Dr. Michael Eric Dyson says incoherent things a lot
I think he believes he said something more coherent and evidentially based about race here than the things that were said by the people he and Lemon (who contents himself with the classic would-be knowing chuckle of “oh, how benighted!”) are denouncing as ignorant.
It’s ignorance all around, typically, on this question. Very few people in American society have expended the necessary energy, and taken the necessary time to learn substantive things about human population differences. Peterson is almost certainly the one in this collection of four individuals who has thought about it the most, and you’ll note that he says nothing more here than that Michael Eric Dyson’s skin is not black, but rather brown. Does Michael Eric Dyson think that’s not true? The evidence is literally before everyone’s eyes. And in what way does noting that fact signal Peterson’s “whiteness” and his “vast, lethal” ignorance about the “existential and philosophical contexts and ideas” of race?
“Complicated identities,” Professor Dyson bellows. But that’s exactly what Rogan and Peterson are pointing to, so far as I can see. How is it a “complicated” move to wave your political wand and stick a large group of people who differ so significantly in their genotypes, phenotypes, experiences, values and beliefs under the same monolithic category?
The truth here is that, though it is perhaps too simplistically expressed by some advocates, the view “I don’t see race” is the right way to proceed, at the level of individual interaction with other people. There are differences among populations of people, some merely phenotypic but some deeper and still under investigation in terms of possible effects on propensities and behavioral predilections, but on the whole they matter only at the level of large populations. When you are dealing with a single individual, absent any information about him or her beyond the immediately visual, it is best to proceed with a default category of “human” and avoid applying other labels and the substance that accompanies them until more information is in.
Alas, with respect to Professor Dyson, I have more than that superficial information to work with. I have read some of his writing, and I have watched him preach his views and interact with those who disagree with him. I have in fact seen part of the exchange with Peterson that the latter and Rogan are referring to. JP has more patience and is a better person than I would be capable of being if someone spoke to me in a public setting as Dyson did to him.