Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America

Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America

by Michael Eric Dyson


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“One of the most frank and searing discussions on race ... a deeply serious, urgent book, which should take its place in the tradition of Baldwin's The Fire Next Time and King's Why We Can't Wait." —The New York Times Book Review

Toni Morrison hails Tears We Cannot Stop as "Elegantly written and powerful in several areas: moving personal recollections; profound cultural analysis; and guidance for moral redemption. A work to relish."

Stephen King says: "Here’s a sermon that’s as fierce as it is lucid…If you’re black, you’ll feel a spark of recognition in every paragraph. If you’re white, Dyson tells you what you need to know—what this white man needed to know, at least. This is a major achievement. I read it and said amen."

Short, emotional, literary, powerful—Tears We Cannot Stop is the book that all Americans who care about the current and long-burning crisis in race relations will want to read.

As the country grapples with racist division at a level not seen since the 1960s, one man's voice soars above the rest with conviction and compassion. In his 2016 New York Times op-ed piece "Death in Black and White," Michael Eric Dyson moved a nation. Now he continues to speak out in Tears We Cannot Stop—a provocative and deeply personal call for change. Dyson argues that if we are to make real racial progress we must face difficult truths, including being honest about how black grievance has been ignored, dismissed, or discounted.

"The time is at hand for reckoning with the past, recognizing the truth of the present, and moving together to redeem the nation for our future. If we don't act now, if you don't address race immediately, there very well may be no future."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250135995
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 01/17/2017
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 77,903
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.79(h) x 0.99(d)

About the Author

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON is one of America’s premier public intellectuals. He occupies the distinguished position of University Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University, is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, and is a contributing editor of The New Republic and ESPN’s The Undefeated. Ebony magazine named him one of the 100 Most Influential African Americans and one of the 150 most powerful blacks in the nation.

Read an Excerpt

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Table of Contents

I Call to Worship 1

II Hymns of Praise 9

III Invocation 19

IV Scripture Reading 35

V Sermon 41

Repenting of Whiteness 43

1 Inventing Whiteness 44

2 The Five Stages of White Grief 71

3 The Plague of White Innocence 95

Being Black in America 125

4 Nigger 126

5 Our Own Worst Enemy? 143

6 Coptopia 170

VI Benediction 195

VII Offering Plate 213

VIII Prelude to Service 217

IX Closing Prayer 225

Reading Group Guide

To come.


To come.


To come.

Customer Reviews

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Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome! The truth!!!
LoisLenskiFan More than 1 year ago
Dyson writes this brilliant book as a sermon, appealing to white Americans to recognize the various ways in which both institutional and individual racism affect ALL of us adversely. His searing prose and fearless confrontation of this thorny issue is reminiscent of James Baldwin's memorable work The Fire Next Time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dyson writes an epic book for all of America, but for white america in particular. A must read for anyone that cares about how to reduce hatred and death and divisiveness in this country raised on the backs of black slaves. Really read it and try to experience your own racism. He writes beautifully and directly to us all.
KNBvW More than 1 year ago
I am appalled by some of these statements....quite simply they clearly show WHY each and ever person in America should read this book. There is no sin in lack of knowledge, but much of what ails this once great country is the lack of UNDERSTANDING so many seem to display. Making America great again is a matter of understanding the 'others' perspective whom ever the 'other' is! .......Please read and understand...66 year old white lady
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an intensely personal work. Rev. Dr. Dyson has cobbled together an anthology of our present time. It has its place for our neophtye white sisters and brothers whose American history education is totally devoid of black history. It should whet their appetite for the main course.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly recommend
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome Read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dyson explains a lot of things that white people need to hear
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brilliant and insightful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm guessing the one star reviews here came from white people. If so, don't you see you don't get to tell a black person how to think or feel? You are part of the problem. You need to work on you, and keep your unkind comments to yourself. And no, I'm not black. I'm thankful to be able to see, I think, what Black Lives Matter means. It doesn't mean no other lives matter, it only means that black people are asking to be heard, seen, they want to be validated, they want to be treated equally. They need to be treated like human beings. Put yourself in their place, you would not like it. Now see that it has gone on forever. Right now is the perfect time for it to stop. Work on that. Be the solution that helps them move on. Be kind, make the world a better place.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Racism is racism. I'm tired of certain races getting a pass when they practice racism. You will never be considered equal if you constantly want to be treated special. Stop blaming and looking backwards, work hard and look forwards.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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