A former preacher, the Ivy League grad alternated between fiery oration, rapping, and Country music lyrics; his talk peppered with vocabulary that runs the gamut from scholar to gutter. But his audience of about 150, the majority African American, was rapt. That is with the exception of one family who left in disgust after a particularly salty rant, just as Michael Eric Dyson was telling his audience that black women deserve more respect.
He said, “Black women are on the sidelines. Forbidden from standing on stage as in many churches black women cannot disgrace the pulpit with their very gendered presence! Boy, what kind of God do you serve? Is God that weak that a woman in insults God?”
That struck a chord with Fannie Smith, a first-grade teacher from Holly Springs.
She said, “We may have thought it, but never really said it. Especially when he talked about how women are in the black churches. They don’t think we should have leadership roles. Knowing it, but never speaking it.”
A sharp critic of entertainer Bill Cosby for his past comments on so-called black ghetto behavior, Dyson also took President Obama to task.
Dyson said, “He has participated in the demonization of black people, too. He goes to Barnard College, graduating women and he celebrates them. He goes to Morehouse and he talks as if they are graduating from a penal institution.”
Afterwards, the Georgetown sociology professor posed with audience members for selfies, hugged his many fans, and happily signed copies of his books.