Vanderbilt University professor Michael Eric Dyson suggested Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Deadline” that white people could help the Black Lives Matter movement by holding their racist relatives “to account” at family gatherings such as Thanksgiving.
In a video, a man on the street told a reporter he Googled, “What can a white person do to help Black Lives Matter?”
Wallace asked, “Professor, you want to try to answer that for him? What can a white person do to help Black Lives Matter? ”
Dyson said, “There are many things that white brothers and sisters can do. First of all, they can operate within their own sphere, within their own comfort zones. When you go home for Thanksgiving, and you know that there are some nasty viewpoints being expressed and you know that there are some vituperative expressions being made against Black people, you got to hold your family to account.”
He continued, “Not nastily. Now eat your Thanksgiving first, get the turkey and your stuffing and dressing and your pumpkin pie, don’t be silly. But after you consume the beverages and you have frivolity, speak to them in your own circle, not nastily but directly, also at your own place of business. What are you doing to make sure that different voices are heard, different bodies are there, different perspectives are had? In your own institutions of higher education, are you making sure that people studying this as a measure of studying what happened in America as American history? What is the history of race?”
He added, “If you can get the grits together enough to have curiosity about the world — to Google it, yes, important but also have interactions with other people of color, with Black and Brown and Asian brothers and sisters. Talk to Indigenous people. Not just one. Don’t just have one black friend. You have to have a circle of people who can help you form opinions, direct your own study, satisfy curiosity and then start you on the road toward growth, toward engagement, and toward learning. Then read books, read articles, interact with those who know what they’re talking about. Go to lectures. Go to the library. These are some of the things that I think you can do to make a difference as a white person concerned about our culture and committed to racial justice.”
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