Hannah and Papa J

Hannah and Papa J

Sunday, September 10, 2017

God's new Black Lives Matter book

Dear Hannah,

Michael Eric Dyson's Tears We Cannot Stop, the latest manifesto of black American activists, has been approved by the Holy Spirit and thus it remains suspect.  Two thousand years have passed since the last books were approved by The Almighty, and since then we have had a lot of pretenders.  This latest addition to the canon comes to us from St. Martin's Press (so you know it's legitimate), has conveniently bypassed all our ecumenical councils, and is spiritually confirmed in the preface by none other than Dyson himself, a gay-affirming Black Lives Mattering NWA listening Baptist minister.  He writes,
God stood in my way when I tried to write anything, and everything, except what I offer you now. This is written to you, my friends, because I feel led by the Spirit to preach to you.
Against such confidence there can be no argument*.  Except...

For a book endorsed by the Holy Spirit it could have benefited from the use of a dictionary.  The Spirit should know, for instance, that a bigot isn't the same thing as a racist; and that a bigot is bad at listening to other ideas, and a racist is bad at accepting other colors of people.  We believe He would also know that a privilege is something enjoyed by a minority at the expense of the majority, not something the average person enjoys while the minority doesn't.  But the Father has forgiven us for our ignorance so we forgive the Holy Spirit for His.

These minor insults to omniscience aside, Dyson's mimicry of Jesus leaves a lot to be desired.  He seems to have never known that, like half a truth is a whole lie, getting half a Jesus is a lot like getting a whole Satan.  The less savory portions of Jesus's ministry, such as His tendency to get invited to dinner parties and ruin them, are recreated tastelessly in Dyson's own speech at the University of North Carolina, when he was invited to a commencement ceremony and proceeded to slander a crowd of innocent matrons.  His reason for doing so was given.  The people who were gathered to send their children off for an education were white and therefore racist.  It was therefore Dyson's mission to chastise them because he is not white, and therefore not a racist.  Paul says that everyone must serve a function in the body of Christ, and Dyson is doing an exemplary job playing his role as the asshole.

What Dyson seems to have forgotten about the dinner speeches of Christ is that the speeches were given to hypocrites.  The Pharisees of Jesus' day, binding heavy loads for others, hard to bear, but unwilling to lift a finger to help them, had crafted a series of rules that were impossible to follow but pompous to preach.  Dyson so far as I can tell is indistinguishable from the Pharisees in his unwillingness to see the log in his own eye before removing the mote in another's.

Dyson states in the book that white novelists shouldn't write about black characters, but black people should be able to rewrite white history.  He believes that whites defending themselves from an accusation is "white fragility," but blacks defending themselves from an accusation is anti-racism.  He says that there is no such thing as whiteness** while defending blackness from the thing known as cultural appropriation.  He believes that all whites should be held responsible for history's white oppression, while saying that whites should never associate him with our present-day black criminals.  He brings up how often blacks are killed by the police and completely ignores how many more whites (and Hispanics and Asians) are killed and robbed and raped and beaten by blacks***.  In one sentence he celebrates the overrepresentation of blacks on the NFL field.  In the next he curses the overrepresentation of whites in NFL offices. In one part he laments the acquittal of George Zimmerman. In another he celebrates the acquittal of O.J. Simpson.  If the Holy Spirit is said to speak in groans that cannot be uttered, in this book He seems especially good at eliciting them.

When Dyson's demands aren't hypocritical they are ridiculous.  His objection to whites not always having black friends leaves us wondering what exactly he thinks a friend is****, or why he thinks good ones are easy to come by, or how 13% of the population (assuming they were all worthy of friendship) could be spread evenly over the rest of us.  He says that whites should pay blacks exorbitant amounts to mow our lawns without considering that many of us don't have exorbitant amounts to give away or even yards to mow because we are poor.  He crafts a list of "necessary" black reading so long that the average man would have to throw away his interests in every other subject to actually read it.  For a minister of Christ, he seems completely unaware that life spans have shortened immensely after The Flood.

After putting us through all this he complains that white people would rather spend time with African immigrants.  This much is a hundred percent true, and it wouldn't be true if it weren't for people like Dyson.  He says The siege of hate will not end until white folk imagine themselves as black folk.  We would ask him to do the same for us, except he already has -- and we would prefer him to have less of an imagination.  Aside from the fact that he believes we have time and money in excess and access to Ivy League schools and legal immunity, we wonder what he imagines racism to be if white racists enjoy spending time with blacks who don't hate them.

To be fair to Dyson not all the book is embarrassing.  Some of it showcases his talent as a writer (particularly the chapter on the N-word); and the actual cases of actual white racism he relates are poignant and shocking.  There's even a section on the differences between patriotism and nationalism that deserves to be shared, concerning Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand for the national anthem.  But as with the rest of the book, the higher his ideals the lower his practice.  He believes the difference between a patriot and a nationalist is that a patriot holds his country to its ideals and a nationalist throws ideals aside for the pride of his country.  If this is the case Dyson is wholeheartedly a black nationalist.  He gives principles only to white people.  As the list above shows, there is no standard, no sermon, no ideal for him to be held to except the advancement of blackness itself.  Dyson is a jingo and white America is his colony.  

As such the defining factor of this book is his utter lack of moral character.  No black activist would ever consent to a reversal of Dyson's terms and they know it.  They are well aware that an inversion of his stances would end in total subjection to white supremacy.  Yet Dyson wonders when white people will consider him an equal.  Our answer is that we will: when he learns the Golden Rule and stops trying to make himself our master.

Dyson says this book, written in the style of a church service, is a message from the Spirit.  An endorsement of a Baptist minister by The New York Times and Stephen King and Toni Morrison and a slew of national papers should have been a clue it came from the Devil.  In writing this backward, hypocritical, sanctimonious, blasphemous, hateful, idiotic, racist, ignorant mess of a book and claiming its endorsement by the Holy Spirit, Rev. Dyson has certainly gained the whole world -- and in the process lost his own soul.

Your father,

*With the exception of one or two freak instances, every time someone has told me that God told them something the message was too ridiculous to have been believed on sheer reason -- which is why they told me that God said it in the first place.  They know I wouldn't believe it if they just came up and told me so they threw an autograph on it and called it a day.

If it isn't a woman endorsing her own book or telling us God wants her to divorce her faithful husband, she's telling me God has suddenly reversed a 4,000 year-old sexual policy, or that God has an opinion on the price of college tuition, or that the state of Indiana is going to experience a time of unprecedented blessing.  I almost always listen to a new idea unless it's from "God" -- in which case I usually question it.  He will thank me later.  After all, it's His reputation at stake.

This is why at the end of the matter I go easy on atheists.  An atheist will only tell you there is no God.  A Pentacostal will tell you there is a God -- and that He's a moron.

**In perhaps the most remarkable testament to either Dyson's dishonesty or stupidity, he says that whites commit more crimes than blacks.  I quote,
black folk committed 36 percent of violent crime in 2015, while white folk committed 42 percent of violent crimes in the same year. White folk consistently lead all other groups in aggravated assault, larceny, illegal weapons possession, arson, and vandalism
It's notorious that blacks comprise only 13% of the population while whites make up 61.  The fact that 61% of the population only commits 42% of the crime never crosses his mind, or that 13% of the people creating 36% of the crime is horrendous.  But this is being nice.  In truth the 13% of the troublemakers are mostly young men, and if we consider this fact that leaves maybe a third of 13%, which is somewhere around 4-5% of the US population.  If we assume (out of the kindness of our hearts) that half of all young black males are not and do not even look like violent criminals, this leaves us with the even smaller percentage of 2%. This minority of the minority, so obviously associated with violence that only a moron or a politician or a black supremacist could miss it, is what Dyson is defending in this book, and why no white person on the planet should trust him.  Yet they do.  Their love for the black man exceeds all the boundaries of prudence.

***Curiously enough, Dyson said there's no such thing as whiteness because whites are Italians and Germans and English.  He might as well have said there's no such thing as Italians because some of them are Genovese and others are Campanians, and then denied the existence of Campanians because some of them were from Naples and others were from Capua.  What is happening here is obvious.  He's giving blacks the right to organize themselves and then to leave the enemy atomized.

****The three authors that come to mind immediately on the subject of friendship are Cicero, in his essay De Amiticia, Montaigne, in his essay On Friendship, and Seneca, in his letter on the subject to Lucilius.  You will not be surprised to find that a friendship in each of these involves two people trying to outdo one another in favors.  In Dyson's imagination a friendship between a white person and a black person is a white person trying to pay reparations to the other.  A good white man's friendship is based on shared values and entertainment and mutual charity.  A black activist's ideal interracial "friendship" is based on the white man's atonement.

Follow Letters to Hannah on Twitter and Facebook.

No comments:

Post a Comment