Dyson Sees 'Terror' in US: 'Vicious Police Forces' 'Have Victimized' Blacks

Appearing as a guest on Wednesday's New Day on CNN, Georgetown University professor and former MSNBC analyst Michael Eric Dyson likened police actions against black Americans to terrorism as CNN's Chris Cuomo argued that many voters were motivated to vote for Donald Trump by non-race-related issues like terrorism from ISIS. 

Dyson griped: "Color-neutral and ISIS? Many African-American people said, '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.'"

After Cuomo pushed back that he was making a "false equivalence between having Islamic extremists wanting to eradicate the American way of life to police versus citizens," Dyson made a tortured argument in which he tried to suggest that police violence should be as big a concern as terrorism because more whites are killed by other whites than by terrorism, just as more blacks are killed by other blacks than by police officers. Dyson:

Most people have died not from Mohammed but from Billy Bob, in terms of white people. White on white crime has done far more to damage America than ISIS. So by Rudy Giuliani's logic, we should not be concerned about terror. I don't believe that, but I'm saying to you, even in those components you just said are race-neutral, have a racial segment to them because black people and brown people experience them differently than the larger community.

Imagine the outrage if anyone arguing a conservative point of view used stereotyped names to refer to people of certain races. But little notice is taken when a liberal analyst refers to Muslims and whites as "Mohammed" and "Billy Bob."

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Earlier in the segment, after the liberal professor lavished praise on President Barack Obama as he leaves office, Cuomo asked about the issue of whether race relations had gotten worse because of the presence of a black President. Cuomo:

So there was an expectation that, when Barack Obama was elected, it would inherently improve race relations because we had broken a barrier. There's a counter-argument which is that, "No, because you now had an African-American in a position of power, there would necessarily be reaction formation, and you would have an evening to a dip in race relations as a result." How do you see it?

Dyson, true to form, touted the role of racist feelings toward blacks in motivating some Americans to vote for Trump. Dyson began:

That's a pretty insightful analysis there. The thing is, Obama evoked or at least provoked a kind of racial animus that we hadn't seen explicitly expressed in America for quite a while -- all the racist jokes against him, even in police departments. When they looked at Ferguson, some of the police people on duty were making horrible remarks about him. Politicians have said horrible things. They've tried to make them simians and animals and so on.

He added:

So that kind of racial animus came above board because Obama provoked it because his presence there brought a lot of consternation to people who thought, "We shouldn't be involved in this kind of thing as an American citizenry. We want a President who looks like us, not like him." So it did bring to bear some of those things.

Co-host Camerota invited him to go further as she posed: "You believe -- correct me if I'm wrong -- that the election of President-elect Trump was a reaction -- or I guess was more race-based than a lot of other people think."

After acknowledging that economic issues played a role with some voters, the liberal professor added:

But let's be honest, a lot of the response against Barack Obama was for no other reason than he was a black man. If you don't like Barack Obama as a black man, there aren't too many other brothers you're going to dig because he's nice, he's genial, he's affable, he agrees with people who disagrees 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.

After Camerota noted that Hillary Clinton is also white, leading Dyson to bring up Trump's history of pushing birtherism, the CNN host pushed back slightly at racism being a motivation for voters as she posed: "You think that's why people voted for him? Or they overlooked that because they believed he was going to be helpful to business and maybe--"

Dyson sarcastically jumped in:

Oh, your faith in the American citizen is high. They overlooked what? That Donald Trump for two years with lethal intensity continued to assault a sitting President as, quote, "illegitimate," and now, thin-skinned that he is, can't even take John Lewis saying that you may be illegitimate? Yeah, I don't think people overlooked that. I think he ginned up the racial animus.

The race-obsessed former MSNBC political analyst added:

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 in our collective enterprise of thinking about American citizenship and democracy. And, as a result of that, got elected. Because of demographic destiny, a few states voted for him. He is a very unpopular President going into his own inauguration. And he is a person who is dividing the country and not uniting it. I think the contrast between Obama and him is rather stark.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Wednesday, January 18, New Day on CNN:

8:49 a.m. ET

CHRIS CUOMO: So there was an expectation that, when Barack Obama was elected, it would inherently improve race relations because we had broken a barrier. There's a counter-argument which is that, "No, because you now had an African-American in a position of power, there would necessarily be reaction formation, and you would have an evening to a dip in race relations as a result." How do you see it?

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: That's a pretty insightful analysis there. The thing is, Obama evoked or at least provoked a kind of racial animus that we hadn't seen explicitly expressed in America for quite a while -- all the racist jokes against him, even in police departments. When they looked at Ferguson, some of the police people on duty were making horrible remarks about him. Politicians have said horrible things. They've tried to make them simians and animals and so on.

So that kind of racial animus came above board because Obama provoked it because his presence there brought a lot of consternation to people who thought, "We shouldn't be involved in this kind of thing as an American citizenry. We want a President who looks like us, not like him." So it did bring to bear some of those things. But Obama also 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 within his own citizenry.

ALISYN CAMEROTA: You believe -- correct me if I'm wrong -- that the election of President-elect Trump was a reaction -- or I guess was more race-based than a lot of other people think.

DYSON :Well, yeah. I mean, that's not all it was. I mean, obviously, people who were poor and suffering and hurt, felt ironically enough that a billionaire would be able to identify with them. But let's be honest, a lot of the response against Barack Obama was for no other reason than he was a black man. If you don't like Barack Obama as a black man, there aren't too many other brothers you're going to dig because he's nice, he's genial, he's affable, he agrees with people who disagrees 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: Wait a second -- just hold on one second, because how did that allow Donald Trump to be elected? In other words, if you're saying that there was some racism that went into electing Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton isn't a black male either. So how can you-

DYSON: Right, but did Hillary Clinton lead the birther movement? The very guy that questioned the legitimacy of Barack Obama as a black man is now the President of the United States of America. You're answering your own question, in that sense.

CAMEROTA: And you think -- hold on -- you think that's why people voted for him? Or they overlooked that because they believed he was going to be helpful to business and maybe-

DYSON: Oh, your faith in the American citizen is high. They overlooked what? That Donald Trump for two years with lethal intensity continued to assault a sitting President as, quote, "illegitimate," and now, thin-skinned that he is, can't even take John Lewis saying that you may be illegitimate? Yeah, I don't think people overlooked 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 in our collective enterprise of thinking about American citizenship and democracy. And, as a result of that, got elected. Because of demographic destiny, a few states voted for him. He is a very unpopular President going into his own inauguration. And he is a person who is dividing the country and not uniting it. I think the contrast between Obama and him is rather stark.

CUOMO: You have the what, and then you have the "how much." There are a lot of people who voted out there because they feel we've been weak on ISIS. That's color-neutral. The problems with ObamaCare about keeping your own plan in the rollout. That was color-neutral. The feelings about the balance of economic resurgence after 2008, again, color-neutral. So while it may have been a portion of what was going on, how do you see it on balance and how it played?

DYSON: But take those three. Color-neutral and ISIS? Many African-American people said, "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: A false equivalence between having Islamic extremists wanting to eradicate the American way of life to police versus citizens.

DYSON: Well, 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."

CUOMO: Was the debate over when he said "you people"?

(Dyson laughs)

DYSON: Then, he said, look, "Most," he said, however, "of the killings are done by black people against black people." Well, 93 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 10 years?

CUOMO: Not many.

DYSON: I don' t know, maybe 100.

CUOMO: Not many.

DYSON: Most people have died not from Mohammed but from Billy Bob, in terms of white people. White on white crime has done far more to damage America than ISIS. So by Rudy Giuliani's logic, we should not be concerned about terror. I don't believe that, but I'm saying to you, even in those components you just said are race-neutral, have a racial segment to them because black people and brown people experience them differently than the larger community.

NB Daily 2016 Presidential Crime Economy Middle East Immigration Conservatives & Republicans Race Issues Racism Islam CNN New Day Video Chris Cuomo Alisyn Camerota Michael Eric Dyson Donald Trump Barack Obama


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