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Marc Lamont Hill’s Overrated Black People List: Michael Eric Dyson – by David Horowitz

Posted By David Horowitz On October 12, 2009 @ 1:00 am In FrontPage | 17 Comments

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In a recent twitter the eminent Fox commentator Marc Lamont Hill asked his followers in exasperation,

“Am I the only one who thinks that awarding Barack Obama the Nobel Peace Prize is ABSURD?!?!?!”

Hill coupled that with this:

“Ok, now I HAVE to to start my ‘overrated Black people’ list. A NOBEL PRIZE? REALLY?”

We at NewsReal are going to take Hill up on this insightful suggestion (and we will also invite Mr. Hill to post his own candidates). For what Marc Lamont Hill has stumbled onto here is one of the tragedies of our time, inflicted on black people by  progressives pretending to be their defenders.

Shelby Steele has written an insightful book called White Guilt which examines how whites have rewarded behaviors by individual blacks with levels of incompetence that they wouldn’t tolerate for a second in themselves. They have done it in the name of enlightenment and “social justice.”  But the effect is just the opposite. It deprives blacks of the tests of self that make achievement possible. In Steele’s formulation “no one ever learned to jump higher by lowering the bar.” (There are no affirmative action athletes and consequently no black superstar’s credentials are questioned. ) Preferential treatment for blacks in intellectual fields undermines the real achievements of African Americans by casting doubt on any credential that they receive. This is an injury that cannot be repaired by more quotas, or by any quotas.

Barack Obama is a man of several obvious talents but a Nobel Prize is not one of them (and being president probably isn’t either). Of course there are plenty of over-rated whites — Al Gore, an empty-headed, truth-challenged blowhard whose  politically correct prejudices got him a Nobel, an Oscar and an opera at La Scala is obviously one.  But it is blacks who have suffered the most from affirmative action prizes and unearned promotions. We are launching this list as a service both to the African American community and the country at large, since this ongoing hypocrisy and the double-standards it supports hurt us all.

I will begin the list with my favorite black phony, Michael Eric Dyson, an overpaid professor of sociology at Georgetown University (previously DePaul and UPenn) who once gave an Ivy League seminar in Great Religious Thinkers (at the time he was a professor of “religious studies”) which was solely devoted to the religious works of the rapper, gangster and convicted rapist Tupac Shakur. The Boston Phoenix describes the perpetrator of this hoax as America’s “preminent black intellectual” thus implicating all black intellectuals in his ongoing farce.

Since the leftwing Yahoos rather than providing evidence that we have misjudged these cases will undoubtedly attack and defame the list as “racist,” I should point out that there are many obviously intelligent and worthy black intellectuals, just as intelligent and worthy — and in some cases more intelligent and worthy — than many of their white peers. These would include Thomas Sowell, Orlando Patterson, William Julius Wilson, Juan Williams, Shelby Steele, Walter Williams, and even Henry Louis Gates. Just for the record.

Our subject for today, Michael Eric Dyson, has just published a collection of his wisdom. It is titled Can You Hear Me Now? The Inspiration, Wisdom, and Insight of Michael Eric Dyson. It is designed to celebrate him as a modern day prophet.  It comes with a blurb from President Barack Obama, as inflated as its subject:

“Everybody who speaks after Michael Eric Dyson pales in comparison.”

It comes with a blurb from the W.E.B. DuBois Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard’s W.E.B. DuBois institute comparing Dyson to….W.E.B. Dubois. It comes with an imprimatur vouching for Dyson’s scholarly credentials from (drumroll….) rapper Jay Z: “Michael Eric Dyson…is a world class scholar…”  but with no indication of how Mr. Z would know. Finally, Dyson’s book comes with a gag-inducing introduction by the prominent writer Dave Eggers titled “Telling the Truth Gently” (and killing me softly too). Eggers describes the book as “wall-to-wall aphoristic wisdom,”

In fact, Dyson is a virtuouso of the meaningless sentence and the banal (often illiterately expressed) cliche. I can only provide a small sample, which I will simply quote leaving it to readers to see if they can make any sense of them.


“In the adjectival sense in which we measure racial progress, Obama is not a black president, but a black president.” (p. 3)

Faith and Spirit

“Spirituality makes religion behave.” (p. 19)


“Barry White’s heterosexual boudoir bravado and elaborate orchestrations are of a piece with the bohemian rhapsodies spawned in homeoerotic fields of play.” (p. 68) I think he means that lesbians are big fans of the late R&B singer Barry White.

Literature, Language and Learning

“The writer’s gift can make us see ourselves and our moral possibilities different than what our reality suggests.” (p. 73)

“I was born in language; I was nurtured in a rhetorical womb.” (ibid)

“Writing is ultimately about rewriting.” (p. 84)

“Try as we might to quarantine knowledge, it invariably sneezes on us far beyond its imposed limits.” (p. 85)

Justice and Suffering

Justice is what love sounds like when it speaks in public.” (p. 125)


“Femiphobia — the fear and disdain of the female.” (p. 157)

“Real men aren’t afraid of real women.” (p. 164)

Preachers and Preaching

“In the best black oratory, style is not juxtaposed to argument; in fact, style becomes a vehicle of substance.” (p. 170)

“Paying attention to how you say what you say doesn’t mean you have nothing to say.” (p. 174)

“Martin Luther King’s speech was a clinic in the use of the vocal instrument to vibrate in swooping glissandos and poignant crescendos. King showed that there didn’t have to be strife between lexis (style, such as metaphor) pisteis (argumentation and proof) as there is in Aristotle’s view of rhetoric.” (p. 178)

Race and Identity

“Race is not a card. It is a condition.” (p. 185)

“When O.J. Simpson took that long, slow ride down the L.A. freeway in A.J. Cowlings’s Bronco, it wasn’t the first time he used a white vehicle to escape a black reality.” (p. 188)


“It is not hypocritical to fail to achieve the moral standards that one believes are correct. Hypocrisy comes when leaders conjure moral standards that they refuse to apply to themselves….” (p. 210)

Poverty and Class

“We’re still in the closet about class in America.” (p.260)


“Bill Maher is one of the bravest and most brilliant social critics we have in the aftermath of 9/11.” (p.292)

“Tell the truth gently.” (p.294)

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