There’s more to Joe Biden’s appointment of retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin for secretary of defense than meets the eye. At least that’s what progressive minister and Georgetown University sociology professor Michael Eric Dyson claims.
The pick was Biden’s way of paying off a debt to Black America, according to Dyson.
During an interview on CNN, news anchor Don Lemon asked Dyson, “This defense secretary thing is big, with Gen. Michael Austin, what do you think?”
“Oh, it’s beautiful,” Dyson replied. “Look, have you ever heard a president say before, ‘I owe you?'”
“Yeah,” Lemon agreed.
“‘I owe you a debt, you hooked me up, I’m hooking you up.’ I’ve never heard a president (say that and) I’ve studied presidential rhetoric,” Dyson added.
In Biden’s Nov. 7 speech after his 2020 election win, he thanked the entire country, his campaign team and all the volunteers “who gave of themselves to make the moment possible.”
“I owe you. I owe you. I owe you everything,” Biden said. You can read the full transcript of his speech here.
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Dyson said he has studied U.S. presidents’ interactions with Black America. “I’ve never heard that (‘I owe you’) and so the attempt to follow up and to follow through by President-elect Joe Biden is worthy of note. And I think he’s been doing a very good job so far,” Dyson told Lemon.
“You have to balance all the considerations of the competing interests that are vying for your time and representation,” Dyson added. “But I think Black people are well deserved, and this choice of Gen. Austin today is truly outstanding.”
Dyson has defended Biden’s choices in the past, even his work on the controversial 1994 Crime Bill. Many Black people including Black leaders wanted the Clinton-Biden Crime Bill, despite complaining today that the bill was racist and detrimental to the Black community, according to Dyson.
Still, despite Dyson’s appointment, some progressive far-left Democrats aren’t happy about Austin’s ties to a defense contractor, The Blaze reported.
Austin, who retired in 2016 as the chief of U.S. Central Command, overseeing military operations in the Middle East, spent 41 years in the military. After that he joined the board of directors of weapons manufacturer Raytheon Technologies, one of the largest U.S. defense contractors.
“A sitting board member of military-industrial contractor Raytheon should NOT be heading the Pentagon. Terrible choice. I hope progessives in Congress will speak up loudly,” former Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson tweeted.
Some on Twitter praised the Austin pick.
“This gives me a lot of hope for the future of the US,” one user tweeted.
Another spoke from personal experience: “I served with him in afghanistan. He seemed like a good dude.”
“Soldiers Rock, baby. #VetNation, Republicans are wetting their pants at this moment. General Austin I salute you all the way to the Pentagon sir. Man I’m so happy. God Bless you sir,” said another tweeter.
Dyson has often been outspoken when talking about the debt America owes to Black Americans. While Dyson applauded Biden’s choice of Austin and Biden’s move to pay off a debt to Black America, Dyson noted there’s much more debt needs to be paid. And paid by corporate America, for one.
An end to systematic racism won’t happen in corporate America until it “costs something,” Dyson said in a discussion on Yahoo’s “Influencers with Andy Serwer.” Dyson recently published the book, “Long Time Coming: Reckoning with Race in America”
He addressed the nationwide protests, talking about corporate America’s response to the police killing of George Floyd earlier this year and the Black Lives Matter movement. “It was great in terms of the immediate aftermath,” he said. “It was great. It was powerful. We got more monies developed toward people being brought in, we want to be more diverse, we want to see a broader swatch of the universe participate. All that stuff is great.”
The monetary response by corporate America doesn’t equate to real change, Dyson pointed out.
“When you get down to brass tacks and knuckles, how are you changing your process? Who are your VPs? Who are the people in the room? Who are the people who can greenlight projects? Who are the people who can have real resources behind your intent to do well?….it (the response) can’t be just surface or cosmetic.”
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 73: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin makes the case for why this is a multi-factor rebellion vs. just protests about George Floyd. He discusses the Democratic Party’s sneaky relationship with the police in cities and states under Dem control, and why Joe Biden is a cop and the Steve Jobs of mass incarceration.
Dyson has a message for corporate America, “Until it is costing you something, you really ain’t doing anything in terms of race in America.”
“What the corporations are doing in response to Black Lives Matter and saying ‘we’re going to pledge money’ is barely anything in compensation to the amount of money Black people put into 9corporate America’s0 pockets,” Dyson said. “Black folk are sustaining you in far higher numbers than you’re willing to pay back, give back, or recognize.”