Long Time Coming: Reckoning with Race in America

Michael Eric Dyson. St. Martin’s, $25.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-250-27675-9
Georgetown University sociology professor Dyson (What Truth Sounds Like) offers heartfelt letters to victims of racial injustice in America. In a letter to Emmett Till, Dyson considers how the phenomenon of inherited racial trauma (“We feel the history in our bones”) reverberates through every high-profile racially motivated killing. Writing to Eric Garner, Dyson refers to police as the “blue plague” and “violent enforcers of white supremacy.” In a letter to Breonna Taylor, Dyson examines how Black people stolen from Africa “resisted complete submission to slavery” by faking illness, spoiling crops, and saving their energy during the day to attend dances, worship, and steal food at night. The letter addressed to 15-year-old Chicago murder victim Hadiya Pendleton veers somewhat abruptly into a tangent about cancel culture and the legacy of basketball star Kobe Bryant, but concludes with a cogent call to build a “solid and substantive notion of racial amnesty” for white people “who own up to the fact that they haven’t got this race thing right.” Dyson also provides valuable historical and sociopolitical context in his vivid descriptions of how Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd died. Rich with feeling and insight, this elegiac account hits home. (Dec.)
Reviewed on : 10/07/2020
Release date: 12/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-250-80841-7
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