Dr. Shelby Steele, an author, columnist and documentary filmmaker, described radio host and author Michael Eric Dyson as “a plague” who preaches “bad faith” to minority Americans, during an interview Wednesday on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”
Steele, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, authored the book “Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country.” LifeZette Editor-in-Chief Laura Ingraham asked Steele, who is black, to respond to comments Dyson, a professor of Sociology at Georgetown University, made Monday at the National Action Network’s “Ministers’ March for Justice.”
“Part of the problem going on now is ’cause one guy in office hated the guy who came before him,” Dyson said as he ripped into President Donald Trump. “You [sic] just mad a Negro was in charge. The anti-blackness that we see manifest with lethal ferocity and troubling reality is mirrored in the fact that he just hates the fact that a black man was in charge.”
Dyson’s tirade against Trump came over two weeks after the deadly white nationalist “Unite the Right” rally that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia. In addition, Trump fielded widespread criticism for condemning the violence “on many sides” at the rally.
Steele blasted Dyson for fanning the flames of racial animus, saying, “What’s interesting about Dyson and the comment that you just played is this man is a plague on his people.”
“[Dyson] does nothing but fan up their insecurities, scream at them that they are victims, that they are owed something, that they are entitled, that they’ve been put upon, that they’re down,” he said, noting that “the only way minorities — whether they’ve been oppressed or not — are going to move ahead is by self-reliance and positive, good faith.”
“Rather, what Dyson is preaching here is bad faith, is [to] be suspicious of your country, doubt your country, doubt that you have any opportunities, disbelieve — that’s the way to move ahead,” Steele continued. “What a profound and horrible message to be sending to black Americans as we try to come out of what we’ve been through.”
Steele lashed out at Dyson and other leaders in the black community who preach “entitlement” as both “a badge of honor” and as an “identity” for their followers to embrace.
“And I can’t imagine that the Ku Klux Klan would have the imagination to come up with a more self-deceiving message to black Americans [than what Dyson said],” he added. “Our leadership is devoted to this … Anywhere you look at black American leadership at this point, it is as though they have become the enemies of their people.”
Civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson, who also has been bashing Trump post-Charlottesville, also took some particular heat from Steele.
“I think [Jackson] represents this old sort of formula for power, accusing America of racism and trying to injure the moral authority of American society so that he then comes in as the savior,” said Steele.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed Monday called “Why the Left Can’t Let Go of Racism,” Steele also targeted civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton for his attacks along the same lines as Dyson’s and Jackson’s.
“A staple on cable news these days is the ‘racial incident,’ which stands as a referendum on this question. Today there is Charlottesville. Yesterday there were the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray and others,” he wrote, pointing to the highly publicized deaths of black men at the hands of police officers.
“Don’t they reveal an irrepressible racism in American life? At the news conferences surrounding these events, there are always the Al Sharpton clones, if not the man himself, ready to spin the tale of black tragedy and white bigotry,” wrote Steele. “Such people—and the American left generally—have a hunger for racism that is almost craven.”
In order for black Americans to succeed in this nation, Steele urged them to reject liberalism and the feeling of “entitlement” and the “bad faith” that leaders like Dyson and Jackson have been preaching. Instead, he argued, minority Americans should embrace hard work and strive for racial reconciliation.
“I grew up in segregation. I know it intimately. I had more hopefulness, more classic American values than certainly than you see in the inner cities today, south-side of Chicago, where I grew up,” Steele said. “I never saw a handgun. Yet last year 4,000 people were shot on the South Side. That’s liberalism. That’s liberalism. That’s convincing people that they have no hope. It’s preaching — literally preaching — bad faith.”
“In history I think we’re going to see, comprehend the self-destructiveness that’s involved in this sort of racial turmoil that we keep festering,” he added.
(photo credit, homepage image: Miller Center, Flickr; photo credit, article image: KBCS 91.3 Community Radio, Flickr)