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Michael Eric Dyson: Trump Is Racist, White Folks Need to ‘Find Your Spine’

Thursday on CNN’s “New Day,” Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson got into a heated debate with conservative commentator Scott Jennings over a Quinnipiac poll showing 49 percent of respondents believe President Donald Trump is racist.

Jennings said the poll is a “reflection of the extreme political polarization in America right now.

”We are willing to ascribe all of the worst motivations to every policy view, to every action that our political opponents take,” he continued. “In this case what the people who disapprove of Trump believe he’s a racist and everything he does must be rooted in racism.”

Dyson shot back, “The reality is this well, Donald Trump talks like a racist, thinks like a racist, makes statements like a racist, conjures emotions that give support to white nationalists. Yeah, he’s a racist. Racism is as racism does. So here’s the problem, Martin Luther King Jr. said it’s not the white supremacists who are the problem it’s white moderates and conservatives who are complicit by trying to dismiss it. Brother Jennings, much respect for you but what you’re doing is egregious because you’re attempting to make valid what are essentially naked raw statements of racism. This is easy stuff. This is very, very clear that it has racial animus here, and you’re trying to dismiss it as a difference of opinion. That is complicit in the racist element we’re talking about.”

Jennings said, “I disagree with everything you’ve said. I disagree with the motives you’ve ascribed to me and I think most Republicans and conservatives are tired of being or complicit in racism.”

After an extended back and forth, Dyson said, “That a man making inflammatory remarks is not something to just be disagreed with. You should repudiate them and find cause to distance yourself from a man who can call all Mexicans rapists, Muslims who should be banned, black people who should be discriminated against, women who should be treated in a sexually predatory manner. The point is that here is a president who said things quite clearly and you as a figure can’t even say ‘Yes I find it reprehensible and he should be repudiated’ And yet you come on to say ‘I disagree with you in the past.’ That is part of the problem we are confronting here in America. Until white folk like you can stand up and find your spine, you will continue to be complicit in the racist animus of this country.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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