By Michael Eric Dyson
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Extra info for Open Mike
Plus, a lot of the early writing and speaking I did—which, as it turns out, helped me to climb the academic ladder rapidly—was not only driven by a sense of vocation, but was done as well in the desperate attempt to raise funds for my brother Everett’s defense against the charge, and later the conviction, of second-degree murder. Almost the month after I landed in Chicago to teach at CTS, Everett was accused of murdering a young black man in Detroit. I believe he is innocent, and I have expended quite a few resources in trying to prove his innocence, and to free him from prison.
We are prevented by circumstance and environment and context from knowing the true nature of our own influence, which is why we should really remain structurally humble. Not falsely modest, but structurally humble. For me that means if I am wielding influence, it is because I have tried to be faithful to the gifts God has given to me. Structural humility means that as a matter of principle, we remain cognizant of the need to check our arrogance and bridle our vanity. This recognition must be the very foundation, the very structure, of our public activity, to keep us from taking credit for what only God can give.
From my perspective, if we truly believe that our vocations are manifestations of ultimate purpose, we’ll want to do our level best to stay at the top of our games as an acknowledgment of the gifts God has given us. One last thing that ties in is how you’ll be able to do that. I can see very clearly your intellectual path. But how are you going to be able to keep your hand on the pulse of the street, because by necessity . . it doesn’t have anything to do with your commitment . . but, like you said, Japan, Italy, universities, busy .