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].


Amen, I for one am sick of people blaming the youth-----

For all the problems that we old folk brought to the table.

Weren't some of the talking heads ever young? Did they ever drop their books and go out and play?

Mr Dyson- I'm an older white guy, a bus driver, come in contact with black youth all the time, they're no different than any others,
except THE UNDISPUTED FACT that with the high unemployment they suffer, and the microscopic look by the man with the badge everytime they're just being kids, they're trying to live life with way more obstacles and hurdles to overcome than I ever did- yet despite all of this, are capable of the same acts of selflessness and graciousness that everybody else is, call me naive but I still believe in the inherent goodness in youth, properly nurtured by society, something that ain't been happening for the last few decades.

As far as the president, well let me just say, sir, look in the mirror for the reasons for the spot you are in right now.

Spot on Dr Ball!

A few years back, M.E.D. rightfully called Bill Cosby out for his ultra-conservative admonishments of blacks, rightfully called Cosby out for scapegoating black Americans when  entrenched systemic inequalities and white supremacy are to blame for poverty and low academic performance. Now, M.E.D. turns a 180 here and does the same thing by scapegoating youth for the Democrats ass-whuppin' on E-Day?!?!???? What the hell????

Obama and the Democrats deserved that ass-whuppin' and the youth that Dyson rails against deserve much better than the right-wing Obama and the sorry-ass Democrats!


...is this what happens when the corporate economies of scale tip in your favor and your books show up on the shelves of Target?


I just read that he dedicated his recent book to Oprah.


Well, there you go.


To Michael "This is how the game is played." Dyson:

New game.

New rules.

Quit whining.

Buck up.

Take responsibility.

Give them policies to vote for.

Quit hustling votes for blue dogs.

End the one party system.


Yet another well to do, elitist, liberal quackademic, blaming the voter for the DemonRAT mid-term election debacle, instead of correctly placing the blame on Obama's own pro Wall street policies.

He's basically doing exactly what he had the audacity to attack the great Bill Cosby for. We all know now that the shedding of crocodile tears for Black people during that controversy was nothing more than a hustle for Mr. Dyson.

If you were ever to see the phrase "runnin his mouth, but ain't sayin nothin," in one of these urban slanguage dictionaries, Michael Dyson's picture would be right there.

Michael Dyson should receive the poverty "Pimpin Ken" award for his ability to race hustle his verbal acrobatics into speaking engagements, professorships, and book deals. This man has the illest flow in the game.

Mikey Dice better step his bars up because he might have some competition:

Black Professor Boyce Watkins Raps!!!



Misrepresenting Dyson

Dyson meant that Obama should stand up for his base just like Bush stood up and defended the interests of his conservative base by passing legislation despite never having a fillibuster proof majority. Margaret Kimberley said something similar in her recent Column.

Just because, Dyson supported Obama in 2008, doesn't mean he ever had Obamanism.

Dyson wasn't blaming the black youth or calling on them to support Obama, and to ignore Obama's failures to keep his promises. Obama wasn't on the ballot in the midterm, and Dyson was telling black voters to vote in general, not for Obama and the Democrats in particular. Their were some good candidates that deserved support, and a lot of referendums and local races.

He is right that you should vote no matter how awful the candidates are. Write in someone or even vote for yourself just vote. The right has gone to a lot of trouble to reduce the number of black voters, with the disenfranchisement of ex felons, voter purges and the voter id cards. Black voters shouldn't make their jobs easier and that its dumb not to vote. Dyson wasn't blaming the youth for anythng since 1965, he just mentioned the struggle for voting rights during the Civil Rights movement and that voting was a part of political activism as well as much as street protests.

Dyson was never an Obamaphile. Dyson has the same black liberation ideology as Jared Bell and the other writers at Black Agenda Report. Dyson has been hightly critical of Obama since, Obama came to office. http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/07/25/obama-administration-intimidated...



Dyson is a friend of Boyce Watkins.

Respectfully disagree in part

In my readings and viewings of Dyson, he is a strict Obamaphile.  He's a constant guest of Bill Maher's and if you google/youtube his appearances there you will find nothing but promotion and Obama adoration.

Most of the bloggers above hit the nail on the head.  Dyson is fronting, always has, always will be.  Any "student" of Black history would know better than to believe the institution of the presidency is meant or designed to upset the status quo.  And it was clear BEFORE Obama's election he was all milquetoast.  Dyson, like Jay Zee today on NPR, like Oprah, like all the neo-boogie Negroes in America, like the 80% who support him now steadfastly, are ALL OBAMABOTS.

It doesn't matter how much Obama fucks Blacks and Middle Class folks of every stripe. I tried to point out how he fucked the working class Whites by lying and covering up for BP.

One more point.  The Black professional class ain't shit. (I'm "one" of them, I know)  I had a conversation last weekend with a gentlemen in his 70s and told him how sad it was that the Middle class, Middle Age and Older Blacks in our community sit on their asses.  He volunteers for Meals on Wheels and at a local hospital whereas the majority of educated, Middle Class Blacks between 35 and 65 in my community don't do shit. 

I don't know wtf he's seeing that I ain't that makes him think the Middle Class is "on and popping."  Cause they ain't.  They'll put an Obama bumper sticker on the car, sip a cocktail and try to refute all your criticisms of Obama, and then two years later accuse the White Boy who outworked his ass 2000% trying to get Obama elected,-- donating time and money and passion--, of being a racist because the White Boy done used his critical thinking skills to conclude Obama has sold him (the constituency) out.

What fucking slice of the Black, Educated Middle Class is Dyson seeing?  The pusedo-one parading on Ivy League campuses?  Nigga puhleez.  Ain't no goddamn movements!  Did I miss one watching Housewives of Atlanta???

Last thing, for now anyway, does anyone recall the crack cocaine epidemic?  Has anyone seriously studied it's deleterious effects, it's death blow on the Black community, has anyone studied the affects of inutero-damage to hundreds of thousands of children from parents use of crack?  If you haven't or can't cite evidence then STFU, because you are telling me, while you sipping your cognac, that animals suffer from abuse long term but humans don't.

KISS MY ASS!!!  Now, we ALL get frustrated at Black youth, but for me anyway, no more frustrated than I get at the so-called, educated, Black Middle Class. But to turn a blind eye to a health crisis ( and we won't even touch AIDS/HIV and the causal connection to mass incarceration will we??) that has been afflicting the Black community for decades, is the height of arrogance and intellectual dishonesty.  It's a damn sell out frankly.

Dyson is triangulating, just like he seems to triangulate about his sexuality.  Not that I give a damn about that w/r/t Dyson, EITHER. And Uncle Bill Cosby?  He was fucking some young girl, hiding her pregnancy, while castigating youngins in the hood for doing the same.  Ain't no body perfect mind you, especially men and pussy, which is all the more reason to quit your fronting.

Don't believe me?  Then ask Bishop Eddie Long Stroke.  Another worthless, middle...er upper class..er Elite Negro.

I agree that Dyson was calling Obama a punk, but he lacked the integrity to come out and say it, something like: " Look Bitch, grow a pair like Bush," (who's still a cocky M.F.r.)