Sunday, October 14, 2007

Bill Cosby on Meet the Press

So I was farting around on the computer Sunday morning and had NBC on in the background. Meet the Press came on featuring Bill Cosby and Alvin F. Poussaint (author). Bill has a new book out:

Basically, the book slams anyone and every about getting our act together (most of which I agree with). Couple blurbs:

“What will it take to pull our people out of poverty? What will get us to contemplate a life with brighter dreams? What will inspire us to pursue the future as if it mattered? How will we learn to respect ourselves and help each other? What will it take for us to become entrepreneurs and to run businesses that will serve the community, not destroy it? We ask these questions only because we think there are answers, real ones, attainable ones.”

Good questions. I'm liking where this is headed.

“All black parents can do right by their children, and all black children can succeed. There is no reason why not.”

“Use standard English when you have your kids together, not Black English. They’ll hear enough of that in the streets…Watch the movie My Fair Lady. All cultures discriminate against people who have not mastered the standard language, and when race is involved, it is all that much harder for a nonstandard speaker to feel competent or even at home in the culture.”

Makes sense, good strong argument here.

“Sometimes people with a victim mentality feel hopeless and do self-destructive things that make their lives even worse. It is time to redirect that energy. It is time to think positively and act positively. Black communities and families must provide our youth with the love and guidance that keeps them strong and on that positive path. Blaming white people can be a way for some black people to feel better about themselves but it doesn’t pay the electric bills.”

Another good point.

So...the interview rolls along and then they get into "gangsta" rap and "white kids." As I understood it, Bill and his scribe were basically saying that white kids like calling themselves "wiggers" and somehow want to live the life of the guys who are delivering the lyrics. It was the classic reverse racism argument.

Why do I think this?

Well, first and foremost, not all rap is "gangsta." There is a lot of good rap/hip-hop music out there. And yes, lots of white people listen to rap and most of them don't want to live the life of the guy delivering the music, but rather listen to some skillful MCs who masterfully tell stories about their life - positive, negative, about family, their kids, parents, community, etc.

Long story short, you have to give Bill some credit for telling it like it is. Most of his points made on the show today can be said for all races. You have to give props to someone who says screw being PC. People need to know the deal.


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