What Truth Sounds Like

What Truth Sounds Like

Robert F. Kennedy, James Baldwin, and Our Unfinished Conversation About Race in America

eBook - 2018
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"In 1963 Attorney General Robert Kennedy sought out James Baldwin to explain the rage that threatened to engulf black America. Baldwin brought along some friends, including playwright Lorraine Hansberry, psychologist Kenneth Clark, and a valiant activist, Jerome Smith. It was Smith's relentless, unfiltered fury that set Kennedy on his heels, reducing him to sullen silence. Kennedy walked away from the nearly three-hour meeting angry--that the black folk assembled didn't understand politics, and that they weren't as easy to talk to as Martin Luther King. But especially that they were more interested in witness than policy. But Kennedy's anger quickly gave way to empathy, especially for Smith. "I guess if I were in his shoes...I might feel differently about this country." Kennedy set about changing policy--the meeting having transformed his thinking in fundamental ways. There was more: every big argument about race that persists to this day got a hearing in that room. Smith declaring that he'd never fight for his country given its racist tendencies, and Kennedy being appalled at such lack of patriotism, tracks the disdain for black dissent in our own time. His belief that black folk were ungrateful for the Kennedys' efforts to make things better shows up in our day as the charge that black folk wallow in the politics of ingratitude and victimhood. The contributions of black queer folk to racial progress still cause a stir. BLM has been accused of harboring a covert queer agenda. The immigrant experience, like that of Kennedy--versus the racial experience of Baldwin--is a cudgel to excoriate black folk for lacking hustle and ingenuity. The questioning of whether folk who are interracially partnered can authentically communicate black interests persists."
Publisher: New York, NY : St. Martin's Press, [2018]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781250199423
Branch Call Number: EBOOK OVERDRIVE
Characteristics: 1 online resource (294 pages)

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A social and political analyst reflects on racial tensions in contemporary America.

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mko123 Nov 10, 2018

James baldwin's writings are just as applicable today as when he wrote 50 years ago. Michael Dyson puts Baldwin's message into today's landscape and shows how the the message is being carried on by sports figures like kapernick taking the knee, Jay Z in his lyrics, Toni Morrison in her writings, etc. Dyson starts out the book with an explosive meeting between Bobby Kennedy, James Baldwin, a freedom rider, and other luminaries. It was a brutal bruise to Bobby's ego, but to his credit, he was able to internalize what he heard and do the right thing for civil rights, up until his death. The book is a plea To all of us to listen deeply to the have-nots in our society and do the right thing.

DBRL_ReginaF Aug 25, 2018

I absolutely loved Dyson's book "Tears We Cannot Stop" but this one much less so. There's a lot here that I can agree with but he lost me when he tried to say that Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders were two sides of the same coin even though he seemed to immediately backtrack on that claim. But get from it what you can.

Jan 25, 2018

More endless drivel on Identity Politics, designed to divide and conquer by those who run the Pew Research Center, Cato, the Hoover Institute, Heritage Foundation, et al.
Two quotations to deconstruct:
President Barack Obama: " Everybody who speaks after Michael Eric Dyson pales in comparison."
Oh wow, this was the president who, along with Geo. W. Bush, not only gave Citigroup almost one-half trillion dollars, but with a stroke of his pen legalized the act of propagandizing the American public, with their very own tax dollars, of course!
In 2015 BLM activist Julius Jones confronted Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with an urgent query: "What in your heart has changed that's going to change the direction of this country?" "I don't believe you just change hearts," she protested. "I believe you change laws ."
Now if someone were truly a viable activist, why in perdition would they approach a neocon like Hillary Rodham Clinton, who attended the rightwing prayer breakfasts of President Geo. W. Bush when she was a US Senator, and belonged to various imperialistic, rightwing groups as a senator, who enabled the sexual machinations of her husband, Bill Clinton, promoted the offshoring of NY jobs, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera? [I won't even mention her uncle on the Rodham side, who was in the presidential protection detail of the US Secret Service during the ill-fated John F. Kennedy Administration - - another superlative Secret Service job!!!!]
Artificial premises are followed by artificial dialogue.


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