One of our recommended books is Tears We Cannot Stop by Michael Eric Dyson

TEARS WE CANNOT STOP

A Sermon to White America


Short, emotional, literary, powerful—Tears We Cannot Stop is the book that all Americans who care about the current and long-burning crisis in race relations will want to read.

As the country grapples with racist division at a level not seen since the 1960s, one man’s voice soars above the rest with conviction and compassion. In his 2016 New York Times op-ed piece “Death in Black and White,” Michael Eric Dyson moved a nation. Now he continues to speak out in Tears We Cannot Stop—a provocative and deeply personal call for change.

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Short, emotional, literary, powerful—Tears We Cannot Stop is the book that all Americans who care about the current and long-burning crisis in race relations will want to read.

As the country grapples with racist division at a level not seen since the 1960s, one man’s voice soars above the rest with conviction and compassion. In his 2016 New York Times op-ed piece “Death in Black and White,” Michael Eric Dyson moved a nation. Now he continues to speak out in Tears We Cannot Stop—a provocative and deeply personal call for change. Dyson argues that if we are to make real racial progress we must face difficult truths, including being honest about how black grievance has been ignored, dismissed, or discounted.

“The time is at hand for reckoning with the past, recognizing the truth of the present, and moving together to redeem the nation for our future. If we don’t act now, if you don’t address race immediately, there very well may be no future.”

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  • St. Martin's Griffin
  • Paperback
  • May 2021
  • 240 Pages
  • 9781250776679

Buy the Book

$16.99

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About Michael Eric Dyson

Michael Eric Dyson is the author of Tears We Cannot StopMichael Eric Dyson—distinguished University Professor of African American and Diaspora Studies, College of Arts & Science, and of Ethics and Society, Divinity School, and Centennial Professor at Vanderbilt University—is one of America’s premier public intellectuals and the author of seven New York Times bestsellers including JAY-Z, Tears We Cannot Stop, and What Truth Sounds Like, and most recently Long Time Coming. A contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, Dr. Dyson is a recipient of two NAACP Image awards and the 2020 Langston Hughes Festival Medallion. Former president Barack Obama has noted: “Everybody who speaks after Michael Eric Dyson pales in comparison.”

Praise

“One of the most frank and searing discussions on race … a deeply serious, urgent book, which should take its place in the tradition of Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time and King’s Why We Can’t Wait.” The New York Times Book Review

“Elegantly written and powerful in several areas: moving personal recollections; profound cultural analysis; and guidance for moral redemption. A work to relish.” – Toni Morrison

“Here’s a sermon that’s as fierce as it is lucid…If you’re black, you’ll feel a spark of recognition in every paragraph. If you’re white, Dyson tells you what you need to know—what this white man needed to know, at least. This is a major achievement. I read it and said amen.” – Stephen King

“Anguish and hurt throb in every word of Michael Eric Dyson’s Tears We Cannot Stop…It is eloquent, righteous, and inspired…Often lyrical, Tears is not…without indignation…brilliance and rectitude.” The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Dyson…creates a sermon unlike any we’ve heard or read, and it’s right on time…an unapologetically bold plea for America to own up to its inexplicable identity anxiety.” Essence

“[Dyson’s] narrative voice carries a deeper and more intimate authority, as it grows from his own experience as a black man in America ― from being beaten by his father to being profiled by the police to dealing with his brother’s long-term incarceration… Dyson’s raw honesty and self-revelation enables him to confront his white audience and reach out to them.” The Chicago Tribune

Discussion Questions

1. Is whiteness an invention?

2. Why does even the statement Black Lives Matter make so many people mad?

3. Do you have friends of different races? Why or why not?

4. Does every white person have white privilege?

5. What is white fragility and how does it interfere with constructive communication surrounding race?

6. How do we work with local, state, and federal governments to prevent violence against people of color?

7. Is appropriation of black culture an act of racism, and if so, how?

8. In the chapter ‘The Plague of White Innocence’, Dyson states, “Justice is what love sounds like when it speaks in public.” What does he mean by that?

9. If someone uses a racial slur in your presence, how do you react?

10. Is it unpatriotic to refuse to stand for the National Anthem?

11. Without erasing the past, is there a way to address institutional racism?

12. What are reparations? If reparations were adopted and approved by federal and state governments, what forms do you see them taking?

13. How important are prizes like Grammys and Oscars to beating racism?