surrogate twice, but step up and be brave and courageous.
The reality is President Obama is damned if he does and damned if he does not. Given those choices Michael Eric Dyson may just be right. There may be no upside to trying to appease the sensibilities of quasi-racists and racist for fear of what it would do in the 2014 election. The reality, speaking out against the systemic attack by police on Blacks, Browns, and the poor may empower a sleeping giant.