- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Georgetown University professor and author Michael Eric Dyson says white people should keep an “individual reparations account” to make donations to black groups and atone for America’s history of slavery and racism.

Mr. Dyson was discussing his forthcoming book, “Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America,” with New York Times Magazine when he touched on a subject in his book that talks about white people making reparations on the local and individual level.

The Times’ Ana Marie Cox said Mr. Dyson suggested donating to the United Negro College Fund or paying “the black person who cuts your grass double what you might ordinarily pay.”

“Look, if it doesn’t cost you anything, you’re not really engaging in change; you’re engaging in convenience,” Mr. Dyson said. “You’re engaged in the overflow. I’m asking you to do stuff you wouldn’t ordinarily do. I’m asking you to think more seriously and strategically about why you possess what you possess.

“That is what I meant by an I.R.A.: an individual reparations account,” he continued. “You ain’t got to ask the government, you don’t have to ask your local politician — this is what you, an individual, conscientious, ‘woke’ citizen can do.

Ms. Cox pointed out that the libertarian Koch brothers donated $25 million to the United Negro College Fund in 2014, suggesting that there’s more than just charity to being “woke,” a slang term typically used by the black community to describe people who are self-aware.

Mr. Dyson agreed, saying, “Martin Luther King Jr. believed that charity is a poor substitute for justice. But I ain’t turning $25 million down.”

Mr. Dyson said he thinks his new book will attract “white folk” who are “deeply empathetic to the struggles of minorities.”

“What I’ve seen under the wonderful presidency of Barack Obama is the tendency to not tell white people the truth, for obvious reasons — they don’t vote for you,” he said. “But I’m not a politician. I don’t have that power or influence, but what I do wield is a different kind of bully pulpit. We have to have enough belief in white people to tell them the truth. They are grown!”

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