‘Dear White America’ Author Discusses Race, Moral Bankruptcy

It’s not every speaker who calls out a major portion of his audience.

“You are the site of the morally corrupt. You are a lie,” Emory Professor of Philosophy George Yancy said to the white audience members at his lecture, “A Gift to White America: The Power of Un-Suturing.”

The event, hosted at White Hall, focused on reader feedback from op-eds that Yancy had published in The New York Times. In an interview with the Wheel, Yancy said that he received hate mail and physical threats in response to his articles.

“As you reap comfort from being white, we suffer for being black and people of color,” he wrote in “Dear White America,” his Dec. 24 Times op-ed. “But your comfort is linked to our pain and suffering. Just as my comfort in being male is linked to the suffering of women, which makes me sexist, so, too, you are racist.”

Yancy said that in presenting his lecture, he intended to expand on his ideas that racism is deeply embedded in American culture.

“I asked all the Americans to face racism courageously,” Yancy said during his lecture. “I made myself vulnerable. At the end of this talk, I don’t want you to be happy. I don’t want you to feel hopeful. I want you to dare to interrogate what is wrong about racism in North America today.”

Yancy’s arguments were based on a series of interviews and discussions that he conducted about race issues. “My aim was to engage, in this very public space, with the often unnamed elephant in the room,” he wrote. That elephant was racial tension, which Yancy repeatedly identified and reiterated.

The continuation of racism about which he spoke was evidenced by the feedback he received from his articles.

Yancy said that most of the reader feedback he received came via hundreds of emails and even snail mail. The feedback revealed that “the world is unsafe,” he said, specifically when race is brought to the forefront of conversations.

“I have been called the n-word over a thousand times,” he told the Wheel, recalling responses to his article that included name-calling, physical threats, and distortions of what he actually said.

Yancy chose and shared some of the messages that he received in response to his article.

Among the most jarring emails he said he received: “Dear Fucking N***** Professor, you are a piece of shit. You are a racist. You are neither African nor American.”

Yancy continued to read email excerpts from readers in his lecture. “Black culture is obscenity,” he said another reader wrote. “It is a degraded generation of human beings, so go back to Africa together with your black mouth.”

Yancy invited his audience members to consider how it would feel to receive so many verbal attacks from readers denigrating an ethnical identity.

“What I really hope is to engage Americans to take the courage to openly discuss the ongoing intensified racism and face what is wrong about it,” Yancy concluded.

Correction (2/11 at 4:01 p.m.): In paragraph two, the quotation by George Yancy was updated to read “site” instead of “sight.”

5 comments

  1. Evan Zang 3 years ago

    ““My aim was to engage, in this very public space, with the often unnamed elephant in the room,” he wrote. That elephant was racial tension, which Yancy repeatedly identified and reiterated.”

    How brave, absolutely NO ONE talks about racial tension /s……

    You want to talk about real institutional racism? Talk about affirmative action.

    Let’s look at a Princeton University study that tried to measure how race and ethnicity affect admissions by using SAT scores as a benchmark. It uses the term “bonus” to describe how many extra SAT points an applicant’s race is worth.African Americans received a “bonus” of 230 points. Asian Americans, Lee says, are penalized by 50 points — in other words, they had to do that much better to win admission.

    If you agree with this, you are saying that blacks are BORN dummer than asians and whites. THAT is racist. Being a bit scared of a black man in the street with a hoody on may be a bit racist, but statistically, you should be more careful than if it was an asian or Indian on the street.

    1. Donna 3 years ago

      That Princeton study just kind of shows that Asian Americans are smarter than African Americans.
      “I made myself vulnerable. At the end of this talk, I don’t want you to be happy. I don’t want you to feel hopeful. I want you to dare to interrogate what is wrong about racism in North America today.”
      There is nothing wrong about racism today except people like this guy preaching it to make a buck. It is all about the money. Al Sharpton owes over $1,000,000. in back taxes, if he were white, he would be in jail. (also shows how rich he is). He made a lot of money preaching false messages of race.

  2. Donna 3 years ago

    Who cares.

  3. BoredHousewife 3 years ago

    Were the emails/letters the author received racist? Obviously at least some of them, yes, based on the quotes the author recites.

    Are all white people racist merely because of the color of their skin? No. The author accomplishes nothing while breeding hostility and divide by asserting they are. If the author does not want to be labeled based on his skin tone, he should not go around labeling others based on their skin tone.

  4. YellowYam 3 years ago

    Well, the official reason for low IQ in the black community according to Emory University is cultural disregard for scholastic achievement. Also, as a professor, he literally makes infinitely more money than I make right now. Now, when I was a student at Emory, I never took one of his classes, but I would have struggled through the depression of being rejected by the Emory community to work as hard as I could to succeed in one if I did. I know. It would have been hard.

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