“We live in the United States of Amnesia,” said author and professor Michael Eric Dyson Tuesday night in Lee Hall.
Dyson’s resounding voice and insightful words rocked the auditorium. And if you were living in the “United States of Amnesia” Dyson surely “revoked” the citizenship of many.
Dyson opened by telling the audience to ” go for the jugular of oppression, pump poisons into stupidity, be a Rattler outside of FAMU.” One of the most important tools to doing so is knowledge.
Knowledge was the heart of Dyson’s message. According to Dyson, one of the reasons why we are in college is to “prick the conscious of the nation.” Dyson stressed the need to “teach our people the legitimacy of our history. Not just the facts.”
Dyson’s humor and love of rap music helped to plant “seeds” of knowledge in the minds and hearts of the audience.
Many students like Travis Williams, 18, a freshman business administration student from Fort Lauderdale, appreciated how he used rap lyrics in his speech to get his message across.
“Talk about more than the diamonds Africans are dying for,” Dyson said referring to the “bling, bling” mentality found in many commercial rap songs. “Hip-hop is complex. I’m not mad at Snoop. He’d be dangerous if he was saying something. Hip- hop is the unleashed, uncontrolled tongue of black America. But, do something with it.”
Dyson also touched on the Sept. 11 terrorists attacks.
“Blacks have been dealing with terrorism from the beginning. Sept. 11 was not the first Wall Street to go down,” Dyson said, referring to the “Black Wall Street” located in Tulsa, Okla., which was a wealthy black community that had a 36-block business district. In 1921, the community was “bombed from the air and burned to the ground” by a group of jealous whites.
Dyson ended by telling the audience to be “Trojan horses.” This point hit home with Andre Cary, 21, a junior computer engineering student from Las Vegas. “I’ve had internships in corporate America. I know what he means. This is something we really need to think about in the community and as Famuans.”
Dyson is a religious studies professor at DePaul University. He has also written several best-selling books. To learn more information about Dyson visit www.dysonpages.com.