Michael Eric Dyson, a Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University and a genius at self-promotion, argues in his latest book, “Tears We Cannot Stop,” subtitled “A Sermon to White America, that white Americans should start an “Individual Reparations Account,” from which they would make donations to black institutions and black individuals. In particular, he argues that whites should pay black service providers more than they pay non-blacks. Double the fees, double the tips: “paying “the black person who cuts your grass double what you might ordinarily pay.”
“Look,” Dyson argues in a recent New York Times Magazine interview, “if it doesn’t cost you anything, you’re not really engaging in change; you’re engaging in convenience. You’re engaged in the overflow. I’m asking you to do stuff you wouldn’t ordinarily do. I’m asking you to think more seriously and strategically about why you possess what you possess….That is what I meant by an I.R.A.: an individual reparations account. You ain’t got to ask the government, you don’t have to ask your local politician — this is what you, an individual, conscientious, “woke” citizen can do.”
I swear that I’ll put aside my biases against any college professor who uses “ain’t” to be folksy, as well as anyone period who uses the term “woke,” and present this Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz Of The Day:
Is a personal policy of paying and tipping service providers more if they are black ethical?
Oh, hell…I can’t possibly hold my fire on this one. Of course it is unethical. Dyson is the academic version of Al Sharpton, a slick professional race-baiter, and his smugly biased pronouncements and the way they are accepted as polished diamonds of wisdom when they are nothing more than hackery drives me nuts.In this case, however, his pronouncement is so ridiculous that my reaction would be the same even if I wasn’t already convinced that he was smug fraud.
In the interview with the Times (the interviewer was Ana Marie Cox, herself on the Ethics Alarms blacklist for founding the unethical website Wonkette), Dyson also spoke of the “wonderful presidency of Barack Obama.” Wonderful! Sputtering economy! All time highs in public assistance! Exploding deficit! Police being assassinated! His party refusing to accept a lawful election! Inability to cut deals with Congress! Leadership by executive fiat! U.S. citizens being droned without due process! Incompetence in agency after agency! Gender wars on campus (sparked by Obama’s Education Department)! Racial distrust at dangerous highs! Betrayal of core U.S. allies! The rise of ISIS! 400,000 dead in Syria, with Obama’s Secretary of State proud of his failed efforts! Trump President! Democrats in disarray! Wonderful!
Anyone—a bartender, a stripper, a bank teller, a homeless person, a sword-swallower, a Presidential candidate—who will say without giggling that this has been a wonderful Presidency is so dishonest, ignorant or demented that they must forfeit all credibility. For a college professor to say this, and more than that, a media pop-star professor, indicts everyone who takes his class, gives him a forum, or sits quietly beaming, nodding their heads and saying “O enlighten us further, wise one!”
But I digress.
Where was I?
Oh, right: whether whites should give blacks more money for the same services as they pay other whites, Asian immigrants , single mothers, elderly retirees, disabled veterans and anyone else. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!
Was that clear enough?
1. Doing so is inherently condescending and insulting to African Americans, no matter how Dyson spins it.
2. We do not achieve racial equality by discriminating based on race. We undermine it.
3. If this practice is ethical, it means that it should be transparent. I hire four teens to clean my basement: a white male, a Vietnamese male, a black male, and a female Hispanic American. They complete the job, and I pay all but the black male 4o bucks, while paying him 80 as the rest watch. The black male, by the way, is the son of a wealthy, Yale educated gynecologist who lives down the street. What will the other four think? What should they think? They should think that they are being discriminated against, based on race….because they are.
4. Dyson is pushing the increasingly current and intellectually bankrupt argument that special standards for the races is the mission of civil rights reform. Ebony Magazine editor Jamilah Lemieux, for example, has opined that only whites should be regarded as engaging in hate crimes.
There are some ideas so bone-meltingly idiotic that they require an immediate slapdown the second they are floated, by anyone within listening–or slapping— distance. Changing the language to Lithuanian. Lowering the voting age to 6. Banning shoes as environmentally unsound. This idea is in that category, and the fact that it came out of the mouth of a black college professor doesn’t enhance it one bit. It just devalues the professor, the university that employs him, and anyone who takes him seriously.