Michael Eric Dyson

By: Joseph Jankowski |

Georgetown Professor Michael Eric Dyson is proposing the idea that white people should have an ‘Individual Reparations Account’ to make donations to black institutions and individuals.

The idea is part of his forthcoming book, “Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America.”

Dyson made the argument during an interview with Ana Marie Cox in the January 8 edition of the New York Times Magazine.

From the interview:

At the end of your sermon, you do a “benediction” section, in which you talk about making reparations on the local and individual level: donating to groups like the United Negro College Fund or a scholarship program, but also, to cite your example from the book, paying “the black person who cuts your grass double what you might ordinarily pay.” That gave me pause!

Good! I used to say in church, “If the sermon ain’t making you a little bit uncomfortable, it ain’t effective.” Look, if it doesn’t cost you anything, you’re not really engaging in change; you’re engaging in convenience. You’re engaged in the overflow. I’m asking you to do stuff you wouldn’t ordinarily do. I’m asking you to think more seriously and strategically about why you possess what you possess.

I agree with reparations, but maybe this is my white privilege speaking: I can’t imagine actually doing that. 

That is what I meant by an I.R.A.: an individual reparations account. You ain’t got to ask the government, you don’t have to ask your local politician — this is what you, an individual, conscientious, “woke” citizen can do.

But charity can’t be the end of it, right? The Koch brothers gave the United Negro College Fund $25 million, but I doubt you would consider them “woke.” 

No. Martin Luther King Jr. believed that charity is a poor substitute for justice. But I ain’t turning $25 million down.

Dyson believes his book will reach out to “the ocean of white folk” who are “deeply empathetic to the struggles of minorities.”

The professor and former MSNBC contributor told the NYT that his book opens with “horror stories” about his engagement with police. He says that those types of experiences with law enforcement are even shared by prominent black politicians like Barrack Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder.

“The reality is that this is part and parcel of what it means to be black in America, and I wanted to spend time talking and thinking about it from a number of different perspectives to show white brothers and sisters that we aren’t making this up,” Dyson said.

According to the official George Town University website, from 2008 to 2014, Dyson taught Social Science classes titled “Barack Obama and Race,” “Hip Hop Culture: Orig/Mean/Conseq,” and “Hip Hop: URB THEODICY JAY-Z.”

Carlos Lozada, a non-fiction book critic for The Washington Post, effectively summarizes the inflammatory nature of Dyson’s book:

Dyson makes clear that he regards much of white America as a pernicious force. “We can do nothing to make our tormentors stop their evil,” Dyson laments to the Almighty. “How can we possibly combat the blindness of white men and women who are so deeply invested in their own privilege that they cannot afford to see how much we suffer?”

He likens law enforcement officers to terrorists (“We think of the police who kill us for no good reason as ISIS”) and slave drivers (“The police car is a mobile plantation”). He admits that he’d like to pay violence back in kind. “Lord, Dear Lord, I don’t want to feel this way, but I swear to you I want to kill dead any Godforsaken soul who thinks that killing black people is an acceptable price to pay for keeping this nation safe. But then, am I any better than that soul?” And, in shades of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Dyson calls on God to “convict” America. “May this land know your displeasure, taste your holy wrath, for killing us like pigs without conscience,” he writes.

In December, Dyson wrote a racially charged piece for the New York Times titled, “What Donald Trump Doesn’t Know About Black People,” in which he accused the President-Elected of having a “vast ignorance of black life” and claimed that the “greatest purveyors of identity politics today, and for the bulk of our country’s history, have been white citizens.”

A similar call for reparations was advocated by Duke University Public Policy Professor and reparations advocate Dr. William “Sandy” Darity in 2014.

Darity advocated that anyone who could prove that one of their ancestors was a slave and that they self-identified as African-American would be eligible to receive publicly funded reparations.


Joseph Jankowski is a contributor for His works have been published by recognizable alternative news sites like,, and 

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  • Ginai Doma

    Let me ask you a question for those who think they should have reparations. Were you a slave? No! Was your parents slaves? No! Were your grandparents slaves? No!

    • cardcarryingmemberzillion

      Well, at least you maintain a rational civil dialog unlike the earlier responders to this post. We need more civility and reason.

  • iprazhm

    This is after the racist Congressional Black Caucus calls for the same. Folks, with the massive income redistributions already set in place, this promises to send us on the quick path to losing our nation and becoming a third world country. If implemented, Venezuela here we come, oh so much sooner.

    • David C. Lannan

      Not going to happen. We already have reparations – it’s called affirmative action, it’s called welfare, it’s called scholarship funds and so many other ways we have tried to help. (Not that all black people use welfare). Welfare was one of the worst things we did to this country because people took temporary assistance and turned it into a generational career path.

      • iprazhm

        Everything you listed was unconstitutional legalized income redistribution (theft). The vast majority thought those racist policies would or could never be implemented. They were wrong. So much evil has been done in the last half century or so, nothing surprises me. The only way to stop bad law, is believe it could happen and fight against it before it becomes law. This proves forces heck bent on changing America into something bad, have no intention of taking a break.

  • iprazhm

    This is the negro version of the Jizya.

  • bendedi

    That black piece of garbage alleged professor needs to have his hole reamed out with a cactus barrel plant. What the hell kind of garbage is he spewing? If they feel they are owed something, perhaps, it should be a ticket back to Africa. I will gladly pay for a black person to go back to his country. However, I doubt very much that the leaders of those black places will take them back. I am sure they know how they act where they live outside of Africa.

    • David C. Lannan

      Africa doesn’t want him back … they are more civilized than many of those crying about white privilege and reparations. I have been around refugees from Africa and they have so much more class, so much more respect than many of the ones who grew up here. Maybe it’s because they haven’t had to listen to the racist garbage from people like this professor or the reverends of racism. Maybe it is because they are grateful to get away from the real persecution they experienced in Africa. Maybe they haven’t been here long enough to experience the racial tensions between the races.

      • bendedi

        You are so right. I met several blacks from West Africa who were appalled at the behavior of the blacks in the US.

  • David C. Lannan

    I’ve got news for you – I am empathetic to the plight of the black community that actually went through slavery and segregation and other horrors. Today’s blacks with their hands out for reparations? Not so much. The only slavery you are involved in is your hatred of white people and your enslavement to entitlement – expecting the government or someone else to “make amends” for a past you had nothing to do with. So just how much do you think each individual white American owes you? How much do you think it takes to wipe clean the slate of the past? If I were your ancestors I would be insulted. There is no amount of money that could make up for the injustices. It was wrong. It was horrific. And today’s white people had nothing to do with it. So, go get a job, earn your own way and quit expecting reparations from people who had nothing to do with the past to a people that didn’t live through it. We have the NAACP, we have all sorts of black groups that offer scholarships, we have affirmative action (which is wrong by the way – nobody owes you a job just because of your skin color. People should be hired based on their ability. If you aren’t qualified for the job, go get qualified – go to school, go get some trade school training). That’s not racist – that’s just telling it like it is. I have a lot of respect for those in the black community who have ignored race baiters like Al Sharpton and have made something out of themselves without expecting handouts. And if you really want to improve race relations? Condemn hate groups like Black Lives Matter. Of course black lives matter – not just the ones shot by white police officers, but the brothers who are killed by other brothers, too. ALL lives matter – all includes every race.

    • cardcarryingmemberzillion

      Black lives matter is not a hate group (at least that was never the intention of its founders). Police brutality against Black people is a real problem (doesn’t mean there isn’t police brutality against other people, but I think Black people are often the “canary in the coal mine” when it comes to evidence of social injustice. I’m white, but I’ve known many Black people who have jobs – often multiple jobs – and still struggle hard to make ends meet, have problems due to being poor and living in poor communities including lack of infrastructure (everything from inadequate schools and transportation to the infamous Flint Water Crisis, etc.). Truly I don’t know how reparations for something as many generations ago as slavery would work, but reparations for things like Jim Crow, housing discrimination (redlining) job discrimination when a Black person is as equally qualified as someone else: all these are things which might be legitimate for reparations. Only thing is that how many people can afford a top notch lawyer to make this case, and even if I or some other well-intentioned person were a lawyer what are the chances that we could afford to handle this type of law, the type that actually deals with justice, rather than advocacy for whoever has the most money to afford legal fees – most law school graduates, as well as most graduates of higher education – have huge student loans to pay back, so the main concern has to be a high paying job rather than one which “rights the wrongs”. When I say that the deck is always stacked against poor people – often hard-working people – of all races I’m not just whining, I’m stating an undeniable fact. Any ideas for solutions

      • Tom Cat

        Statistically, the group that victimizes blacks the most is… blacks. Far and beyond any other, at that. In the millions of police encounters every year, only fractions of a percent are violent. Uniform Crime Report is pretty consistent in this. I’d love to see sources for the real problem of police brutality you describe.

        • cardcarryingmemberzillion

          I don’t deny the problem that Black people commit crimes against one another. All I was originally doing was taking issue with some of the other people who posted to this forum and expressed the stereotype about Black people being lazy and having an entitlement mentality (eg. because of slavery). I’m well aware that there are a lot of black people who commit violent crimes (as is true of people of any race) but there are also many who are law abiding citizens trying to survive living in violent neighborhoods that they can’t afford to leave. I also hear a lot about kids thinking they need to join gangs or carry weapons for protection against the existing gangs, so it’s a problem which perpetuates itself. I can barely imagine how scary it must be to be poor and black. I would like to see all poor people, especially young people of all races (because there are certainly violent white young people) given alternatives before they begin to think that violence is the only way to protect themselves from other violence. This means that it’s not enough for police, school resource officers, etc. to try not to escalate tension in poor communities, but also to redirect children when they are still young enough to be persuaded by their elders to make good choices. It means letting these and all children know that actions have consequences, but that they can call upon adults and especially law enforcement, school administration, etc. for protection if they are being threatened with violence in school, at home (we need better child protective services also), or wherever. This is the best way I can think of to break the cycle of violence. Thoughts?

          • Tom Cat

            I’m a police officer who primarily works in the ghettos in my city, so yes I have some thoughts.

            1) Fix the welfare system. Regular drug testing, proof of active seeking of employment, proof of US citizenship, aggressive prosecution of welfare fraud. Give tax breaks/credits for those on welfare for that first year.

            2) Aggressive community pressure on parents to start parenting again. Campaign in churches, schools, everywhere. Get parents involved again. The absolute most critical factor in the jits I deal with is absentee parents. Kids who lack strong role models at home will find them elsewhere, and if they are in a bad neighborhood or have bad parents The Who do you think they will emulate?

            3) Put resource officers in elementary schools, reinstate corporal punishment, and get the youth of our country used to being respectful and knowing actions have consequences. Start teaching pride in one’s accomplishments and rewarding kids that actively strive to improve. Make it easier for children to be moved to schools schools that are more appropriate for them.

            3) End institutionalized racism. Affirmative action, race-based scholarships, etc. Return the country to a meritocracy. Famous folks like Dr. Ben Carson and Oprah Winfrey overcame impoverishment and became extremely successful through hard work and perseverance, as have countless first responders and servicemen. If we need “black role models”, let’s make it then and not rappers who sing of slinging dope in the thug life.

            4) Institute e-verify and crack down on companies that have illegal employment practices. The short term market hurt that will come from this is a badly needed correction and it will return jobs that can give youth more options than fast food and retail.

            5) Overhaul our universities. Stop discriminatory recruitment, bring professor wages and tuition costs under control, and start prioritizing US citizens over foreign nationals in universities. Also put more effort into promoting trade schools: welding, plumbing, electrical work, etc. Traditional blue collar jobs. This would work hand in hand with making sure Americans are working in this segment of the workforce.

            I’m sure I can come up with more but those would be a damned good start. Targeting certain groups of people will never work as well as promoting the betterment of all.

          • MrsRanMac

            The state of MO has gone too far though…
            They have made ALL school fights a felony…if I read the article correct. I believe that this is going too far..

      • Cole Bachelor

        OH So Blacks are the only ones have inadequate infrastructure ?
        Go to Appalachia, sir. Until then STFU, crybaby !

        • cardcarryingmemberzillion

          OK good point, but about the reparations for housing discrimination (redlining) Jim Crow, etc….

          • Cole Bachelor

            Where are the reparations ? It is called BILLIONS SPENT on welfare, free housing, grants for minorities, welfare to work tax breaks so businesses will hire them, ECT over the last 40+ years.
            A Question. In public H.S./college history courses–are they teaching current history (the 80s, 90s, 2000s) or are they stopping at 1968 and a lib slanted comment about racism BS today ?

      • David C. Lannan

        I am glad you acknowledged that not only black people are facing poverty problems. Again, expecting people who had nothing to do with the discrimination to pay for the sins of others is not the answer. If we truly want to see an improvement we have to quit playing the race card, the white privilege card and be willing to have an honest dialogue – instead of retreating into safe spaces to hide from those awful devils, the white people. And yes, Black Lives Matter is a terrorist group at the level of the KKK – now anyway. It may not have started that way. For starters, how about acknowledging that ALL black lives matter – not just the small number killed by “racist” cops who are hunting black people for sport (NOT). More blacks are killed by other blacks than by any other race. More whites are killed by blacks than by their own race. Let’s quit hiding behind false media narratives and actually look at reality. But I am not saying all black people are racist, or violent or criminal. But by that same token neither are all white people racist – even the police being accused of it.

        The solution is jobs. And while the struggle is real sometimes with a black person getting a good education and then a good job, it can be done. No race should be forced to have to rely on welfare because they cannot find work. Unfortunately, in all races today we have some lazy people who think welfare is a career path…

        We are not going to find solutions as long as black people consider every white person a devil, a racist or white supremacist or someone who should be guilty for being white.

        Here’s a start – and many won’t want to hear it. We need to bring back family – a home with an involved mother and father. Too many, statistically, black homes have no father – he has run off, has been murdered or is in jail – sometimes justified and sometimes with a harsher sentence than a white person guilty of the same crime – let’s start there. Reduce sentencing disparities. And we need to go back to the days when families went to church, believed in God, tried to follow God’s Word. Too many people have rejected God and are worshipping at the altar of easy money – drug dealing and other crime. We need to fix this problem, too. And it starts in the home. Show the value of a good education and good honest work – and then work towards it.

      • disqus_iWKKOfp8PD

        You are an idiot. I know for a fact (I have seen it first hand), that unqualified black people get hired ahead of qualified whites, all in the name of affirmative action. I was actually told I was the wrong color for the job in a PD hiring process that hired more than 40, and was passed over for employment even though I was ranked 18. Some of the minorities who were hired were actually ranked in the 100s. I came from nothing and worked my ass off to make a better life for my family to ensure I could raise my kids in a safe environment. Anyone can do it, and those who don’t, are just lazy and prefer to take handouts from the government. Also, a person chooses to break the law to get ahead instead of working hard, and therefore any run ins with the law are their own doing. If a piece of garbage doesn’t obey the a police officer’s commands, and gets killed in the process, good riddance.

        • cardcarryingmemberzillion

          I can see that you have a legitimate complaint about affirmative action. I do think jobs need to be based on merit and that we need to move toward being a color blind society. However, before you conclude that I am an “idiot” let me ask you, when you say you “came from nothing”, does that include having to dodge cross-fires, drug dealers, etc. much of the time? How does a person manage that? Maybe you can help me understand if you have experienced this. Also, hard work to get ahead is important, but how long before you ruin your health from lack of sleep, nutrition, etc. The reason I’m asking is to learn how a person manages it. Still, at the same time, I continue to believe lots of people try to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and still can’t make it alone despite their best efforts – I know I’ve tried several times to work multiple jobs, and did my best, but was so tired I made honest mistakes or wasn’t fast enough and was let go. Only the strongest make it. I know nobody owes another person anything, but I hate to think we’re a society where the weaker people whose best isn’t good enough will get trampled on by the strongest.

          • MrsRanMac

            Through the “came from nothing” and “the bad neighborhoods with gangs and gunfire”

            I give You Dr. Ben Carson…

      • Robert Pohlman

        Change black culture, select better black leaders, get a better education, assimilate into America as so many legal immigrants have done. I specifically address one of your issues – I was born and raised in Newark, NJ. When blacks moved in from the south with no skills they needed housing. They burned down the subsidized Marshall Projects built for them; the government then built townhouse, these were also burnt down. Where blacks go the neighborhoods deteriorate, so is it really discrimination. Working blacks, whites and Hispanics want to protect their most valuable property, their home. My parents were immigrants and worked several jobs for the family, it was hard but we made it. Our fourth generation will have so much more then we had because of hard work…

  • OrlandoRican

    Boo. Hoo. This guy is a racist and is part of the problem. His solution, like all liberals, is to throw money at any problem.

  • Henry J. Gilbertson

    screw you spook

  • Ron

    The black Kings sold them into slavery, they sold there own people, the “whites” had nothing to do with putting them into slavery. The only slavery you are involved in is your hatred of white people and your enslavement to entitlement – expecting the government or someone else to “make amends” for a past you had nothing to do with. So just how much do you think each individual white American owes you? There is no amount of money that could make up for the injustices. It was wrong. But I don’t owe you anything and today’s white people had nothing to do with it. So, get off you ass go to school, go get a job, earn your own way and quit expecting reparations from people who had nothing to do with the past to a people that didn’t live through it. We have the NAACP, we have all sorts of black groups that offer scholarships, we have affirmative action (which is wrong by the way – nobody owes you a job just because of your skin color. People should be hired based on their ability. If you aren’t qualified for the job, go get qualified – go to school, go get some trade school training). That’s not racist – that’s just telling it like it is. I have a lot of respect for those in the black community who have ignored race baiters like Al Sharpton and have made something out of themselves, without expecting handouts they went out got educated and did the work them selves. David Lannan you are right.

  • Robert Cowger

    Okay, if you are interested: First – they must have come from a line of slaves. Proven.
    No manumission before 1865. Second – no white blood in their line. Third – the requestor must have never be imprisoned for any crime. Fourth – the requestor must have completed high school with a diploma available.
    Okay then get started.

  • Eric

    Perfect – from a Social Science teacher who taught classes like “Barack Obama and Race” and “Hip Hop Culture”. A stellar example of our education programs today. He no longer contributes to MSNBC – makes you wonder why he’s no longer doing that.

  • Linda

    Here’s a novel idea : Black people that are not working, only complaining about their grandparents being under slavery, get off your duff and get a job. No white person owes you anything. I was raised in a poor white family, but I was taught to work hard, go to school, respect all people, live within the law of the land, and don’t blame my failures on someone else. I worked hard, paid for my own college, and didn’t expect someone else to give me a free ride.

    • cardcarryingmemberzillion

      Tues, strong family is key.

      • cardcarryingmemberzillion

        I meant yes, strong family is key.

  • Notgonnafullme

    I’ll donate some belts so they can keep their pants up.

  • Rick Hammond

    Let’s see here. I think Blacks should pay restitution to whites so they can create equal number of white only organizations. Balance is not fair in your book? You call Mexicans white now..Chinese white..anyone other than black you call white as if it is a bargaining chip. maybe you would think tice if whites began playing the knock out game and also gang jumping blacks and such activity you seem to promote with your first word of race baiting crap that only has the purpose to anger people into bad decisions. It is people like you that need to STFU or come talk your crud face to face you coward.

  • sasquatch1313

    Hmmm. Let’s see. My ancestors immigrated to the US in 1821. Farmed next to lake Erie. Never owned a slave. Fought in the Union. Great, great grandfather lost his right arm at the elbow and his left leg at the knee. His brother, a saber cut from the crown of his head to his chin, lost the sight in that eye. After the war, they moved west, homesteaded. They worked hard the rest of their lives despite their impairments. Apparently both had PTSD (“spells’) as well. The way I see it if reparations are due only seems fair that the Afro-americans pay my great great grandfather’s many descendants as well as other Union families that fought for their freedom.

  • IrreverentOne

    Grew up in a city in Minnesota. There were ten of us in a two bedroom, cold water flat in Minneapolis. My parents both worked and my older sisters took care of us younger kids. Never had much in the way of “stuff” but we always had a roof over our heads, we always had food to eat, and we always had clean clothes. I believe that the missing element in society today is the family. More than half of all children born today are born to single mothers. These mothers are more than likely to be poor, under-educated, and live in the inner cities.
    I believe that the main cause of the problems we face to day can be traced back to the policies of the Democratic party and the administration of Lyndon Baines Johnson. The so-called Great Society envisioned by Johnson and those who followed has provided us with a populace more divided by race, gender, and economics than ever before. Other administrations that have followed have done nothing to halt the slide into mediocrity.
    Can this be stopped?

  • John Magee

    I hope Meryl Streep is the first to volunteer.

  • windy2

    How long before dumb Americans figure out that they’ve already spent $15 Trillion on LBJ’s war on poverty, that has lasted over 50 years, and they have nothing to show for it?

    Think about it LBJ declared war on poverty over 50 years ago. Can anyone imagine the Vietman War still going on after 50 years? It would be completely insane right? Yet after 50 years we’ve insanely kept funding a war on poverty with zero progress. Will sanity ever be considered in addressing poverty or are we to remain “useful idiots” in the war on poverty?

    IPersonally I will not be starting an IRA to mindlessly provide money to morons who make zero progress against poverty. I would only be enabling the infinite war that nobody has a plan to win so why bother, why continue to enable failure? We can give all the money in the world to the people engaged in the war on poverty and the result will be the same 50 years from now as it was after the first 50 years. FAILURE!!!!!!!!!!!

    Time to do something different. Time to stop being stupid.

  • Robert Pohlman

    Decades of handouts to blacks from the federal and state governments should offset any reparations. They should be paid for what – Republican Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation, and the 600,000 soldiers who died to make blacks free, should also be enough. And what does Dyson teach? His courses speak to nothing for blacks to excel and denigrates the Americans black and white that made this country. He is another black false prophet.

  • Todd Perry

    If that is how he really feels then maybe ALL African Americans should have their own to give to whites who fought and died to Free them from their slavery since blacks had slavery a long time before whites did..

  • TruthInLogic

    ALL non whites need to pay royalty fees for ALL the inventions and technical developments that enable modern society, as they were ALL almost exclusively invented by white males. SO NON-WHITES, PAY UP.

  • RevnantDream

    Another tenured Cuck. This guy just dived into the pool with no water in the deep end. Hey crazy man what about anyone who never owned slaves or those who did to free them. I guess 50 years of welfare for most of these guys is not enough crack for them free. Isn’t it racist to point out one people as the enemy & perpetrators of all evil like say the kkk. To include one people as the font of all evil. By the way don’t see you in Africa living in a hut. America has been kind to you.You ever think of the white rural poor, not the welfare ghetto blacks killing each other in Chicago on mostly white tax payers dime to not work but invest in a gangster drug culture? Where is their accounts for the peoples lives destroyed today?

  • MindWarrior

    Take the whole of history in perspective. No matter what has happened or does happen…would it be better in Africa today??

  • Bob

    When should I expect my reparations from the black gangs when I was a teen jumping me and pummeling me cause I was a white patty, honkey. Spitting in my face nearly crushing my head stomping me to the ground during the 4th of July fireworks at Franklin Field Park in Dorchester Massachusetts. Or the time a gang of blacks stabbed my neck to steal $1.25 when I was going to the pharmacy to get my disabled brothers meds on Blue Hill ave in Dorchester Massachusetts. How about the time I was defending my 1st grade sister after school from a black bully at the Bulfinch School Dorchester Massachuetts then he sent his 20 y.o. brother to beat me up ( I was 11) my mom had to walk everyday after school to get me, while she carried my baby brother. My family never owned slaves nor would I condone slavery like the black tribes of Africa did. I’m sorry people were slaves, the Jews in middle east, the Irish in their own land to English Crown but some slaves were sold by their own color. Maybe I should sue NAACP for partipation in my beatings indirectly.