Black History Month Conference Keynote Michael Eric Dyson – UTSC

John River – hope city – opened up the keynote with great stories through spoken word of the lived experience of a youth in our city

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Michael Eric Dyson was beyond amazing! Below are my notes I was trying to scramble down on my phone as he was speaking!

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Disclaimer!!!

These are his words and opinions below. Although I agree with many of it, this is notes I took from him speaking!

We need transformation of the world that we live. Many aspects are part of our identity: colour, race, sexual orientation etc. We are in evolution and becoming who we are meant to be.

We all are wanting recognition of our humanity where society punishes us for our differences

Man kills a youth because the youth’s very identity provoked fear.

Another young man was gunned down because he provoked suspicion.

His very own identity has provoked this.

People are allergic to difference

People are uncomfortable with difference

Move to a radical preoccupation where all of gods children should be treated equally with love

When we talk about the 3rd world it is actually 2/3 of the world. They look like most of the people in the world

Difference is what challenges the norm, the narrow cookie cutter norms.

We live in a world where people are incapable of acknowledging difference.

They try to justify their homophobia on their racial identity. That isn’t blackness! They are ostracizing another group

He spoke of jealously of freedom struggle. How do they take our freedom struggle. Where is the copyright on freedom struggle. Would Martin Luther king pay royalties to Ghandi? Ghandi is a internationalist and globalist.

Give the life you have had and repurpose and repackage so it has a broader and deeper impact

People of colour are getting upset because their stuff(stuggle) is getting taken over

We go to church and then have to be homophobic again

This homophobia we nurture in the womb of our identity, that those practices of justice are what it is to be black or brown or yellow.

We got to challenge this

Sexuality is one issue

Shades is another

No racism but colour coordinated oppression going on!

Darker people are catching hell.

Indian people have shadism

The currency of acceptance is the demonization of colour!

Colourism is real within and between groups. It has to be challenged, we must celebrate all beauty

It’s hard to be a youth, older people are mad a young people

The older people paid the price and suffered so you can have it well.

Dying for freedoms they could never enjoy. Wearing the military uniform could get you beaten up (referring to American history where first black soldiers servered the US and came back to America, would be beaten up for wearing their uniform).

How do we talk about the N word. He first heard it from the pastor It’s not their privilege

Can’t call women bitches either

Snatched the chain of oppression, Nigger VS nigga

Its Linguistic appropriation

Sell out for that day. If you trying to get a job pull your pants up and sell out for that day.

Hip hop has issues but so does church: Misogyny, homophobia etc

Hip hop is judged the most. There is variety within the art form. Some is great and other is whack

Christopher Wallace (Notorious BIG) – famous philosopher

Listen to the pain in hip hop

Sean Carter – teachers couldn’t reach me

Conscious rap – Mos Def and Talib Kwali

Issue of gender

We saw we want to protect women from gangster rappers

They are the objects of lustful desires

Learn some other women! learn something new about the women you already know!

Real men aren’t afraid of real women

Systemic issues and disproportionate number of coloured people in jail

People from their own groups will replicate and duplicate harmful beliefs about their own communities.

People of colour think of abuse as love

Black church has to stop beating up on minorities within minorities. Having same faith is fine but you don’t have to have same religion

We try to get god to sign onto our bigotry

Below is advice he gave to a youth

Read as much as you can. Learn new words, read the dictionary, and learn a new word each day. Speak and listen to people you admire.

Words he gave to an adult on how to speak to youth

Talk to young people not lecture. They want limits and boundaries. They have friends, they need a parent. Give them a sense of what is possible. Willingness to admit error.IMG_4829

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