MSNBC’s Dyson Likens Racial Issues in Zimmerman Trial to 9/11

by Andrew Johnson

MSNBC contributor Michael Eric Dyson told viewers that they could only understand his and others’ concern about race relations in America if they considered their own feelings about the September 11 terrorist attacks. ”Let’s make an analogy to terrorism,” Dyson said this afternoon. “So, you know how you felt on 9/11? Yeah – that’s how we feel when it comes to race.” That, he argued, would help Americans “get more proximate to the truth of what race is in this country.”

He explained that the difference between his view of race in the trial and the statements of Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, is so vast that ”what you’re talking about is on Mars, and we’re on Venus.”

Dyson, a Georgetown professor, was explaining those who share his views on race in the U.S. have to put their frustration in terms that will resonate with other Americans, who tend to “get defensive” about the issue.

Later, Dyson called on President Obama and Eric Holder to “do something courageous, bold, and helpful” to address the issue of racism. That could include a federal civil-rights prosecution against Zimmerman, but Dyson argued America’s system may not be up to the task, saying ”when the people who rig the definition and the litmus test have a bias to begin with,” it’s difficult to prove bias in a case like Zimmerman’s.

Last week, before the verdict, Dyson criticized the justice system by saying that ”the George Zimmermans of the world continue to get away . . . with the killing of our children.”

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