Education : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

After over a year of non-communication and/or access to this very fine BB, upon returning today,I've read that in my absence Rev. John and Rev. Gregory Wilson have been translated to their glorious home not built by hands. Precious memories how they linger!

But what really puzzles me most is that none of our anchors of this board seem to have touched the comments presented by Bill Cosby at the Board vs Board of Education gala held in Washington, DC last month.

Many are appalled that he aired what some considered dirty laundry in public. Others are wondering "why?" still others are trying to justify his comments by saying he has nothing to lose and still others are burying their heads in the sand.

What helpful solutions can we as the church present to rectify the problem? This Zion, the AME Church has several areas already in place in which many of the points that Mr. Cosby brought out could be alleviated (i.e. Allen Christian Fellowship, Deb Masters Commission, YPD under the auspices of the WMS). My point here is that when these entities are lifted off the paper it's written on and actually put into practice, do you believe we as a church could make a differenc in our community?

We do a lot of meeting, greeting, and eating, but what impact are we making in the lives of those who are disenfranchised, dysfunctional, and disillusioned?

Yes, while we're preparing to elect the next bishops can we come together to make a difference in the lives of those whose foundation is built on shifting sand?

In His Service

-- Anonymous, June 01, 2004


Rev. Wiggs,

I agree with Bill Cosby 100%. My mother used to tell us, "You can lead a mule to water, but you can't make him drink; and you can send a fool to college, but you can't make him think."

Those words are still true. There is no reason that any person in this nation regardless of his/her position cannot do better than they are doing. The jails are full of black men that are guilty of crimes committed primarily against other black folk.

You can only lift people so far; then they must help themselves.

-- Anonymous, June 01, 2004

Sis. Wiggs,

We have a fairly lively discussion about this, beginning on May 22nd. Here are some of the comemnts that were made regarding this issue. I think as a connectional AME denomination, the church needs to take a unified stand on a number of issues. The United Church of Christ is a good model. As a denomination, the UCC church has taken a stand against Walmart, due to their non-union policies, undepayment of employees and their investment into the voucher system, which pulls finances out of the public school system. As a result of the regional church's stand, the local churches took a stand, and this stand is having an impact on the local community. The UCC church does this type of thing quite frequently. That is just one example. I think that since we meet, greet and eat so much and come together so much, in the midst of our fellowship, we should take a stand on issues that are greatly impacting our communities, galvanize and take a unified, public stand on these issues. I think more than a little difference will be made once that happens. As long as we are continuing to "play it safe", or as long as we are allowing individuals to be the "lonely one out there" alone, then not much will happen.

It seems that Dr. Bill Cosby embarrassed the NAACP with some of his remarks at the banquet on MOnday: Dr. Cosby said: "Ladies and gentlemen, the lower economic people are not holding up their end in this deal. These people are not parenting. They are buying things for kids -- $500 sneakers for what? And won't spend $200 for 'Hooked on Phonics.' ..... They're standing on the corner and they can't speak English, I can't even talk the way these people talk: 'Why you ain't,' 'Where you is' . . . And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. And then I heard the father talk. . . . Everybody knows it's important to speak English except these knuckleheads. . . . You can't be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth!" The Post's Hamil Harris reports that Cosby also turned his wrath to "the incarcerated," saying: "These are not political criminals. These are people going around stealing Coca-Cola. People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake and then we run out and we are outraged, [saying] 'The cops shouldn't have shot him.' What the hell was he doing with the pound cake in his hand?"

When Cosby finally concluded, Howard University President H. Patrick Swygert, NAACP President Kweisi Mfume and NAACP legal defense fund head Theodore Shaw came to the podium looking stone-faced. Shaw told the crowd that most people on welfare are not African American, and many of the problems his organization has addressed in the black community were not self-inflicted.

I agree with Bill Cosby. It is time for us to stop being victims, allowing ourselves to be victimized and stand on our own feet not always looking for help from someone more affluent than ourselves. Since Brother Cosby has donated massive sums to the NAACP and other black organizations, he will not be treated as Clarence Thomas is being treated. You Go Bill

BE Blessed

-- Rev Al Paris (, May 22, 2004

Answers Dear Pastor The truth while difficult will set us all free. Cos can say this because he has put his money where his mouth and conscience reside. Millions of dollars into education and Education Institutions. Thanks for the note Pastor.

-- Nalton Brangman (, May 23, 2004.

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The more things change, the more they stay the same. Do I hear applause for the degrading and humiliation of Black people? Do I understand that Cos has 'bought' the right to be insolent and arrogant as he suggests that the problems of Black people are self inflicted and of their own making? Cos is no different than the black, affluent philanthropists that preceeded him. They are happy to give their money where it is most visible and applaudable and to those who are most able to access it, but those locked in the cycle of poverty and dispair are no better off despite their millions in contributions. Wealth and fame rarely translates into wisdom or courage. How brilliant does one have to be to recognize the horror of getting shot over a pound cake? Consider, how couragous it was for a wealthy, educated, famous personality, while addressing those of a similar stripe, to mock the poor, illiterate, incarcerated? I paint such persons with the same broad brush - not as traitors and such, but as typical, unremarkable persons, distinguished only by their station, knowing how to spell charity, but having no idea what it means. Its not their fault, for enlightenment comes from the Lord - they just didn't get any. In Christ,

-- Ron Harris (, May 23, 2004.

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Interesting. I was unaware that my old DC neighbor Elaine Jones had stepped down as head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. I'm sure much to the surpise and chagrin of Swygert, Mfume & Shaw, Cosby's comments left them feeling like a "deer caught in the headlights". It sounds like Mr. Shaw was "offended" by Cosby's comments. Cosby's remarks about some members of the black family will illustrate the hypocrisy surrounding the public dialogue about race. I'm certain if some of Cosby's white colleauges like Jerry Seinfeld, Dan Belushi or Kelsey Grammar, had made similar observations aobut the dysfunctional lifestyle of the black underclass the reaction by the black elite would be substantially different.

The black elite protested against then Harvard scholar Daniel Patrick Moynihan (whose current US Senate seat is held by Hillary Clinton) for his research about the alarming rise of young female single headed households in the mid 60s. The black cognoscenti were concerned more about showing why the Moynihan Report was flawed as oppossed to trying to repair endangered black families. The end result - an acceleration of poverty, joblessness and more black families headed by young single female wage workers.

Nearly 30 years later the publication of the book, The Bell Curve by Charles Murray and Robert Herrnestein induced righteous indignation and scorn by liberal and even some conservative members of the academy. The Bell Curve critics were united in their efforts to demonstrate that the book's inflammatory thesis (socio-economic outcomes are largely asociated with racial differences in intelligence endowment) was based on specious statistics and racist presuppositions. Ten years later the end results of the "Bell Curve Wars" show that racial IQs have remained the same and growing disparities in racial academic achievement standards. It will indeed be interesting to monitor the reaction by the black cognescenti surrounding Cosby's public musings. The more things change the more they tend to stay the same. I wonder if Mr. Cosby's philanthropic generosity will no longer be accepted the NAACP or Howard University due to his recent musings on the black family. Unlikely. QED

-- bill dickens (, May 23, 2004.

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I admire Dr. Bill Cosby for his career and support of Black people in America. I understand the sentiment behind this statement. I have experienced the frustration of our lack of progress as a people. Subjectively, I understand why he made this statement. Subjectively, I also agree with Rev. Paris that we should stop being victims. As Fannie Lou Hammer said " she was sick and tired of being sick and tired". When will we become sick and tired of being sick and tired and do something about it. However, objectively, I know that if an individual is physically, sexually, or emotionally abused as a child or adult that that individual will have long lasting psychological/psychiatric problems. Likewise, if groups of individuals are singled out because of race and persecuted over centuries like our Afirican ancestors and the indigenous people called the American Indians, then they too will have long lasting psychological effects which will be transmitted over the generations to the present.

Based on my experience, I have objectively observed that one of the main psychological traumas that we African-Americans have as a result of centuries of dehumanization by America is that we don't love ourselves enough and we hate ourselves too much. If one does not love himself or herself, then self-respect, self-esteem, self- reliance, confidence and all those things necessary for enabling one to reach their human potential are many times absent. The writings of Dr. Carter G. Woodson in MISEDUCATION OF A NEGRO. DR. Samuel DeWitt Proctor in THE SUBSTANCE OF THINGS HOPED FOR, and Bishop Desmond Tutu IN GOD HAS A DREAM support my statement that when people are oppressed that they develop feelings of self-hatred.

The fact that our young people refer to one another as nigger is evidence of the transgeneration transmission of a negative psychology produced by centuries of oppression in America. The fact that we don't support our own Black businesses is another example of the psychological trauma produced by slavery. The cocaine/heroin drug dealing is so rampant in the lower income Black neighborhoods largely as result of the negativity that America has shown Black people. Those individuals who use the drugs and sell them were not born that way. They grew up in an environment where they may have been denied the same economic opportunity as a white person. Some of these individuals were physically, emotionally, or sexually abused as a children then performed poorly in school. Should we expect an abused child to perform good in school? They eventually dropped out and found that cocaine or heroin eased their psyche pain of low self- esteem, depression, or anxiety.

Most White Americans know that African-American citizenship is not equal to their citizenship . They know that they don't intend to give us equal opportunity to the same privileges that they enjoy as White Americans. As a matter of fact, although we are citizens, White Americans don't really consider us to be Americans. This sentiment has its genesis in the love of power which I consider to be the root of all evil.

As African-Americans, we must first realize that we are God's creation. We must realize tha we belong to God and that if we are to be lifted up, we must follow His Spirit. In due time, if we African- Americans follow His Spirit, there will be no limitations on what we can accomplish as a people. According to Deuteronomy 28, if we obey God we will be blessed, If we disobey Him, we will be cursed.


-- Jazzman (, May 23, 2004.

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Ron I agree with you. No one should ever feel that anyone should be shot in the back of the head for pound cake. That is simply ridiculous and it would be funny if people weren't be shot for less. An ultra conservative (African American for you Bill) friend of mine was a recent victim of racial profiling when he stopped by the police at gunpoint, frisked, handcuffed and placed in a squad car while the police searched his rental Jaguar. His crime? He had pulled away from the curb in front of the home of a wealthy white friend and the overzealous police officer now facing charges thought he was probably involved in some criminal activity. Far too often African Americans are painted with a broad brush and Dr. Cosby should know better because not every poor black person is illiterate or on welfare.

-- Harold Gibson (, May 24, 2004.

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If the shoe fits..... Here is a hard truth further underscoring his words: 77% of white households have at least one PC.

Only 23% of black households do.

I would be curious to know how many of those black households that don't have a $400 computer (or $200 for hooked on phonics) have $500 in PS/2 gaming hardware or DVDs.

I would also like to know how many lower-class whites' children have $4000 ATVs, but couldn't spell ATV if you spotted the the "A" and the "T"....

I agree with the majority of the posters; it is time for us to get up off of our knees and STAND UP. The past happened. It cannot be changed. Let's take the cards we have been dealt and play the game. Our forebears (Richard Allen, Madame C.J. Walker, Benjamin Banneker, seemed to have no problem, and they had no access the information available in the 21st century.

-- Rev. John Harper (, May 24, 2004.

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I give a hearty AMEN to Rev. Harpers statement. Let's learn from the past and move on. I have two sons whom I've told that we live in an imperfect world..racism exists and you will not always be treated fairly; but you have to learn how to deal with the system until you can change it. Don't become a perpetual victim or blame the white man for ill that comes down the road.

-- Kirk Wheeler (, May 24, 2004.

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Jaxxman: You went to the heart of the problem. Clearly psychological trauma can and is transmitted across the generations; not at 100% because some are able to overcome. The evidence you cited including the books also defines the problem. You make a good case that we must recognize the problem before we can solve it. God also understood that problem when He was bringing the Children of Israel out of Egypt, Numbers 13, 14. When the 10 spies brought back a bad report of the Land of Caanan contrasting the good report by Caleb and Joshua "It will not be easy but we can overcome"; God sent his people back into the wilderness and they marched around until all of the generation that had previously been enslaved except Joshua and Caleb had died. Of that generation, only Joshua and Caleb were allowed into the land. When I preach on this topic, That generation suffered from the "Slave Mentality"; they had been "brain-washed" from 400 years of slavery. If they had been allowed to go into the land of Caanan, future generations would have been "infected" with the virus of the Slave mentality. This was drastic measures on God's part but the future of His people in the promised land was at stake. I consider that the situation you describe among our people is directly parallel to the Children of Israel. Some of our slave ancestors were so "brainwashed" they could not accept the idea of freedom. They in turn "brainwashed" their children and the childrens children. To stop this we must break the cycle. When our POWs were returned from captivity in North Korea, we found that we had to "re- educate" them to get rid of the "brainwashing" they had experienced in prison. When North Viet Nam won their war, they sent the South Vietemese to "Re-Education" camps to remove the brainwashing they had experienced at the hands of the French and later we Americans. (That's a personal opinion.) The point is that Bill Cosby and many others are the Calebs, Joshuas, who have the thankless task of re- educating our people to accept responsibility for themselves rather than crying for the slavemaster to provide healing. The one who inflicted the damage is wounded himself and simply cannot be part of the healing process.

I believe that the Civil Rights leaders of the MLK era understood this because they accepted the help of well meaning whites, but they reserved the leadership positions for blacks, recognizing that though many whites were just as dedicated to black progress, black progress would only be made when blacks accepted responsibility for themselves. I also believe that is what happened in South Africa. Black South Africans were willing to take their freedom or die trying; they took responsibility for themselves.

"Shot in the back for stealing a pound cake." If this were to happen the person would be shot for "stealing". When one engages in improper behavior, they become part of the problem.

Bro. Harold Gibson: The example you cited has become an Urban Legend, admittedly based on truth. I have heard so many versions of this but never experienced any thing so severe. Perhaps I've been lucky but I doubt it.

Bear with me a moment in this: In 1972 I moved into a previously all- white neighborhood in Garland Texas. (Garland was a small town then.) I was stopped by the Chief of Police harrassed. Politely I informed him that I lived in the neighborhood; produced evidence (drivers liscense, etc.) Then I told him that I expected the same type of diligence in protecting me as he was attempting to provide for the white residents of the area. I refused to allow him to search my car or me, again politely, informing him that if he wished to place me under arrest, I would cooperate fully with him. After we arrrived home, I called his office to lodge a complaint, to him, no less. We were never harrassed again in the twenty years I lived there. Sometimes it depends on how you handle the situation. I teach my children in the church and at home that they should remain calm and control the interaction with police officers by out thinking the officer. Give him/her the opportunity to do the right thing; above all preserve your life and all the evidence possible and then SUE, SUE, SUE.

Be Blessed

Be Blessed

-- Rev Al Paris (, May 24, 2004.

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It would be great to read or hear Cosby's speech in the full context because I believe that Dr. William Cosby has more sense than to insult a room full of our African American intellectuals without making some kind of point. Sometimes we say things within a certain "context", and when taken out of context, it appears to be totally insulting. Having said that, many of the things that Cosby "stated" are true, but certainly they are not true for all African Americans. I think Cosby is speaking about a certain segment of our population, but not the entire population. I know "a" family in my home city, where the mother is on welfare, where the boyfriend does not work, where a portion of the older children have dropped out of high school, yet despite the welfare and unemployment, they have the most expensive DVD's, CD's and Play Stations. One of the older sons did get put in jail for stealing a bag of potato chips and one of the younger sons cannot read very well, yet is a Play Station expert, yet he is constantly being suspended at school over things like "...who's gym shoes look cleaner than mine"., etc. These are systemic problems that can only be solved by peeling away a layer at a time of the problems. No one person can solve these types of problems alone. Everyone that cares and has a certain level of expertise to assist MUST do their little part to make the community a more excellent community. As far as the comments about we needing to "learn from our past and move on". Unfortunately, most of us do not really know American history, much less the nuances of African American history that apply to us, so how can we "get over" a past that we do not even know. Another problem is that generations of African American people do not understand how the past really applies to them. Many of us just feel that the past is the past, and since I didn't live in the past, then it doesn't have anything to do with me. And, that is absolutely false. Instead of trying to learn the "past" in one weekend, so that we can get "over it" by MOnday morning, we all, young and old, need to read and study our history, analyze it, and learn what we can from it to assist in making our communities and our churches better. One last thing, and I will "sit down". As far as our black businesses are concerned, I support some black businesses in my community and there are some very unprofessional black businesses that I do not support. The same is the case with "white" businesses. There are some good white-owned businesses that I support, and there are some very racist businesses that can do without my business that I do not support. I don't think that a statement that "black people do not support black businesses" is not quite true. I think the biggest issue is that in the 21st century, African American people exercise choice, which was one thing that my mom says was limited to her generation during the 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's. Once the 70's hit and we "moved beyond" the civil rights movement, many doors of "choice" opened up. Affirmative action became available, financial aid became available, many schools, majors and professions became available to all kinds of people. The post-baby boomer generation (my generation) was told that we can "be anything we want to be". And many of us have done just that, however, many of us forgot what our parents told us: that regardless of what we achieve, racism still exists and at the same time, there is still a God in the sky and Jesus for us to lean on, not our degrees, big cars and houses. And, regardless of what we achieve, many of us were also told to give a portion to our churches and to support our communities. Many of us have forgotten to do that, and now we have children killing each other over pound cake and gym shoes. Blessings.

-- Olivia Brewster (, May 24, 2004.

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Here is a link to a newspaper article about Cosby's Critique of the black poor, incarcerated and not-so famous. Go to QED

-- bill dickens (, May 24, 2004.

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Urban legend? Surely you are you calling me a liar, Parson Paris? I am glad nothing like this has happened to you. I am thankful nothing like this has happened to me. But that does not mean it does not happen. I think the example you cite is proof that it happens all the time. I certainly pray that most people do not engage the police at gunpoint but it is dangerous and I am rejoicing that my very black, very republican friend, is not in his grave tonight simply because he was DWB in a white community.

-- Harold Gibson (, May 24, 2004.

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I agree with Rev. Paris that we must break the cycle of self- destructive behaviour in our community. However, I just don't think we African-Americans have the willpower or desire to do so. I sincerely believe that whatever happens will be by the grace of God. Therefore, when I see a spark in our race, I pray that it will turn into a light. In GOD HAS A DREAM by Bishop Desmond Tutu on page 40, he made the following comment below:

" In South Africa, the victims of the apatheid system often ended up internalizing the definition the system had of them. They began to wonder whether they might not perhaps be somehow as their masters and mistresses defined them. Thus they would frequently accept that the values of the domineering class were worth striving after. And then the awful demons of self-hate and self-contempt, a hugely negative self-image, took their place in the center of the victim's being. These demons are corrosive of proper self-love and self- assurance, and eat away at the very vitals of the victim's being.

This is the pernicious source of the destructive internecine strife to be found, for instance, in the African-American community. Society has conspired to fill you with self-hate, which you then project outward. You hate yourself and destroy yourself by proxy when you destroy those who are like this self you have been conditioned to hate. One of the most blasphemous consequences of injustice and prejudice is that it can make a child of God doubt that he or she is a child of God. But no one is a stepchild of God. No one"

I was shocked when I read these words by Bishop Tutu confirming what Dr. Carter G. Woodson in MISEDUCATION OF A NEGRO and Dr. Smuel DeWitt Proctor in THE SUBSTANCE OF THINGS HOPED FOR has also said. It was uncanny to me that Bishop Tutu was so insightful about our culture having lived under apartheid in South Africa. We as African- Americans must acknowledge that we have inadequate love for ourselves and too much self-hatred if we are to become what God wants us to become. We also must actively work to love one another and apply understanding and patience. For example, I don't expect an individual with self-hatred, low self-esteem to respect me because he or she probably does not respect himself or herself. Therefore, I should not react to a disrespectful greeting once I have discerned that this individual has low self-esteem. Instead, I should respond to that individual with a greeting such as Sir. Mam, or Miss and speak with kindness.

I believe that with prayer that we will find that love can conquer all.


-- Jazzman (, May 24, 2004.

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In Dr. Kingís Address to the Eleventh Convention of the SCLC, ďWhere Do We Go From HereĒ, he states that psychological slavery is the cruelest slavery of all, from which no Lincolnian Proclamation or Johnsonian Civil Rights Bill can emancipate. He further reminds us of that we only have to look at Rogetís Thesaurus to see how deeply psychological bondage has been engrossed when we compare the synonyms for black and those for white. The Black man is even enslaved and betrayed by the very language he speaks. Thus, teachers of English are forced to teach the black child at least sixty ways to despise himself.

ďThe tendency to ignore the Negro's contribution to American life and strip him of his personhood is as old as the earliest history books and as contemporary as the morning's newspaperĒ, he said. Like Nicodemus, he said, America must be born again.

Also using a Biblical illustration he speaks more specifically to the issue we are addressing here. Perhaps Cosby and some on this board have forgotten it. Using Saint Paulís description of love. This is what Dr. King said:

And so I say to you today, my friends, that you may be able to speak with the tongues of men and angels; you may have the eloquence of articulate speech; but if you have not love, it means nothing. Yes, you may have the gift of prophecy; you may have the gift of scientific prediction and understand the behavior of molecules; you may break into the storehouse of nature and bring forth many new insights; yes, you may ascend to the heights of academic achievement so that you have all knowledge; and you may boast of your great institutions of learning and the boundless extent of your degrees; but if you have not love, all of these mean absolutely nothing. You may even give your goods to feed the poor; you may bestow great gifts to charity; and you may tower high in philanthropy; but if you have not love, your charity means nothing. You may even give your body to be burned and die the death of a martyr, and your spilt blood may be a symbol of honor for generations yet unborn, and thousands may praise you as one of history's greatest heroes; but if you have not love, your blood was spilt in vain. What I'm trying to get you to see this morning is that a man may be self-centered in his self-denial and self-righteous in his self-sacrifice. His generosity may feed his ego, and his piety may feed his pride. So without love, benevolence becomes egotism, and martyrdom becomes spiritual pride.

-- Robert T. Matthews III (, May 25, 2004.

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Bill Cosby was on the Tavis Smiley show. I didn't see him, but I understand the transcript can be found on Black America Web. Tavis said this morning, that Mr. Cosby did not take back anything he said, but did, at the very beginning, apologize for not saying a portion of Black people. Instead it sounded as if he lumped everyone together. Tavis said that this was not a new message from Mr. Cosby, and asked him why he thought it created so much attention. And Mr. Cosby said it was the way the media presented. He didn't quite say it like that, but we can go to the transcript and see how he worded it. Another thing I thought was so interesting about what Tavis Smiley said, was our preachers say the same things in the pulpits Sunday after Sundays, speaking the truth in love.

I was hesitant to comment on this, until I could hear or read Mr. Cosby's comments about what he said. My first thought, however, was that what he said was true, but knew because of his love and respect for His people, he was not being demeaning. And I think this is how the media wanted to project it.


-- Carmen Buchanan (, May 27, 2004.

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Carmen opines - "Another thing I thought was so interesting about what Tavis Smiley said, was our preachers say the same things in the pulpits Sunday after Sundays, speaking the truth in love."

Why is it when preachers or Bill Cosby make critical observations about the dysfunctional lifestyle of certain members of the black community it's called "speaking the truth in love" yet if a prominent black conservative makes the same observations his/her reflections are condemned as "self-hate"? I suppose in the minds of many, Cosby is far more credible so he can espouse his beliefs while black cultural critics like Stanley Crouch, Thomas Sowell and Armstrong Williams should be subjected to censure and public ridicule for their "offensive remarks". Yet again, prima facie evidence about the Orwellian double-speak which precludes honest dialogue about the challenges facing black America. Statistics don't lie, people do. QED

-- bill dickens (, May 28, 2004.

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Bill: I am not convinced that "speaking the truth in love" is an obvious example of George Orwell's doublethink, doublespeak contrivance in his book 1984. Why? Because I do not believe that speaking the truth and being in love with the people are opposing points of view. When people like many African American pastors and philantrophists point out the shortcomings of any segment of our society they are doing it from a position of solidarity. It is not unlike that point of view that says "I can criticize my child harshly, but you cannot because I know what he or she has been through and I have been there with him or her."

Many preachers are very much a part of the black community. Their congregations are made up of people from varied socio-economic strata and they have been with them in the good times and the bad times. When the pastor says "y'all can do better, y'all must do better, he or she is also saying I want to help you." Bill Cosby has done much the same thing. The proof is in the "Jello Pudding" of his life.

Now let's look at Stanley Crouch, he is best known for his attacks on Toni Morrison's Beloved. He did not like the book. That is fine, but to attack her personally in the manner he did is unacceptable. He called Spike Lee a nappy headed Napoleon but praises Quintin Tarrantino for using the N-word. How can you not just love a man like that. Yes he has praised the work of Duke Ellington but for the most part he has gained his fame by deriding other African Americans. He is not in solidarity thus his criticism is viewed as just another opportunity to sell books to whites who need to justify the mistreatment of Blacks.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day Holiday my grandiloquent brother in Christ.

-- Harold Gibson (, May 28, 2004.

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Please tell me more about Stanley Crouch. What did he not like about "Beloved" or Toni Morrison? Thanks.

-- Mary (, May 28, 2004.

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Unlike others on this forum let me be fair to those I criticize. Stanley Crouch does not hate all black people. He is a proponent of the boot strap! He praises Sybil Mobley, the dean of the Florida A&M Business School for developing a business school that meets the demands of business by preparing students for success because they are educated to those standards. He is also a fan of Ralph Ellison. And he remarkably has done something the republican tag team would never do, he criticized the GOP for their support of men with ties to racist groups i.e. John Ashcroft and Trent Lott. But let me also say it was much easier and it appears there is a much greater body of work for his personal and often vicious attacks on other African Americans.

-- Harold Gibson (, May 28, 2004.

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Mary - Since I am responsible for initially mentioning Stanley Crouch and given how Harold did NOT answer the second part of your question about the Crouch-Morrison brouhaha, allow me to indulge your attention for a few minutes. In the mid-to-late 90s, Crouch offered a scathing review about Morrison recieving the Nobel Prize in Literature primarily because he felt her accumulated work did not merit such a recognition. The focus of his complaint was based on the esoteric tools of literary criticism and based on that methodology Morrsion's recognition was unwarranted, according to Crouch. Now what comes next is the key part that Harold either left out or doesn't know. Crouch's rejection of Morrison, the writer not the person, is based primarily because of his relation to the cerebral writer Albert Murray. Albert Murray is his mentor. Crouch believed that Murray (Tuskegee classmate of Ralph Ellison) was unfairly overlooked by the Oslo Committee. Murray's magnum opus was the 1970 publication of The Omni-American and it greatly influenced writers like Crouch, Cornel West and Yale Law Professor Stephen L. Carter.

Crouch is a regular columnist for the NY Daily News, Salon Magazine, the Village Voice and a former commentator for the CBS news show 60 Minutes. He has authored several provocative books like Notes of a Hanging Judge (1990) and last year published Reconsidering The Souls of Black Folks (2003). This is not the first time I have introduced the name of Stanley Crouch on this BB. I have read a lot of his published work and appreciate his candor and non-conformist style when engaging in public discussions. Mr. Crouch has had a great impact on my intellectual development. This preceeded long before my identification with Harold's alleged "Republican Tag Team". I won't however give the diginity of a response to the preposterous notion offered earlier that somehow I would "never" criticize key GOP politicians who have racist ties. QED

-- bill dickens (dickensb@comcast.nete), May 29, 2004.

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Thank you gentlemen for sharing information with me. It will be interesting to follow Mr. Crouch.

-- Mary (, May 29, 2004.

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Bill, I really think you sugar coat Stanley Crouch's analysis of Toni Morrison. In many of his writings he arguably gets very personal with Toni Morrison the writer and in many ways blurs the line. His comparison to her as another PT Barnum or the literary conjure woman could be read as personal attacks. His primary reason for his crass attack on her stems from the fact that he would prefer that black writers blame the Africans for the selling other Africans into slavery rather than criticizing the high brow western civilization that used slavery as attempt to dehumanize on the basis of race. And that kind of blame game is certainly one way to view the impact of slavery. (It certainly provides a great deal of comfort to members of the oppressive race because it relieves them of any responsibility, a tactic used often by Republican Tag Teams (Connerly/Thomas to name one.) to engender support for their personal advancement. Cosby's remarks rise to a similar level but what is different is that he does it more from a position of solidarity. What should we say to the African American underclass? Perhaps something along the lines of (I want to help you succeed and while things are unfair there are avenues of success available. However despite my best effort to promote your success, there are certain behaviors that contribute to your failure and you have a responsibility to make some changes.)

I have a serious question for you Bill:

Is it statistically plausible for a minority population to constitute a majority in certain class without a biased selection process? For example how could we statistically justify that population of the special education department is 99.6% Black when Blacks only constitute 21% of the total student body?

-- Harold Gibson (, May 29, 2004.

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I was browsing Google, trying to find Billís speech, when I stumbled into this bulletin board. Iíve enjoyed reading through the numerous posts and thought I might make my own contribution. I think (surprise, surprise) that Bill was correct but misunderstood. I believe he was trying to make the point that in order for change to come about, it has to come from inside. This is true of individuals on a spiritual and mental level, and it is true of social/cultural groups (including those defined by ethnicity). You can exert all of your effort to change a person or persons, but in the end it is they who must change themselves. Societal pressures and programs can facilitate the advancement or demise of such groups, but their ultimate fate remains in their hands. What is inaccurate is to limit these problems to minorities (or specifically African Americans). I think American culture in general has become diseased. There is a pervasive attitude of irresponsibility. When a problem arises, it is always someone elseís fault. Always, someone elseís responsibility. We sue at every opportunity. We loudly trumpet the systemís flaws but propose no meaningful alternatives. We are destructive, rather than constructive. We have become inert, inattentive, and uninformed citizens, rather than the responsible, proactive, and educated populace required to maintain a free society. This is our country. This is our responsibility. Harmony and progress are entirely up to you and me.

What is the solution? Iím not entirely certain, but for starters, I vote Libertarian. Yeah. Iím one of those wackos.

Finally, I think that racially, tremendous progress has been made. When I was growing up (in the 80s), my three biggest celebrity role- models were Bill Cosby, Lavar Burton, and Mr. Rogers. (Though, looking back, I find Mr. Rogerís Neighborhood kinda creepy.) A white kid with two out of three role-models who are African American? Thatís a far cry from the 50's. Though I personally have experienced hostility from a handful of black people, overall, my experience has been very positive. I think that the concept of racial supremacy has been pushed as far to the fringe as it ever will be. Those who still clutch at this ignorant concept, are the kind of belligerent, dogmatic fanatics who will never be changed.

Thanks for listening to my rant...

-- Christopher Davies (, May 30, 2004.

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Brother Davies, I for one appreciate your sentiments with regard to this question, and applaud your willingness to contribute. At the risk of belaboring this subject, I'd like to contribute a final thought.

Its not doubt that Mr. Cosby meant well. He is a man that has demonstrated his good intentions time and again. The difficulty arises in that he, being utterly removed from the plight of those of whom he spoke, made a sweeping generalization about their condition. Whatever air of truth there was in his statement was overwhelmed by his jokingly insensitivity. Sincerity mixed with smugness, and concern mixed with contempt is a potentially volatile concoction. The resulting commentaries testify. The lesson here, should we be inclined to extract one, is that each one of us, regardless of our circustance are simultaneously masters and victims of those circumstances. They are of our making - to greater and lesser degrees - yet we are driven by them in directins and to destinations not necessarily of our choosing.

Mr. Cosby is and will continue to be a respected icon in the life and history of African Americans. Though he was rightly admonished for his words, he is after all - imperfect. May the Lord continue to bless him that through that blessing, the name of the Lord be praised.

In Love, In Christ,

The words of our LORD.... The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." (Mt 25:40-46)

-- Ron Harris (, May 30, 2004.

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I'll start off with who and what I am. I am Mari Boatright. I am a 21-year old white female, from north east Florida. That *obviously* makes me very much a girl from the south. I am also a college student at IT Technical institute, working toward my goal of being the first person in my family to attain a degree from any college. (I also am a fraction native American, and love my tribal ackground, but that is not my issue for the day.) I am a born-again Christian,. and claim no church or denomination. I limit myself only to the love of God. That being out in the open, I would like to respond to some of the comments I have read in this forum.. I fell into this forum in search of a controversial topic for my Comp II class, in hopes of passing, after my husband mentioned "the Bill Cosby Speech," and had no idea what it was all about. I have been reading articles all over the internet to beter understand the speech, and the impact it is having on our [America] day-to-day lives. Being that I was raised in the south, my life has been filled with racism, both white-black and black-white. No race is free from persecution by those in opposing (I am not sure if that is the best word in all of America, but here it is) races. I have been called racist at work (Wal-Mart, gas stations) for reasons such as allowing a (black) person to go ahead of another (black) person because the second pushed past the first during rush hour, and the second was lighter, and called racist because I charged tax on an item that the person didn't believe needed to be taxed. I have also been leered at and treated rudely by black people while just walking past them on the street. I have also lived in an area where the families were evenly dispersed between black and white people, and I stayed teh night, or weekends, with black families, and felt as at home with them as I did my own family. I love them as much as sisters and brothers, and would do anything for them. Racism isn't the issue anymore. It is just a cover people are using to continue hate. Now that I have gotten a little of my feelings out on the floor, and it is more clear who I am, let me address some of Bill's statements from my point of view. As I said, I worked at Wal-Mart for a time. A family, with a "single" black female, 5 kids, and a boyfrind would come into the store, on any givn day, and fill up 3 carts full of junk food... nothing nutritional, and definatly nothing any good for a meal, and put $300 on a food stamp card, then pull another cart around, and pay *cash* for an $800 sound system, and 5 DVD's. (I say single with " " because they ALWAYS had a man with them) I would ask myself when I saw this, why they needed food stamp cards, when they could buy wuch expensive electronics, and why it wasn't nutritional food they were prurchasing. So when Bill mentioned the $500 shoes, and the lack of money on educational items, it sturck home in my mind.

-- Mari E M Boatright (, May 31, 2004.

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I am afraid I hit a wrong key, and submitted too quickly.

I was going to Make one more comment, about the education. Thsi entire speech was based on the anniversary of the Brown v/s the board of Education on school segregation. The whole idea was to provide truly equal education for chidren of all ethnicities, and to improve relations between races in the future. Many of the black children in *my* school did not care one way or another about their education. It seemed that they only went to school to nap between their time at home. I have seen students, black and white, who treated school as if it was jsut something to kill time with. The problem being that time now is not like it was with thir parents. No one can get a decent job anymore without an education, much less without being literate. It is my belief that Bill Cosby was just trying to get it through to peoples heads that they have got to try harder. If my grandfather could go from a poor old farm boy with an 8th grade education to the speaker of the house in the house of representatives, anyone can learn to read and make a better life for themselves and their children. I personally would love o live in a country where no racsm whatsoever existed, and our education level would rival ANY other country's. Thank you fro your patience in reading this, and any comments or criticism would be appreciated for use in my paper.

-- mari boatright (, May 31, 2004.

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This is exactly why I dislike this over promotion of black on black criticism. It gives white people like Ms. Boatright, the WalMart checkout seer since she just knows that the woman is "single" and her male companion is her "boyfriend." The promotion of the black welfare food stamp queen is rising to urban legend stature except in east Florida where there are so many that just about daily these "queens of junk food and entertainment systems" can flaunt their government wealth in front of hard WalMart working white folk.

Spare me and this discussion board this drivel.

-- Harold Gibson (, May 31, 2004.

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Race aside, I've seen food stamps misused at Wal Mart myself. Just a couple of weeks ago I watched a woman pay for good groceries with food stamps, then pay for beer with cash. Why didn't she skip the beer and pay for some of her groceries with her cash? In a round about way the state paid for her beer, and I suddenly felt a lot less sypmathy for people on food stamps.

-- RP (, June 01, 2004.

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Boatright and RP : Both of you know that is an URBAN LEGEND that is told repeatedly as "I saw it myself". That no more happened to you than you went to Mars. And its always Wal-Mart. Old Sam is turning over in his grave. Stop the garbage and present some real arguments.

-- Rev Al Paris (, June 01, 2004.

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Sometimes its "classism" as opposed to "racism." Poor whites and poor blacks have always had much in common. The poor whites in America had one advantage as they were white; however, in certain instances, were viewed by people of their race as less than and assigned various negative titles. Cosby, in his statement, made assertions to poor whites as well. Many do not understand that many blacks view whites through the eyes of classism that does not always bare postive on the poorer classes of white people. You will not see the Cosbys nor the Hiltons in Wal-mart shopping.

-- Mary (, June 01, 2004.

-- Anonymous, June 01, 2004

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