Dyson's Message to Black Youth: You Are Cowards to Be Blamed, Beaten and Jailed!

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR columnist Jared A. Ball

Michael Eric Dyson, who claims to have recovered from Obama-ism, blames Black youth for failure to save the Democrats from themselves in the past election. Perhaps Dyson and his ilk should consider that non-stop police beatings, imprisonment and frameups of young Black people may “have had something to do with Obama’s 'enthusiasm gap.'” He should also ponder whether “45% unemployment for Black teens might be part of it.”

Dyson's Message to Black Youth: You Are Cowards to Be Blamed, Beaten and Jailed!

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR columnist Jared A. Ball

Michael Eric Dyson seems to blame Black youth for nearly everything that has gone wrong since 1965.”

Michael Eric Dyson has recently produced two very telling video commentaries. To the extent that they may reflect any general trend they are disturbing. But that they do reflect an overall troubling trend in Black politics they are simply sad. The first of the two videos to which I refer is Dyson’s post-mid-term election call to Obama to “be more like Bush” in aggressively promoting his agenda. The other is Dyson’s full-blown attack on youth, particularly Black youth, who he seems to blame for more than just a mid-term election loss but for nearly everything that has gone wrong since 1965. In both cases, according to Dyson, the problem is courage and honor. Obama has been too soft on implementing his agenda and Black children have been absolute cowards who trample on the very civil rights history that produced them.

The first problem with these views is that Obama is indeed acting just like Bush. Dyson’s call for him to be more like Bush is simply redundant and Dyson’s lack of clarity here is unfortunate. Understandably Dyson cannot be seen to have been wrong prior to the 2008 election when he was proudly proclaiming to be the first Black leader to support Obama and defending that decision against all reason by saying we must first get him elected and then exercise some mythical influence. And Dyson isn’t alone here. This was the liberal mainstream pre-election argument. Now that Obama’s corporatist and militarist politics have for two years been on full screen surround sound stereo the Dyson-ites have to call for more bold action as if this was all that was lacking. What the Dyson-ites miss or cannot afford to publicly acknowledge is that Obama is and has been just like Bush and regarding foreign policy more so. Obama is out Bushing Bush! If you have doubts just ask the people of Yemen who will now be dodging the same predator drone missiles Obama has been launching on the people of Pakistan since he took office. And isn’t this just sadly humorous considering Pakistan remains officially an ally of the United States, so much so that during this week’s visit to India Obama was asked why he supports what one young man said of Pakistan, a “terrorist state.”

Dyson and the Dyson-ites are more than encouraged to join the Black Is Back rally November 13 in Washington, D.C. where they might reconnect with the genuine traditions of liberation struggle.”

And as if to simply further a defense of his indefensible position Dyson’s next video is actually an invective against the young, Black youth in particular, who he says lacked the boldness, the “intestinal fortitude” to stand with the president and vote this mid-term. He upholds the conservative ideology of the underclass who are simply too lazy and filled with “self-pity” to help themselves out of their misery. He tells them to, in fact, “grow a pair of brains” and get over themselves and their “self-indulgence.” Even in the same publication, though he reaches equally spurious conclusions that call for more boldness by the Democrats as if that is why they traditionally abandon any real progressivism, James Rucker outlines why Black youth might not have been so excited to come out to vote. Sixteen percent overall Black unemployment and 45% unemployment for Black teens might be part of it. Maybe it’s the choice Democratic leaders make to imprison rather than educate Black and Brown children. Or looking at this week’s non-sentence imposed on killer cop Johannes Mehserle in the Oscar Grant case, or the police beating in Philadelphia of Askia Sabur, or the vicious assault by police on a student at Roxbury Community College or the more rallies needed to save the lives of Troy Davis and Mumia Abu-Jamal have had something to do with Obama’s “enthusiasm gap.”

The Dyson-ites have quite hypocritically denied pre-election education, critical analysis, and movement-development by their only seasonal push to get out the vote and their pre-Obama-election stamping out of dissent. To only now return two years later to blame Black youth for not sheepishly returning to the polls on cue to save a man and a party that cannot even be said to have turned on them because they never were with them in the first place is just ridiculous. Whether it was a foolish refusal to engage the youth vote this time around or a well-planned attempt to triangulate themselves out of having to act on their own false claims of progressivism, the fact remains that for two years nothing has been done to earn the support of the youth and their refusal to return should be seen as more revolutionary than cowardly.

Dyson and the Dyson-ites are more than encouraged to join the Black Is Back rally November 13 in Washington, D.C. where they might reconnect with the genuine traditions of liberation struggle that should be flamed into the movements that will produce the leadership they claim they want. But whatever you do, take it from the Peter Tosh classic anthem, “You Can’t Blame the Youth!”

For Black Agenda Radio I’m Jared Ball.

Bookmark and make your daily visit online to BlackAgendaReport.com. And for a more complete and honest look at the condition of the youth and their response to the mid-term elections hear our round table radio discussion on Hip-Hop and Politics with activists and educators Lumumba Bandele, Rosa Clemente and Dr. Chris Tinson online at voxunion.com.

Jared Ball can be reached via email at: [email protected].