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One-on-One with Michael Eric Dyson

By Titus Falodun Staff Writer | 6/21/2013, 8:16 a.m.
Michael Eric Dyson, professor, analyst, and author.

AV: What do you foresee as Obama’s legacy?

MED: “He’s the first African-American President. The man has faced impossible odds and done incredible things. How he bailed out the automobile industry, and was proved to be right when it was successful and paid back some of the money it got. He saved the banks. I know a lot of people say, ‘Well, he’s more interested in Wall Street than Main Street’. Can you imagine the headline that the first black President of the United States of America let the banks fail? There’s no getting over that. So, the man has faced impossible odds and has been victorious.”

AV: What will come of Obama’s tour to Africa next month?

MED: “I hope it doesn’t result in more lectures of Mr. Obama to Africa, like resulted in the first time he went there.  Like he tended to do with Black America more specifically. And I hope he doesn’t do it to Africans more broadly. He’s not lecturing the Israelis. He’s not lecturing the others. He’s lecturing black people. So yeah, it’s pretty condescending. “

AV: How does the recent National Security Agency leak affect the Obama administration?

MED: “A lot of people in that administration, before they got into the White House, said it was wrong to be spying on American citizens. When it happened under George Bush, it seemed to be problematic. A lot of Americans here view [Edward] Snowden as a hero because he told the truth about what was happening. And Mr. Obama’s administration wanted transparency. They welcomed the conversation about what’s going on. Here’s the conversation.”

AV: What’s your take on Cornel West’s and Tavis Smiley’s criticisms of President Obama?

MED: “I think there are critics and haters. Unfortunately, I think they used to be critics, [now] they’re haters. These two great gentlemen have personalized their disgust and disdain with Obama, so much that it has removed them from the realm of reasonable and logical response. And they’re seen as haters with nothing of value to offer in their criticism of the President. And I’d have to agree.”

AV: What does the First Family represent to America?

MED: “They are the picture of ‘The Great American Family’. ‘The Blessed Black Family.’ There is nothing but effusive praise and adoration for them from black America and beyond. And they are right. They are an extraordinary unit. And they say all the right things about love and kinship that we can imagine.”