Skip to main content
Trade Books For Courses Tradebooks for Courses

Tears We Cannot Stop

A Sermon to White America

Michael Eric Dyson

St. Martin's Griffin

Tears We Cannot Stop Download image

ISBN10: 1250776678
ISBN13: 9781250776679

Trade Paperback

240 Pages



Request Desk Copy
Request Exam Copy


Sign up to receive information about new books, author events, and special offers.

Sign up now

As the country grapples with racist division at a level not seen since the 1960s, one man's voice is heard above the rest. In his New York Times op-ed piece "Death in Black and White," Michael Eric Dyson moved a nation. Now he continues to speak out in Tears We Cannot Stop—a provocative and deeply personal call for change. Dyson argues that if we are to make real racial progress we must face difficult truths, including being honest about how black grievance has been ignored, dismissed, or discounted. Short, emotional, literary, powerful—this is the book that all Americans who care about the current and long-burning crisis in race relations will want to read.


Praise for Tears We Cannot Stop

“One of the most frank and searing discussions on race . . . a deeply serious, urgent book, which should take its place in the tradition of Baldwin's The Fire Next Time and King's Why We Can't Wait."The New York Times Book Review

"Readers will find searing moments in Tears We Cannot Stop, when Dyson's words proves unforgettable . . . But more than education, Dyson wants a reckoning."The Washington Post

"Anguish and hurt throb in every word of Michael Eric Dyson's Tears We Cannot Stop . . . It is eloquent, righteous, and inspired . . . Often lyrical, Tears is not . . . without indignation . . . brilliance and rectitude."The Philadelphia Inquirer

"[Dyson's] narrative voice carries a deeper and more intimate authority, as it grows from his own experience as a black man in America—from being beaten by his father to being profiled by the police to dealing with his brother's long-term incarceration . . . Dyson's raw honesty and self-revelation enables him to confront his white audience and reach out to them."The Chicago Tribune

"Be ready to pause nearly every other sentence, absorb what is said, and prepare for action. Tears We Cannot Stop is meant to change your thinking."The Miami Times

"If you read Michael Eric Dyson’s New York Times op-ed piece 'Death in Black and White,' then you know what a powerful work of cultural analysis his book, Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America is going to be. At a time when everyone needs to speak more openly, honestly, and critically about the racial divisions that have been allowed to grow in the United States, Dyson’s book . . . could not be a more welcome read."Bustle

"Dyson . . . creates a sermon unlike any we've heard or read, and it's right on time . . . an unapologetically bold plea for America to own up to its inexplicable identity anxiety."Essence

"[Tears We Cannot Stop] talks directly to you, about issues deep, disturbing, and urgently in need of being faced."—

"Elegantly written, Tears We Cannot Stop is powerful in several areas: moving personal recollections; profound cultural analysis; and guidance for moral redemption. A work to relish."—Toni Morrison

"Here’s a sermon that’s as fierce as it is lucid. It shook me up, but in a good way. This is how it works if you’re black in America, this is what happens, and this is how it feels. If you’re black, you’ll feel a spark of recognition in every paragraph. If you’re white, Dyson tells you what you need to know—what this white man needed to know, at least. This is a major achievement. I read it and said amen."—Stephen King

"Michael Eric Dyson is alive to the fierce urgency of now and yet he's full of felicitous contradictions: an intellectual who won't talk down to anyone; a man of God who eschews piousness; a truth-teller who is not afraid of doubt or nuance; a fighter whose arguments, though always to the point, are never ad hominem. We can and should be thankful we have a writer like Michael Eric Dyson is our midst."—Dave Eggers, from the preface of Can You Hear Me Now?

"A hard-hitting sermon on the racial divide . . . The readership Dyson addresses may not fully be convinced, but it can hardly remain unmoved."Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Dyson lays bare our conscience, then offers redemption through our potential change.”Booklist

"Impassioned."Library Journal


Read an Excerpt



Beloved, let me start by telling you an ugly secret: there is no such thing as white people. And yet so many of them, so many of you, exist. Please hear me out. I know you’re flesh and blood. I know that...

About the author

Michael Eric Dyson

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON—distinguished University Professor of African American and Diaspora Studies, College of Arts & Science, and of Ethics and Society, Divinity School, and Centennial Professor at Vanderbilt University—is one of America’s premier public intellectuals and the author of over five New York Times bestsellers including JAY-Z, Tears We Cannot Stop, What Truth Sounds Like, and Long Time Coming. A contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, Dr. Dyson is a recipient of two NAACP Image awards and the 2020 Langston Hughes Festival Medallion. Former president Barack Obama has noted: “Everybody who speaks after Michael Eric Dyson pales in comparison.”

© KK Ottesen

Michael Eric Dyson

Official Links

Macmillan Speakers ?


Macmillan Speakers Bureau

Represents thought-provoking authors and experts. We can find a speaker uniquely positioned for your audience and budget.

More info