Michael Eric Dyson, professor of sociology at Georgetown, engaged in a heated debate about police brutality and race relations with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on the Sunday-morning talk show “Meet the Press.”
In the segment, Giuliani criticized the protests sparked by the August shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo., wondering why the same focus was not applied to black-on-black crime. He cited that 93 percent of black victims are killed by other blacks. Dyson responded by calling Giuliani’s version of events a “false equivalency.”
“Black people who kill black people go to jail,” Dyson said on the show. “White people who are policemen who kill black people do not go to jail.”
The discussion also focused on disproportionately white police forces present in multi-racial communities. Giuliani, who initiated the stop-and-frisk practice by New York police officers as mayor, argued that black communities should cut down on crime to reduce the number of police officers in their areas, prompting a final response from the professor as the segment ended.
“This is a defensive mechanism of white supremacy at work in your mind, sir,” Dyson said.
The debate comes in light of the imminent Ferguson grand jury decision, which will be announced later today, on whether to indict Wilson for shooting Brown.
Mariah Driver (COL ’17), who is currently a student in Dyson’s sociology class, Sociology of Hip-Hop: Urban Theodicy of Jay-Z, said that the professor discussed the segment during his lecture this morning.
“He talked a bit about the hypocrisy of citing the statistics of high percentages of black-on-black murders when 83 percent of white murders are committed by other white people … so the justification for white policing of African-Americans cannot be justified by high percentages of within-race killings,” Driver said.
She also expressed her shock at Giuliani’s comments.
“It was appalling, to say the least, to hear such a respected and powerful figure as Giuliani express the same ideals that are plaguing our society today,” Driver said. “Watching such a provocative debate and being able to walk into class the following morning to discuss it with the person involved was a unique experience.”
Dyson could not be reached for comment.