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Michael Eric Dyson says President Obama needs to step up in Ferguson

michael-eric-dysonMichael Eric Dyson says President Obama needs to step up in Ferguson

By Liku Zelleke

Georgetown University Professor Michael Eric Dyson called on President Barack Obama to use his influence and get more involved in the current situation occurring in Ferguson.

On Sunday morning, Dyson was on Face the Nation, where he also criticized the local law enforcement as well as Missouri Governor Jay Nixon.

“I yearn for more response from the White House. This President knows better than most what happened in poor communities that have been antagonized historically by the hostile relationship between Black people and the police department. It is not enough for him to come on national television and pretend there is a false moral equivalency between police people who are armed and Black people who are vulnerable constantly to this,” Dyson said.

He added, “He needs to use his bully pulpit to step up and articulate this as a vision. Not necessarily in terms of public policy alone, because Eric Holder is doing a tremendous job in filling in those gaps. But we need presidential leadership. He needs to step up to the plate and be responsible.”

Dyson said that the shooting of Michael Brown, 18, who was struck down by six bullets while he himself was unarmed, was a symptom of a larger problem in the nation.

“Ferguson is emblematic of those larger shifts. You’ve got white flight of a formerly white suburb that’s now 65 percent Black. You’ve got 22 percent poverty; you’ve got the over-policing of an entire community who feel racially harassed by the police. Every 28 hours across America a Black person is killed by a security guard, a police officer or some other executive of the state or police force,” Dyson said.

Dyson also said that President Obama has the “responsibility to tell the truth”.

“Especially white people, whose white privilege obscures from them what it means that their children can walk home and be safe,” said Dyson, “they’re not fearful of the fact that somebody will kill their child who goes to get some iced tea and some candy from a store. Until that equality is brought, the President bears a unique responsibility and burden to tell that truth.”


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