Tears We Cannot Stop

  • by Michael Eric Dyson
  • Narrated by Michael Eric Dyson
  • 5 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the wake of yet another set of police killings of black men, Michael Eric Dyson wrote a tell-it-straight, no-holds-barred piece for the NYT on Sunday, July 7: "Death in Black and White" (it was updated within a day to acknowledge the killing of police officers in Dallas). The response has been overwhelming. Beyoncé and Isabel Wilkerson tweeted it; JJ Abrams, among many other prominent people, wrote him a long fan letter. The NYT closed the comments section after 2,500 responses, and Dyson has been on NPR, BBC, and CNN nonstop since then.
Fifty years ago Malcolm X told a white woman who asked what she could do for the cause, "Nothing." Dyson believes he was wrong. In Tears We Cannot Stop, he responds to that question. 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. As Dyson writes, "At birth you are given a pair of binoculars that see black life from a distance, never with the texture of intimacy. Those binoculars are privilege; they are status, regardless of your class. In fact the greatest privilege that exists is for white folk to get stopped by a cop and not end up dead.... The problem is you do not want to know anything different from what you think you know.... You think we have been handed everything because we fought your selfish insistence that the world, all of it - all its resources, all its riches, all its bounty, all its grace - should be yours first and foremost, and if there's anything left, why then we can have some, but only if we ask politely and behave gratefully."
In the tradition of The Fire Next Time (Baldwin), short, emotional, literary, powerful, this is the book that all Americans who care about the current and long-burning crisis in race relations need to hear.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Invite this man in and listen closely

I loved spending time with Michael Eric Dyson - in my car and in my kitchen. Hearing him read his own words felt very intimate to me.

He subtitles this book a sermon but I felt it was a conversation. I was not being lectured or preached at. He refers to the listener often as "beloved" and that moniker felt genuine to me. His purpose in reaching out to us is to draw us into to see a world we may not understand.

My first thought after finishing this book is that ignorance is a choice. People walk among us harboring prejudice and biases because they have chosen not to know the world - not because anyone is preventing them from knowing the world.

I would highly recommend this audiobook. The fact that "sermon" is in the title might put a lot of people off, but don't be put off.

The thought of spending what precious years I have on this earth living an unexamined life is anathema to me. It also perpetuates beyond my lifetime the institutional racism and sexism that plagues our country. That is not the legacy I want to leave behind for my children and grandchildren.

Wouldn't it be a wonderful thing to see this book chosen by bookclubs across America as a work they want to read and discuss? It's necessary to change people's hearts before you change their minds. Michael Eric Dyson approaches his subject that way and his words are very compelling.
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- Catherine S. Read

A call to action

I struggled through this book. not because it was not interesting. The performance was gripping. As a 30 year old white man this book was challenging on many levels. if I were to call this book thought provoking, it would announce a great failure, for thoughts of change have been all I've ever had, so I will call it a call to action, because that would be it's greatest victory in my heart.
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- Bradley

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-17-2017
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio