The Michael Eric Dyson Reader

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9780465017683: The Michael Eric Dyson Reader

Over the past ten years, the work of Michael Eric Dyson has become the first stop for readers, writers, and thinkers eager for uncommon wisdom on the racial and political dynamics of contemporary America. Whether writing on religion or sexuality or notions of whiteness, on Martin Luther King, Jr. or Tupac Shakur, Dyson's keen insight and rhetorical flair continue to surprise and challenge. This collection gathers the best of Dyson's growing body of work: his most incisive commentary, his most stirring passages, and his sharpest, most probing and broadminded critical analyses. From Michael Jordan to Derrida, Ralph Ellison to the diplomacy of Colin Powell, the mastery and ease with which Dyson tackles just about any subject is without parallel.

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About the Author:

Michael Eric Dyson, named by Ebony as one of the hundred most influential black Americans, is the author of sixteen books, including Holler if You Hear Me , Is Bill Cosby Right? and I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King Jr. He is currently University Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University. He lives in Washington, D.C.

From Publishers Weekly:

In this probing collection of essays, speeches and interviews, Dyson (Reflecting Black; Race Rules; Open Mike, etc.), an ex-welfare dad and auto-worker, ordained Baptist minister and University of Pennsylvania professor, demonstrates a rare combination of scholarly sophistication, civic gravitas and plain old life experience. The selections here, shifting easily in tone from a dense but readable academic style to fluent mass-market magazine articles, reflect these influences by applying both critical theory and personal insight to issues of popular concern, including the O. J. Simpson trial, gangsta rap, the problems educated black women face in finding marriageable black men, sexuality and the black church, and the advantages whites accrue from having their whiteness accepted not as a specific racial/cultural category but as the universal social norm. Dyson writes from a forthrightly left-of-center stance but avoids rigid dogma. He deplores the excesses of identity politics, but insists on the centrality of race in American society; embraces rap and the "ghetto aesthetic" of black cinema but sharply critiques their sexism, homophobia and limited conceptions of violent masculinity. On occasion, he drifts into hero worship, hymning Michael Jordan, for example, as "a black man of extraordinary genius on the court and before the cameras, who by virtue of his magical skills and godlike talents symbolizes the meaning of human possibility." But for the most part, his wide-ranging and shrewd analyses of the vexed and ever-changing meaning of race will give readers much food for thought.
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