Tears We Cannot Stop

Tears We Cannot Stop

A Sermon to White America

Book - 2017
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Fifty years ago Malcolm X told a white woman who asked what she could do for the cause, 'Nothing.' Michael Eric Dyson believes he was wrong. Now he responds to that question. If society is to make real racial progress, people must face difficult truths, including being honest about how Black grievance has been ignored, dismissed, or discounted.
Publisher: New York :, St. Martin's Press,, 2017.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781250135995
Branch Call Number: 305.8009 Dyson 01/2017
Characteristics: 228 pages ;,20 cm


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Fifty years ago Malcolm X told a white woman who asked what she could do for the cause, 'Nothing.' Michael Eric Dyson believes he was wrong. Now he responds to that question. If society is to make real racial progress, people must face difficult truths, including being honest about how Black grie... Read More »

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Dec 11, 2020

Dyson is a sociology professor and a pastor, so this sermon is fully informed by social science. But rather than reaching an audience with scholarly knowledge, Dyson goes straight for the emotional gut punch and succeeds resoundingly. If you're white and you've ever thought to yourself questions like "What about black-on-black violence? Why is the n-word OK for black people to use? What's with the support for O.J. Simpson? Do we really need reparations?", this book is for you. Dyson clearly lays out why continuing outrage isn't enough. Change must be made to happen.

Chapel_Hill_KrystalB Nov 10, 2020

I always appreciate Michael Eric Dyson’s commentary. He’s a real straight shooter with his fiery, tell-it-like-it-is style, one that resonates and appeals and is incredibly memorable. White folks, listen up. Here, he offers his perspective on racism directly to us, using a sermon as his vehicle. He pulls in the experiences and philosophies of Civil Rights icons while also pointing to his own and those of his friends and family. He quotes Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston alongside Tupac and KRS-One. In some ways, it feels almost stream-of-consciousness, and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if it were given his oracular talent, passion, and intelligence. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this despite not being religious per se, and walked away with some more knowledge about what, exactly, needs doing on our end to help bridge the racial divide.

Mar 16, 2019

Tears We Cannot Stop is thorough, incisive, and convicting, as good sermons are. Dyson explains whiteness from the perspective of someone who has had to get an advanced degree in whiteness and its violence, in order to survive this world. He lances the wound of racism so that we as a society can (hopefully) heal. When someone else is more expert on you than you are yourself, it can be hard to digest, but the fact is that Dyson is right. And we should listen to experts even when it's difficult.

My only complaint about this book is that as a non-religious person I found some of the religious references and preaching cadence jarring, but the quality of the content is so great that I'm only knocking off half a star. And I do think it's appropriate to examine racism in the context of religion, since religion and racism are two huge factors that shape our minds.

White folks, if you read one book about race in America, make it this one. But like Dyson himself would tell you, read more than one book about race! Read lots of books by black authors--he provides a reading list in one of the last chapters, along with many other action items that are clear and straightforward, though not necessarily easy, to follow. It's time for us to do this work and eradicate white supremacy.

Jul 27, 2018

Passionately written sermon by a leading African-American pastor who shares some of his own personal experiences with racism, whether overt or covert. This is aimed at white people who've never paused to examine their privilege. He ends his speech with an excellent chapter on how to help, from simply showing up at protests, to selecting a non-profit to support. While most of the words are lyrical (a police car is described as a "mobile plantation, with the sirens representing the hunting dogs of slavers"), I think a tighter edit would have made an even more compelling presentation.

Jun 15, 2018

Reminds me of "The Fire Next Time."

SPL_Shauna Oct 17, 2017

This book is powerfully, beautifully written, and a must-read for anyone who wants to be an ally to Black communities. Dyson's lyrical language doesn't pull any punches around the grizzly effects of racism on Black lives, but the musicality of the words pulls you through and helps you bear witness. Highly recommended to any fans of Ta-Nehisi Coates, Mychal Denzel Smith, or anyone with an interest in Civil Rights and the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Also worth noting: Despite the title, this is one of the most hopeful books I've recently read. So, don't let your bad news fatigue combine with the title to scare you off of this one.

CarleeMcDot Sep 17, 2017

A friend of ours was reading this and wanted someone to discuss it with. The hubby and I decided to grab the audio book version and listen to it on the way to a camping trip. For some reason, when the hubby put the book on his iPhone (we have a VW van with a cassette player so have to transfer CDs onto our mobile devices if we want to listen to them in the car), the tracks got out of order. Thankfully most of the chapters stand on their own so it wasn't too terrible. Recently the hubby and I watched the documentary "13th". I feel as though this book went along with that film. I appreciate that this book not only lays out the serious and urgent issues facing America, but also gives action steps to help with healing and advancement. I would give it a 7 out of 10.

PimaLib_NormS Jul 26, 2017

“Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon To White America”, by Michael Eric Dyson, just might be one of those challenging, thought-provoking books everyone should read. Even if one does not agree with the assertions and conclusions proffered by Dr. Dyson, how else can we even begin the arduous process of solving the intractable racial problems in this country if we don’t listen to, and consider, each other’s opinions? For example, in Dr. Dyson’s opinion, I am a member of a privileged class. Cluelessly, I had no idea. I would never have described myself that way. But a cursory glance at history would reveal that being male and white in this country has undeniably been advantageous. I do not, and will not, apologize for my gender or skin color, but perhaps now I have the beginnings of an understanding as to why someone of color might think I was privileged (although, a quick look at my bank account might suggest otherwise). And, the chapter on the relationship African-Americans have with the police was illuminating. When I see those flashing lights in my rearview mirror, I feel fear. I feel fear that I’m going to get an expensive ticket. When someone is DWB, Driving While Black, and sees those flashing lights, that person might feel the fear of, “Is this cop going to shoot me?” There are provocative, mind-awakening passages throughout this important book. I do not agree with everything Michael Eric Dyson wrote in “Tears”. But I am glad to have read it.

CMLibrary_gjd Jun 29, 2017

Ladies and Gentleman, listen up; Dr. Dyson has something to tell us and we need to listen--NOW. The hurts our fellow Americans are experiencing hurt ALL OF US; we must come together if we're going to stay together.

For a more in-depth review please see: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/cmlibrarygjd0


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CMLibrary_gjd Jul 17, 2017

pg 32 Lord, convict this your nation as never before. Let our lives testify to your majesty, your love, your grace--and may this land know your displeasure, taste your holy wrath, for killing us like pigs without conscience.

pg 63 But there is little justification for Obama hate, except that he was a black man in charge of our country and many whites wanted to take it back and make it great again.

pg 66 there are a lot of privileges that folk get the don't depend on cash. The greatest one may getting stopped by a cop and living to talk about it.


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