May 23, 2004

Cos clarifies himself even further

Noted entertainment rep firm The Brokaw Company, representing Bill Cosby among other folks, released a statement this weekend further clarifying Cosby's position on the continuing fallout on Cosby's speech last week in Washington.

Cosby's attack on those in the black community who de-emphasize education as a means of creating advancement in black America was met with mixed reaction from many quarters. As a result, Cosby reiterated and expanded on his position.

"I think that it is time for concerned African Americans to march, galvanize and raise the awareness about this epidemic to transform our helplessness, frustration and righteous indignation into a sense of shared responsibility and action."

"I travel the country and see these patterns in every community-stories of 12 year old children killed in the cross fire between knuckleheads selling drugs, the 14 year olds with a sealed envelop as their first step into the criminal justice system, the young males who become fathers and not held responsible, the young women having children and moving back in with their mothers and grandmothers, and the young people who choose not to learn standard English."

"My question: Is Bill Cosby hoping that the drop out rate will reach 70% soon and teenage single parenthood will grow to 80% in the lower economic neighborhoods? Or is he clanging a bell and warning that this is an epidemic that has to be stopped? Are we so worried about what others think about us that we are unwilling to address this disease that is inflecting our people more and more every day?"

Cosby clearly recognizes that a change in focus is necessary. A change in vision is sorely needed in black America.

There are some who feel that Cosby's statements are an affront; the statements certainly fly in the face of some who insist that "ebonics" and other separatist educational philosophies should be the norm for black students today.

Cosby points out that media critics such as Christopher Farley at Time Magazine are flawed in their argument that African American literary greats such as Langston Hughes and Zora Hurston honored the dialects that Mr. Cosby criticized as a lack of language proficiency that further denies opportunity to inner city blacks. "Clearly, Mr. Farley did not speak in dialect on 'Good Morning America' nor would he probably have been hired by Time if he spoke that way. Secondly, someone should question Mr. Farley whether Mr. Hughes or Ms. Hurston knew standard English and chose to write in dialect."

"I feel that I can no longer remain silent. If I have to make a choice between keeping quiet so that conservative media does not speak negatively or ringing the bell to galvanize those who want change in the lower economic community, then I choose to be a bell ringer."

In that light, Cosby and I are on the same side of the coin. We both want to see an increase in education opportunity, but also an increase in the numbers of black students who take advantage of those opportunities -- and want to honestly take advantage of those opportunities.

Posted by mhking at May 23, 2004 10:55 AM

At least Cosby is getting backup, and not floating by himself. Roland Martin ("America's Black Forum") did a supportive column about it, and Clarence Page has one out today. Not to mention people's blogs. Even Kweisi Mfume (NAACP head) said he agreed with most of Cosby's comments.

Posted by: molotov at May 23, 2004 12:15 PM

Which surprises the daylights outta me -- Roland and I butted heads on Joe Scarborough's show on MSNBC last summer.

I thought him to be nearly as much a raving lunatic as Charles Barron (who acted a complete ass on camera with me a few weeks ago on Hannity & Colmes). [shrug] I guess everyone can surprise you once in a while...

Posted by: mhking at May 23, 2004 02:57 PM

Cosby comes out with this, years after Chris Rock's 'Niggers' routine? Big deal. Chris Rock is the one who deserves kudos for courage in the face of an entrenched leftoid black elite.

However, any help is welcome.

Now as Mr. Rock said, 'Run! Run! It's the media!'

Posted by: Fred Z at May 24, 2004 01:31 PM
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