Tears We Cannot Stop

Tears We Cannot Stop

A Sermon to White America

Book - 2017
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Baker & Taylor
A call for change in the United States argues that racial progress can only be achieved after facing difficult truths, including being honest about how black grievance has been ignored, dismissed, and discounted.

McMillan Palgrave


“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."

As the country grapples with race with anguish and anger at a level not seen since the 60s, one of America’s leading black voices speaks out honestly and provocatively to white America.

& Taylor

"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. Beyoncâe 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 non-stop 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 whatyou 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"--Provided by publisher.

Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, c2017
ISBN: 9781250135995
Branch Call Number: 305.80097 DYS
Characteristics: 228 p. ;,20 cm


From Library Staff

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. The response has been overwhelming. Beyonce and Isabel Wilkerson tweeted it, JJ Abrams, among many other promi... Read More »

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Jul 27, 2018

Passionately written sermon by a leading African-American pastor who shares some of his own personal experiences with racism, whether overt or covert. This is aimed at white people who've never paused to examine their privilege. He ends his speech with an excellent chapter on how to help, from simply showing up at protests, to selecting a non-profit to support. While most of the words are lyrical (a police car is described as a "mobile plantation, with the sirens representing the hunting dogs of slavers"), I think a tighter edit would have made an even more compelling presentation.

Jun 15, 2018

Reminds me of "The First Next Time."

SPL_Shauna Oct 17, 2017

This book is powerfully, beautifully written, and a must-read for anyone who wants to be an ally to Black communities. Dyson's lyrical language doesn't pull any punches around the grizzly effects of racism on Black lives, but the musicality of the words pulls you through and helps you bear witness. Highly recommended to any fans of Ta-Nehisi Coates, Mychal Denzel Smith, or anyone with an interest in Civil Rights and the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Also worth noting: Despite the title, this is one of the most hopeful books I've recently read. So, don't let your bad news fatigue combine with the title to scare you off of this one.

Sep 17, 2017

A friend of ours was reading this and wanted someone to discuss it with. The hubby and I decided to grab the audio book version and listen to it on the way to a camping trip. For some reason, when the hubby put the book on his iPhone (we have a VW van with a cassette player so have to transfer CDs onto our mobile devices if we want to listen to them in the car), the tracks got out of order. Thankfully most of the chapters stand on their own so it wasn't too terrible. Recently the hubby and I watched the documentary "13th". I feel as though this book went along with that film. I appreciate that this book not only lays out the serious and urgent issues facing America, but also gives action steps to help with healing and advancement. I would give it a 7 out of 10.

PimaLib_NormS Jul 26, 2017

“Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon To White America”, by Michael Eric Dyson, just might be one of those challenging, thought-provoking books everyone should read. Even if one does not agree with the assertions and conclusions proffered by Dr. Dyson, how else can we even begin the arduous process of solving the intractable racial problems in this country if we don’t listen to, and consider, each other’s opinions? For example, in Dr. Dyson’s opinion, I am a member of a privileged class. Cluelessly, I had no idea. I would never have described myself that way. But a cursory glance at history would reveal that being male and white in this country has undeniably been advantageous. I do not, and will not, apologize for my gender or skin color, but perhaps now I have the beginnings of an understanding as to why someone of color might think I was privileged (although, a quick look at my bank account might suggest otherwise). And, the chapter on the relationship African-Americans have with the police was illuminating. When I see those flashing lights in my rearview mirror, I feel fear. I feel fear that I’m going to get an expensive ticket. When someone is DWB, Driving While Black, and sees those flashing lights, that person might feel the fear of, “Is this cop going to shoot me?” There are provocative, mind-awakening passages throughout this important book. I do not agree with everything Michael Eric Dyson wrote in “Tears”. But I am glad to have read it.

CMLibrary_gjd_0 Jun 29, 2017

Ladies and Gentleman, listen up; Dr. Dyson has something to tell us and we need to listen--NOW. The hurts our fellow Americans are experiencing hurt ALL OF US; we must come together if we're going to stay together.

For a more in-depth review please see: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/cmlibrarygjd0


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CMLibrary_gjd_0 Jul 17, 2017

pg 32 Lord, convict this your nation as never before. Let our lives testify to your majesty, your love, your grace--and may this land know your displeasure, taste your holy wrath, for killing us like pigs without conscience.

pg 63 But there is little justification for Obama hate, except that he was a black man in charge of our country and many whites wanted to take it back and make it great again.

pg 66 there are a lot of privileges that folk get the don't depend on cash. The greatest one may getting stopped by a cop and living to talk about it.

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