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    What Truth Sounds Like: Robert F. Kennedy, James Baldwin, and Our Unfinished Conversation About Race in America

    St. Martin's Press
    2
    Free sample

    NOW A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

    NAMED A BEST/MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2018 BY: Chicago Tribune • Time

    A stunning follow up to New York Times bestseller Tears We Cannot Stop

    The Washington Post: "Passionately written."
    Chris Matthews, MSNBC: "A beautifully written book."
    Shaun King: “I kid you not–I think it’s the most important book I’ve read all year...”

    Harry Belafonte: “Dyson has finally written the book I always wanted to read. .a tour de force...a poetically written work that calls on all of us to get back in that room and to resolve the racial crises we confronted more than fifty years ago.”

    Joy-Ann Reid: A work of searing prose and seminal brilliance... Dyson takes that once in a lifetime conversation between black excellence and pain and the white heroic narrative, and drives it right into the heart of our current politics and culture, leaving the reader reeling and reckoning."

    Robin D. G. Kelley:“Dyson masterfully refracts our present racial conflagration through a subtle reading of one of the most consequential meetings about race to ever take place. In so doing, he reminds us that Black artists and intellectuals bear an awesome responsibility to speak truth to power."

    President Barack Obama: "Everybody who speaks after Michael Eric Dyson pales in comparison.”

    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.”

    The fraught conflict between conscience and politics – between morality and power – in addressing race hardly began with Clinton. An electrifying and traumatic encounter in the sixties crystallized these furious disputes.

    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. And we grapple still with the responsibility of black intellectuals and artists to bring about social change.

    What Truth Sounds Like exists at the tense intersection of the conflict between politics and prophecy – of whether we embrace political resolution or moral redemption to fix our fractured racial landscape. The future of race and democracy hang in the balance.

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    About the author

    MICHAEL ERIC DYSON is one of America’s premier public intellectuals and the author of the New York Times bestseller Tears We Cannot Stop. He occupies the distinguished position of University Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University, is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, and is a contributing editor of The New Republic and ESPN’s The Undefeated. Ebony magazine named him one of the 100 Most Influential African Americans and one of the 150 most powerful blacks in the nation.
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    Additional Information

    Publisher
    St. Martin's Press
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    Published on
    Jun 5, 2018
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    Pages
    288
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    ISBN
    9781250199423
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    Features
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    Language
    English
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    Genres
    Biography & Autobiography / Presidents & Heads of State
    History / African American
    Political Science / Public Policy / Social Policy
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    Content Protection
    This content is DRM protected.
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    Read Aloud
    Available on Android devices
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    NOW A NEW YORK TIMES, PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY, INDIEBOUND, LOS ANGELES TIMES, WASHINGTON POST, CHRONICLE HERALD, SALISBURY POST, GUELPH MERCURY TRIBUNE, AND BOSTON GLOBE BESTSELLER | NAMED A BEST/MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2017 BY: The Washington Post • Bustle • Men's Journal • The Chicago Reader • StarTribune • Blavity • The Guardian • NBC New York's Bill's Books • Kirkus • Essence

    “One of the most frank and searing discussions on race ... a deeply serious, urgent book, which should take its place in the tradition of Baldwin's The Fire Next Time and King's Why We Can't Wait." —The New York Times Book Review

    Toni Morrison hails Tears We Cannot Stop as "Elegantly written and powerful in several areas: moving personal recollections; profound cultural analysis; and guidance for moral redemption. A work to relish."

    Stephen King says: "Here’s a sermon that’s as fierce as it is lucid...If you’re black, you’ll feel a spark of recognition in every paragraph. If you’re white, Dyson tells you what you need to know—what this white man needed to know, at least. This is a major achievement. I read it and said amen."

    Short, emotional, literary, powerful—Tears We Cannot Stop is the book that all Americans who care about the current and long-burning crisis in race relations will want to read.

    As the country grapples with racist division at a level not seen since the 1960s, one man's voice soars above the rest with conviction and compassion. In his 2016 New York Times op-ed piece "Death in Black and White," Michael Eric Dyson moved a nation. Now he continues to speak out in Tears We Cannot Stop—a provocative and deeply personal call for change. Dyson argues that if we are to make real racial progress we must face difficult truths, including being honest about how black grievance has been ignored, dismissed, or discounted.

    "The time is at hand for reckoning with the past, recognizing the truth of the present, and moving together to redeem the nation for our future. If we don't act now, if you don't address race immediately, there very well may be no future."

    For decades, the idea that more education will lead to greater individual and national prosperity has been a cornerstone of developed economies. Indeed, it is almost universally believed that college diplomas give Americans and Europeans a competitive advantage in the global knowledge wars. Challenging this conventional wisdom, The Global Auction forces us to reconsider our deeply held and mistaken views about how the global economy really works and how to thrive in it. Drawing on cutting-edge research based on a major international study, the authors show that the competition for good, middle-class jobs is now a worldwide competition--an auction for cut-priced brainpower--fueled by an explosion of higher education across the world. They highlight a fundamental power shift in favor of corporate bosses and emerging economies such as China and India, a change that is driving the new global high-skill, low-wage workforce. Fighting for a dwindling supply of good jobs will compel the middle classes to devote more time, money, and effort to set themselves apart in a bare-knuckle competition that will leave many disappointed. The authors urge a new conversation about the kind of society we want to live in and about the kind of global economy that can benefit workers, but without condemning millions in emerging economies to a life of poverty. The Global Auction is a radical rethinking of the ideas that stand at the heart of the American Dream. It offers a timely exposé of the realities of the global struggle for middle class jobs, a competition that threatens the livelihoods of millions of American and European workers and their families.
    Malcolm X's cultural rebirth--his improbable second coming--brims with irony. The nineties are marked by intense and often angry debates about racial authenticity and "selling out," and the participants in these debates--from politicians to filmmakers to rap artists--often draw on Malcolm's scorching rebukes to such moves. Meanwhile, Malcolm's "X" is marketed in countless business endeavors and is stylishly branded on baseball hats and T-shirts sported by every age, race, and gender. But this rampant commercialization is only a small part of Malcolm's remarkable renaissance. One of the century's most complex black leaders, he is currently blazing a new path across contemporary popular culture, and has even seared the edges of an academy that once froze him out. Thirty years after his assassination, what is it about his life and words that speaks so powerfully to so many? In Making Malcolm, Michael Eric Dyson probes the myths and meanings of Malcolm X for our time. From Spike Lee's film biography to Eugene Wolfenstein's psychobiographical study, from hip-hop culture to gender and racial politics, Dyson cuts a critical swathe through both the idolization and the vicious caricatures that have undermined appreciation of Malcolm's greatest accomplishments. The book's first section offers a boldly original and penetrating analysis of the major trends in interpreting Malcolm's legacy since his death, and the fiercely competing interests and ideologies that have shaped these trends. From mainstream books to writings published by the independent black press, Dyson identifies and examines the different "Malcolms" who have emerged in popular and academic investigations of his life and career. With impassioned and compelling force, Dyson argues that Malcolm was too formidable a historic figure--the movements he led too variable and contradictory, the passion and intelligence he summoned too extraordinary and disconcerting--to be viewed through any narrow cultural prism. The second half of the book offers a fascinating exploration of Malcolm's relationship to a resurgent black nationalism, his influence on contemporary black filmmakers and musicians, and his use in progressive black politics. From sexism and gangsta rap to the painful predicament of black males, from the politics of black nationalism to the possibilities of race in the Age of Clinton, Dyson's trenchant and often inspiring analysis reveals how Malcolm's legacy continues to spur debate and action today. A rare and important book, Making Malcolm casts new light not only on the life and career of a seminal black leader, but on the aspirations and passions of the growing numbers who have seized on his life for insight and inspiration.
    Of the seven deadly sins, pride is the only one with a virtuous side. It is certainly a good thing to have pride in one's country, in one's community, in oneself. But when taken too far, as Michael Eric Dyson shows in Pride, these virtues become deadly sins. Dyson, named by Ebony magazine as one of the 100 most influential African Americans, here looks at the many dimensions of pride. Ranging from Augustine and Aquinas, MacIntyre and Hauerwas, to Niebuhr and King, Dyson offers a thoughtful, multifaceted look at this "virtuous vice." He probes the philosophical and theological roots of pride in examining its transformation in Western culture. Dyson discusses how black pride keeps blacks from being degraded and excluded by white pride, which can be invisible, unspoken, but nonetheless very powerful. Dyson also offers a moving glimpse into the teachers and books that shaped his personal pride and vocation. Dyson also looks at less savory aspects of national pride. Since 9/11, he notes, we have had to close ranks. But the collective embrace of all things American, to the exclusion of anything else, has taken the place of a much richer, much more enduring, much more profound version of love of country. This unchecked pride asserts the supremacy of America above all others--elevating our national beliefs above any moral court in the world--and attacking critics of American foreign policy as unpatriotic and even traitorous. Hubris, temerity, arrogance--the unquestioned presumption that one's way of life defines how everyone else should live--pride has many destructive manifestations. In this engaging and energetic volume, Michael Eric Dyson, one of the nation's foremost public intellectuals, illuminates this many-sided human emotion, one that can be an indispensable virtue or a deadly sin.
    NOW A NEW YORK TIMES, PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY, INDIEBOUND, LOS ANGELES TIMES, WASHINGTON POST, CHRONICLE HERALD, SALISBURY POST, GUELPH MERCURY TRIBUNE, AND BOSTON GLOBE BESTSELLER | NAMED A BEST/MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2017 BY: The Washington Post • Bustle • Men's Journal • The Chicago Reader • StarTribune • Blavity • The Guardian • NBC New York's Bill's Books • Kirkus • Essence

    “One of the most frank and searing discussions on race ... a deeply serious, urgent book, which should take its place in the tradition of Baldwin's The Fire Next Time and King's Why We Can't Wait." —The New York Times Book Review

    Toni Morrison hails Tears We Cannot Stop as "Elegantly written and powerful in several areas: moving personal recollections; profound cultural analysis; and guidance for moral redemption. A work to relish."

    Stephen King says: "Here’s a sermon that’s as fierce as it is lucid...If you’re black, you’ll feel a spark of recognition in every paragraph. If you’re white, Dyson tells you what you need to know—what this white man needed to know, at least. This is a major achievement. I read it and said amen."

    Short, emotional, literary, powerful—Tears We Cannot Stop is the book that all Americans who care about the current and long-burning crisis in race relations will want to read.

    As the country grapples with racist division at a level not seen since the 1960s, one man's voice soars above the rest with conviction and compassion. In his 2016 New York Times op-ed piece "Death in Black and White," Michael Eric Dyson moved a nation. Now he continues to speak out in Tears We Cannot Stop—a provocative and deeply personal call for change. Dyson argues that if we are to make real racial progress we must face difficult truths, including being honest about how black grievance has been ignored, dismissed, or discounted.

    "The time is at hand for reckoning with the past, recognizing the truth of the present, and moving together to redeem the nation for our future. If we don't act now, if you don't address race immediately, there very well may be no future."

    Over the last 20 years, Michael Eric Dyson has become one of America’s most visible—and quotable—public intellectuals. Whether in his sixteen books, or in countless newspapers, television and radio appearances, or on stages, podiums, and pulpits across the world, Dyson has spun an enchanting web of words that has caught the attention of the masses and elites alike. He has weighed in on a myriad array of topics – from faith to fatherhood, and from race to sex, as well as sports, manhood, gender, music, leadership, politics, language, love, justice, literature, suffering, death, hope, relationships and much, much more.

    Can You Hear Me Now?, offers a sampling of Dyson’s sharp wit, profound thought, and edifying eloquence on the enduring problems of humanity, from love to justice, and the latest topics of the day, including race and the presidency. It is both revealing and relevant, and at once thoughtful provoking and uplifting. Whether he is writing about Jay-Z or Barack Obama, addressing racial catastrophes or opportunities, or speaking about religion or the felicities of King’s rhetoric, Dyson’s intellect shines with insight and inspiration.

    Can You Hear Me Now? captures Dyson’s incredible facility with words, and his prodigious intelligence, at a time when he has gained greater fame as a public intellectual, university professor, best-selling author, and most recently, as one of the first prominent blacks to endorse President Barack Obama. The time is ripe for his wit, wisdom and worldview, and this book is Dyson’s most accessible compendium of thinking on a broad range of topics that haunt and shape the nation.

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