Author reminds guests of racial, political and cultural issues

Michael Eric Dyson, a renowned author, radio host, minister and professor of sociology, spoke at The Mane Room Feb. 22. His talk, titled “The United States of Amnesia,” focused on various issues Americans should be aware of, including racial injustices of the past and current political differences.

by Associate News Editor Harley Duncan

American culture, white privilege and politics are all sensitive issues, but Michael Eric Dyson was not afraid to discuss them with UNA.

Dyson, a well-known author, radio host, minister and professor of sociology, spoke at The Mane Room Feb. 22 about the current state of these issues.

The room began to fill before 6 p.m. as the anticipation for Dyson increased. As he arrived, many people stood and applauded.

One of the main topics of his talk, titled “The United States of Amnesia,” was the different and complex perspectives of how white and black people view each other from unconscious and conscious thoughts.

He went on to dissect the many cultural elements involving racial identity, which he said seems to hang on a ‘pendulum,’ swinging back and forth through American history.  

“Blackness qualifying and reflecting on whiteness is a sin in American race,” Dyson said. “On the one hand, there is a denial of the legitimacy of memory because that memory is a dangerous memory. It is dangerous because the recall of that memory challenges the mythologies that we have supported for so long.”

Another main focus was the differences in symbolic and cultural representations between former U.S. President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump.

“Obama represented a certain type of exotic blackness,” Dyson said.

Dyson’s topics and transparency upon each of them seemed to impress and encourage students that attended the event.

Senior Jose Figueroa-Cinfuentas said the most enjoyable part of Dyson’s speaking was his range of topics.

“Especially in the south, the ones he spoke about are not brought up that much,” he said. “He kind of broke those barriers.”