Speaking on CNN with hosts Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota, black sociologist Michael Eric Dyson said the “vicious police forces of America” have “victimized” the black community.
The exchange began with Dyson being asked about Barack Obama’s legacy. He answered, “Obama had to deal with police brutality, the resurgence of a vital black movement under Black Lives Matter, so he had to negotiate some very hostile tensions and some contradictions with the citizenry.”
Camerota pointed out that Dyson thought the election of Donald Trump was “more race-based than a lot of other people think.”
Dyson agreed, positing that hatred of Obama influenced the election:
That’s not all it was; obvious people who were poor and hurt and suffering felt, ironically enough, that a billionaire would be able to identify with them; but let’s be honest: a lot of the response against Obama was for no other reason than he was a black man. If you don’t like Barack Obama as a black man, there are not too many other brothers you are going to dig, because he’s nice, he’s genial, he’s affable, he agrees with people who disagrees (sic) with him. I mean that kind of man is extremely rare, so there’s no question that part of the animus was driven by his race.
Camerota asked logically, “How did that allow Donald Trump to be elected? If you’re saying there was some racism that went into electing Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton isn’t a black male either.”
Dyson replied, “But did Hillary Clinton lead the birther movement? The very guy who questioned the legitimacy of Barack Obama is now the president of the United States of America. You’re answering your own question.”
Camerota persisted: “You think that’s why the American people voted for him? Or they overlooked that, because they believed he was going to be helpful to business . . .”
Dyson took the opportunity to slam Americans who voted for Trump:
Ah, your faith in the American citizenry is pretty high. They overlooked what? The fact that Donald Trump, for two years, with lethal intensity, continued to assault a sitting president as illegitimate, and now, thin-skinned as he is, can’t even take John Lewis saying that you may be illegitimate? I don’t think people over looked that; I think he ginned up the racial animus. I think he appealed to the worst instincts in our nature. Unlike Lincoln — the better angels of our nature — he appealed to the worst demons on our collective enterprise of thinking about American citizenship and democracy. And as a result of that, got elected.
Chris Cuomo pointed out many people voted for Trump because they thought the Obama administration had been weak on ISIS, an issue that Cuomo described as “color-neutral.” He added that the problems with Obamacare, such as “keeping your own plan,” were color-neutral, as was the weak economic recovery since 2008.
Dyson responded, “Take those three. Color neutral and ISIS? Many African-American people say look we were introduced to terror long before 9/11 —the vicious police forces of America that have victimized us, and the way in which white supremacy operated.”
Cuomo asked, “A false equivalency between having Islamic extremists wanting to eradicate the American way of life to police versus citizen?”
“In terms of white people, white-on-white crime has done far more to damage America than ISIS.”
Michael Eric Dyson
Dyson doubled down:
Look at this: Rudy Giuliani, and I debated him on Meet the Press, said look you people focus on police killings of black people when that’s a small percentage of what happens… then he said, look, most, he said, however, of the killings are done by black people against black people. Ninety-three percent of black people who are killed are killed by black people, but 84 percent of white people who are killed are killed by white people. But let’s go on; let’s take his logic to the extreme here. If that’s the case, how many people have died from terror in America in the last ten years? Maybe a hundred. Most people have died not from Muhammad, but Billy Bob. In terms of white people, white-on-white crime has done far more to damage America than ISIS.