Dyson: Obama’s N-Word Use ‘Payoff,’ ‘Effective,’ ‘Important’

MSNBC Political Analyst and Georgetown Professor Michael Eric Dyson said that President Obama using the n-word during a podcast is “part of the payoff” for “those of us who have been pressing President Obama to speak more explicitly and more articulately about race” on Monday’s “NewsNation.”

Dyson was asked, “Do you think that the use of the word by President Obama distracts from the point he was trying to make, or do you think because he actually went there, he went there with the n-word, that that underscores it?”

He answered, “The latter interpretation, I think, is correct. Look, those of us who have been pressing President Obama to speak more explicitly and more articulately about race, this is part of the payoff. This is a man who knows so much more than he’s been willing to, or allowed to speak about in public spaces. He chooses his words carefully, he chooses his points of entry carefully, but I think this was an incredibly important moment in intervention on behalf of the American public by our president, the entire — the president of the entire United States of America to talk specifically and particularly about using that n-word. And black people didn’t die when white people said the n-word, those who were racist, who lynched and castrated and murdered them, they didn’t use the n-word, they used the word itself. What he was doing was shocking us, a shock to the system, a jarring reminder of the intemperate use of that word, and how it’s been connected to legacies of white supremacy that he has brilliantly and forthrightly has addressed, and certainly in this case did again.”

Dyson added, “It was effective because he made an intervention by calling the very name that polite society refuses to acknowledge, and what Obama did was unveil the rough underbelly of racial rancor that continues to roil this nation, and I think it’s to his credit that he spoke articulately and explicitly and went there in a very powerful way.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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