Commonwealth National Podcast

Michael Eric Dyson, Humanities Professor, University of Pennsylvania; Author, Debating Race (3/6/2007)

Duration: 
1:08:07

SPEAKER: Michael Eric Dyson, Humanities Professor, University of Pennsylvania; Author, Debating Race


TITLE: Debating Race
 

The so called “hip-hop intellectual” Michael Eric Dyson – the man who challenged actor Bill Cosby for his attack on poor blacks – will tell us why racial injustice and class antagonism are still important matters of national concern. He will touch on many current issues, including the continuing debate on affirmative action, the racial fallout after 9/11, the influence of Condoleeza Rice in black America, and what Hurricane Katrina and devastation of New Orleans reveals about race in America.

Dyson is widely considered to be a role model and patriarch in the African American community—having grown up as a welfare recipient, he is now an Ivy League professor. Known for framing the debate on race, he has coined the words "Afristocracy" and "ghettocracy,” culturally prevalent terms used to describe the separation of middle-class and low-income black Americans. Dyson is also one of the world's leading scholars on the hip-hop music genre, its roots in African and African-American cultures, and its influence on American popular culture.

Dyson holds a Ph.D. in Religion from Princeton University and presently serves as Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of many books, including Why I Love Black Women; The True Martin Luther King, Jr.; Race Rules: Navigating the Color Line; Between God and Gangsta Rap; and Is Bill Cosby Right?. He is also an ordained Baptist minister.
 

This program was recorded live on March 6, 2007