● In addition to his teaching duties, Dyson has also been a weekly columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and a regular commentator for Tavis Smiley’s National Public Radio program. He has written op/ed pieces for The Washington Post and The New York Times, and has appeared on a number of major television programs, including: The Charlie Rose Show, Good Morning America, Nightline, The Today Show, and Oprah. In 1995 Dyson published Making Malcolm: The Myth and Meaning of Malcolm X. Adorning the book’s cover is a glowing review by Angela Davis. Other enthusiastic reviews were furnished by Carol Moseley-Braun, Jesse Jackson, and Chuck D. of the rap group Public Enemy.
● In April 2005 Dyson published Is Bill Cosby Right?: Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost its Mind? This book is a rebuttal to statements made by the comedian, who in 2004 publicly lamented the failure of many African American parents to raise their children to be well-educated, law-abiding citizens. Dyson views Cosby’s assertions as the unjustified charges of an upper-class member of the black “Afristocracy” against the underprivileged members of the “Ghettocracy.”
In May 2005 Dyson was interviewed by newsman Al Roker, who asked whether whether Cosby’s statements had any validity. The professor replied, “Oh sure . . . there’s validity always. Tim McVeigh [mastermind of the April 1995 terrorist bombing in Oklahoma City] had a point: The state is over-reaching. But the way you do it, dropping bombs and castigating of human beings, that’s terrible. . . . Let’s hold the larger society accountable for creating the conditions that lead to some of the downfalls of the poor people.”
● In a July 2016 op-ed in The New York Times, Dyson wrote:
“You hold an entire population of Muslims accountable for the evil acts of a few. Yet you rarely muster the courage to put down your binoculars, and with them, your corrosive selfpity, and see what we see. You say religions and cultures breed violence stoked by the complicity of silence because peoples will not denounce the villains who act in their names. Yet you do the same. In the aftermath of these deaths, you do not all condemn these cops; to do so, you would have to condemn the culture that produced them — the same culture that produced you. Condemning a culture is not inciting hate. That is very important. Yet black people will continue to die at the hands of cops as long as we deny that whiteness can be more important in explaining those cops’ behavior than anything else.”
● In a February 1, 2017 television appearance on The View, Dyson characterized Barack Obama as “one of the greatest presidents that ever lived,” and depicted the new president, Donald Trump, as a product of white racism: “[Y]ou see when we look at Donald Trump, Donald Trump is the rose. What is the ground, or another flower, what is the ground from which he emerged? Whiteness produced him. A certain sense of selfishness, a certain sense of self-importance, a certain sense of innocence, a certain sense of privilege that he fails to acknowledge. And the best of white culture has to war against the worst of white culture for us to embrace it. Because remember, Frankenstein is the name of the doctor, not the monster…”
Also during his interview on The View, Dyson said: “[W]hite brothers and sisters don’t see that they have privilege. They say, oh, my God. Look at you people who are politically correct now, you want safe spaces. Well your white body is a safe space in a way that African Americans, Latinos, women’s bodies are not. So what I’m suggesting to white Americans, I love you. I want you to engage in the introspecton that you encourage everybody else to do. Then think about the privilege. The ultimate privilege may be this, you encounter a police person and live to tell about it…. I’m saying, there are many privileges that white brothers and sisters have and if you acknowledge it then we can figure out how to unmask that privilege and then to challenge it.”
● Professor Dyson has received awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and the NAACP.