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What Truth Sounds Like
What Truth Sounds Like: Robert F. Kennedy, James Baldwin, and Our Unfinished Conversation About Race in America | Michael Eric Dyson
A stunning follow up to New York Times bestseller Tears We Cannot Stop, a timely exploration of America's tortured racial politics President Barack Obama: "Everybody who speaks after Michael Eric Dyson pales in comparison. In 2015 BLM activist Julius Jones confronted Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with an urgent query: What in your heart has changed thats going to change the direction of this country? I dont believe you just change hearts, she protested. I believe you change laws. The fraught conflict between conscience and politics between morality and power in addressing race hardly began with Clinton. An electrifying and traumatic encounter in the sixties crystallized these furious disputes. In 1963 Attorney General Robert Kennedy sought out James Baldwin to explain the rage that threatened to engulf black America. Baldwin brought along some friends, including playwright Lorraine Hansberry, psychologist Kenneth Clark, and a valiant activist, Jerome Smith. It was Smiths relentless, unfiltered fury that set Kennedy on his heels, reducing him to sullen silence. Kennedy walked away from the nearly three-hour meeting angry that the black folk assembled didnt understand politics, and that they werent as easy to talk to as Martin Luther King. But especially that they were more interested in witness than policy. But Kennedys anger quickly gave way to empathy, especially for Smith. I guess if I were in his shoes...I might feel differently about this country. Kennedy set about changing policy the meeting having transformed his thinking in fundamental ways. There was more: every big argument about race that persists to this day got a hearing in that room. Smith declaring that hed never fight for his country given its racist tendencies, and Kennedy being appalled at such lack of patriotism, tracks the disdain for black dissent in our own time. His belief that black folk were ungrateful for the Kennedys efforts to make things better shows up in our day as the charge that black folk wallow in the politics of ingratitude and victimhood. The contributions of black queer folk to racial progress still cause a stir. BLM has been accused of harboring a covert queer agenda. The immigrant experience, like that of Kennedy versus the racial experience of Baldwin is a cudgel to excoriate black folk for lacking hustle and ingenuity. The questioning of whether folk who are interracially partnered can authentically communicate black interests persists. And we grapple still with the responsibility of black intellectuals and artists to bring about social change. What Truth Sounds Like exists at the tense intersection of the conflict between politics and prophecy of whether we embrace political resolution or moral redemption to fix our fractured racial landscape. The future of race and democracy hang in the balance.
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Pedrocamacho
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Dyson has written an interesting and wide-ranging book centered on 1963 meeting between RFK, James Baldwin, and a number of other prominent civil rights activists. It ranges beyond this meeting, however, to encompass modern activism and the Obama and Trump presidencies, among other topics. It is well worth a read.

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Nebklvr
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A more academic styled read about historical figures who fought racism which bleeds into the present day artists, intellectuals, and politicians fighting for freedom. It was hammered home that the Black elite are expected to stand for their people while white stars are allowed to be just themselves.

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Nebklvr
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The more things change....

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Nebklvr
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Lin-Manuel Miranda quote.

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Nebklvr
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Next up.

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Hooked_on_books
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Using a meeting between James Baldwin and RFK as a jumping off point, Dyson discusses race in our culture, primarily focusing on pop culture and athletes, with a look at how things have changed and have they have not. I like his perspective and really enjoyed segments of this book but struggled to pay attention to other parts. Not sure if that was me or the book. 🤷🏼‍♀️

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daniwithtea
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This author does a phenomenal job of connecting a single conversation in 1963 to the issues we (still) face today.

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daniwithtea
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I‘m only about 1/4 through this book, but I‘m finding it incredibly powerful - and a nice companion piece to Walking with the Wind, which I read late last year.

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Christine
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Michael Eric Dyson has incredibly important things to say about race in America. As long as he keeps writing books, I‘ll keep reading them. With the 1963 meeting between RFK and James Baldwin used more as a framework than a main topic, this book is full of astute and nuanced discussions about politics, activism, the approaches and impacts of various leaders (including Obama, Hillary, and athletes and artists past and present), and so much more.

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JSW
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I had to turn this back in to the library and didn‘t finish it, but what I read was magnificent, critical, honest, straightforward, and essential reading.

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JSW
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Hard truth. Essential reading.

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MsLeah8417
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🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
A must read for all.
Dyson tackles race in a way that is necessary and needed in America today. All Americans need to read this book.

overtheedge I'll look for it! 1y
MsLeah8417 @overtheedge the author narrates the audiobook and does a fabulous job. 1y
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SW-T
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Thoughtful and insightful book about the meeting between Attorney General Robert Kennedy, James Baldwin, Lorraine Hansberry, Kenneth Clark, Lena Horne, Jerome Smith, and Harry Belafonte. Dyson delivers as always. You can tell he‘s a man who loves language and history.

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LivingReflections
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Pop quiz: JFK, RFK, or Joseph P Kennedy III?? #24in48 read

pgh.femme I‘m thinking Robert. 1y
LivingReflections Sounds so much like RFK, right? But it is his grandson and current congressman from MA, Joseph P Kennedy III. Kid just might be going places... 1y
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LivingReflections
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Because some people don't know or can't remember.... #24in48

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Notafraidofwords
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This was such a good reading experience, I don‘t know if my review would give it justice. In 1963 General Robert Kennedy reached out to Baldwin to put together a group that might help him to understand the black American experience. This book recounts that meeting & much more. This deep insight into the 1900s and political figures today and of the past was fascinating. He also makes a case for Hilary Clinton that is both complex and insightful.

Reggie I saw this guy on The View and he made me want to pick up a book of his. He was just so well spoken. There are times when you can‘t find the words and he knew all of them. 1y
Notafraidofwords @Reggie oh definitely! He‘s a preacher so he‘s got the talking part down. Both of his books are amazing ! 1y
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BrownGirlReading
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Michael Eric Dyson continues is discussion on race in America. His analysis on America of the past and today is on point. Great read if I you know a lot about American culture. Go check out my full review on the my blog browngirlreading.com #readsoullit

BellaBookNook Hey Lady!! I loved his last book. It was one of my favorites of last year! Can‘t wait to read this one. 1y
BrownGirlReading @BellaBookNook I thoroughly enjoyed it. He‘s brilliant! 1y
BrownGirlReading @BellaBookNook So good and informative as usual. I‘d listen to it if possible. He has such a great voice! 1y
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FernsAndFairyTales
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Last night I got to see Michael Eric Dyson discuss his new book and the state of activism today with DeRay Mckesson. Let‘s just say it was incredible and inspiring.

CoffeeK8 That sounds like a really amazing evening 1y
12 likes1 comment