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Cosby promotes ignorance

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My initial reaction to reading about comedian Bill Cosby‘s remarks at an event commemorating the end of racial segregation was to dismiss them as ill-considered. The only response I intended to make was to drop my old friend Teddy Shaw, head of the Ink Fund, a line. But, reaction in the conservative blogosphere, which has used the statements as an opportunity to bash African-Americans anew, has led me to to reconsider.

CNN offers a sample of what Cosby said.

Speaking at a commemoration of the anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education desegregation decision, Cosby, a longtime education advocate, cited elevated school dropout rates for inner-city black students and criticized low-income blacks for not using the opportunities the civil rights movement won for them.

`These people marched and were hit in the face with rocks to get an education and now we’ve got these knuckleheads walking around,” Cosby said at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund observance.

“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,” Cosby said, according to published reports. “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.”

Cosby went on to imply that imprisonment of African-Americans, even for minor offenses, is acceptable. Indeed, the various excerpts I’ve read from his speech have a common theme: Poor black people are dysfunctional and it is solely their fault.

Individuals who want to believe black people are inherently inferior or naturally pathological are having a field day courtesy of Bill Cosby (pictured). At Blogcritics, a large Right Wing blog, a youthful Neandertal has revived the urban myth that poor African-American kids wear $500 basketball shoes. And old codger from Texas claims African-Americans breed too much, and ‘rut like horny fruit flies.’ A Libertarian who says Rosa Parks may deserve to be beaten for her role in the civil rights movement has also contributed to the discussion. (Don’t ask.)

The response is no surprise to longterm observers of American race relations. Too much of the white American population lies in wait for opportunities such as the one Cosby provided. They can then parade baseless beliefs they normally impose on family and friends privately publicly. The involvement of a person of color is treated as permission to do so.

My objections to Cosby’s comments are twofold.

First, the impressions he has conveyed are false. Anyone who knows anything about how dialects are maintained knows he hasn’t a clue what he is talking about. The reason dialects continue to exist is isolation. Poor blacks and Hispanics are the most likely to be isolated — in neighborhoods, schools, jobs, etc. So, the speech patterns developed during slavery and peonage continue. To imply people purposely seek to speak a dialect is ludicrous. It also ignores who is responsible for the isolation of African-Americans and Hispanics — white Americans. People of color did not create or maintain either segregation de jure or segregation de facto. By ignoring both the anthropology of dialect and the conditions that maintain it, Cosby blames those suffering the impact while letting those responsible off the hook.

He does something similar in regard to the criminal justice system and the minority poor. About 30 percent of the American population has had some engagement with the criminal justice system. That proportion dwarfs the share for any other country in the world. One of the reasons why is that our society defines criminality too loosely. A person accused of a minor infraction is stigmatized as a criminal here, while he would be not be elsewhere. Once the initial stigmatization occurs, the person will have difficulty differentiating himself from people who engage in truly harmful behavior. Cosby has encouraged an already alarming situation by saying it is justified. A person with any legitimate insight into the problems of the criminal justice system would not have said what Cosby did.

My other objection to Cosby’s comments is that he is providing aid and comfort to the enemy — bigots. The people who will embrace him as a result of his inaccurate and inconsiderate remarks do not have the best interest of low-income and/or minority Americans in mind. If it were possible, they would impose even more suffering on that segment of the population than it is enduring. There are people legitimately concerned about improving the bleak lives of the poor, but they are not the same folks who are applauding Bill Cosby.

People joke about Cosby’s Ph.D. at Temple University, his alma mater. They say it was a gesture of vanity, buttering up a celebrity who lacked the ability to actually earn a doctorate, but can afford to contribute generously to the school’s endowment fund. The ignorance revealed by Cosby’s remarks at the Ink Fund dinner makes me wonder if that interpretation is accurate.

Note: This entry also appeared at Silver Rights.

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About The Diva

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    At Blogcritics, a large Right Wing blog . . .

    You haven’t been hanging around BC much for the last 6-8 months, have you, MD?

  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    Actually, Tom, while I think calling BC a right-wing blog is a bit of an exaggeration, many people have perceived that it presents a right-wing bias despite the presence of a few vocal libs.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    I consider it Right Wing. That is particularly true after I have been reading mainstream material or talking to normal people. Then, what passes for reasonable here — Zionism, ‘scientific’ and any other kind of racism, war mongering, ignoring women except to post sexist lists about which celebrities are most attractive, no regard for the environment, kneejerk support of big business — is more clearly defined.

    I don’t know that Cosby intended to provide succor to racists, but that has been the effect of his statements.

  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    Yes, I would agree with that. I doubt that was Mr. Cosby’s intent, but…

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    I don’t feel that you added any new insight beyond your previous comments with this article. I’m not sure why you wrote it.

    Your instinct about Cosby’s EdD is a little off as well. Rather than resorting to an ad hominem attack on his academic qualifications, I think you’d have a better point if you questioned why someone who has a doctorate in education would resort to mockery and discouraging black students rather than positively reinforcing achievement.

    Don’t drop names that no one recognizes.

    I only engaged this because I think you need help with your writing.

    That is all.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Bumbling Bob, my previous remarks were comments. This is my only blog entry on the topic. My intention was to pull together what I’ve said in comments for my blog and Blogcritics. If you click on ‘entry’ at the sig line which follows my entry above, you can see it at Silver Rights. I’m sure you will find much to criticize there, too.

    Cosby’s remarks do make me wonder about the degree. I wasn’t an education major, not to mention in an education graduate program. Yet, I know how dialects develop as do many, if not most, educated people. How can someone with a doctorate in education not know something like that?

  • Chris Kent

    BABs,

    The writing was excellent and the opinions held my interest throughout. MD makes some good points here. I think the reason many groups of people continue with dialects/accents/lingo is due to the neighborhoods they grow up in. Everyone tries to fit in whether they realize it or not. A black man tries to speak differently in his neighborhood, he will be ridiculed. I think another reason dialects exist is because it gives groups of people a form of independence from other groups. It is a badge of pride in some ways.

    I was once with cousins in east Texas at a family reunion. I was apalled by their hick accents (notice I am being judgemental here about a person due to his/her dialect). I did not say anything to my relatives, though do remember one cousin asking me, “Why do you speak like a Yankee?” Perhaps a black man would say to another black man, “Why do you speak like a white man?”

    Anyway, Cosby’s comments were certainly ill-advised. As we all know, when people get older, they tend to talk before they think…..

  • boomcrashbaby

    I’m wondering if that reference to a young Nethandral who commented on 500 dollar sneakers is a reference to me. If so, I can only take both words as a compliment.

    It should be pointed out, for the record, that comments like this:
    Individuals who want to believe black people are inherently inferior or naturally pathological are having a field day courtesy of Bill Cosby
    may well be true, however, not all people who agree with the Personal Responsibility gist of Cosby’s comments, feel that a minority is inherently inferior.

    For my part, when I talk about responsibility in this vein, I’m not talking about responsibility for the causes, so much as for the solution.
    No, not even the solution. A solution.

    To read comments like this:
    …doctorate in education would resort to mockery and discouraging black students rather than positively reinforcing achievement. (comment #5),

    makes me realize that any futher discussion on this is non-productive. Here we have an African American who is advocating personal responsibility being labeled as ‘discouraging students and not positively reinforcing achievement’.

    Good grief, how does one reinforce achievement if not by advocating personal responsibility? GIVE somebody something and then pat them on the back for achieving it?

    Cosby should have acknowledged all the hard working, decent yet still poor minorities out there. He should have offered positive reinforcement of achievers. I’ll agree with that, only because it seems that since he didn’t, it has distracted from his message that was directed towards some not all.

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    Yet, I know how dialects develop as do many, if not most, educated people. How can someone with a doctorate in education not know something like that?

    I don’t think he lacks an understanding of dialect, I think it’s that he realizes that the dialect holds people back. Regardless of race, if you talk like you don’t understand English, you will not be taken seriously outside of your immediate peers. It’s just an unfortunate fact of life. If a white guy comes stumbling out of the woods and talks like a hillbilly, people are going to assume this guy isn’t suitable for a position of power in a big company. Same goes for African Americans – if you talk in the slang that’s popular now, you’re not going to get anywhere. Now, this isn’t saying that this means that these people are unintelligent, it’s just saying that there’s no way for anyone else to know that they ARE intelligent. They could very well be geniuses. If they possess language skills that allow them to speak correctly and, more importantly, appropriately, they’ll be able to show others the genius that they are. That’s not racism at work in Cosby’s remarks. Maybe, however, it is classism – I’ll leave that for others to decide.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    I thought RJ Elliott was the prime promoter of the $500 basketball shoes stereotype. Perhaps I confused it with his promotion of the claims women of color are ugly and that affirmative action results in people less bright than he is going to college. (An impossibility.) Regardlessly, ‘$500 basketball shoes’ is a stereotype and a gross misrepresentation of reality.

    Some years ago, there was a Southern legislator who had a black football player’s college scholarship withdrawn. The kid had the scholarship because he was handicapped. He had only one leg. However, he played football despite the handicap. The legislator saw footage of the student playing football and said it proved the fellow was not really in need of help. That is the kind of result one gets by promoting stereotypes such as the welfare Cadillac and the expensive sneakers. People looking for something to latch on to to deny the poor and minorities opportunities use those stereotypes to their advantage.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    BoomCrash: Call your sister tonight and have a talk with her about educational psychology (which Cosby no doubt studied extensively) and achievement motivation. Cosby’s negative comments and mockery are punitive — this approach (ridiculing the worst and the lowest achievers) never motivates the low achievers nor sets an example for higher achiver who don’t compare themselves to the lowest of their peer group to begin with. In the classroom, his approach would be counter-productive and likely hurt achievement.

    Let me reiterate because I think some of you have missed this the first several times I’ve said it: AT NO POINT did Cosby EVER say the words of encouragement about HOW we should train black leaders you attribute to him. Instead, he trots out the same tired stereotypes that those “marchers hit in the face with rocks” — people like Julian Bond and others who, unlike Cosby, DID march in the civil rights movement and were apalled at Cosby’s comments that very night — fought to challenge. Let’s remember that Cosby’s support for black causes has been mostly symbolic as well — he was busy making “I Spy” and trying his very best to integrate and be acceptable to the white mainstream (which is commendable, don’t get me wrong) while others were putting their livelihoods, and very lives, on the line for their beliefs.

    Anytime someone talks about “A Solution,” I get nervous. Universal truths and final solutions don’t mix well. Part of the problem is that we as a nation steadfastly refuse to take responsibility for the causes, or even understand them, before we prescribe solutions. That’s not good medicine, my neo-con pathologists. To teach, moralize, and lecture you need some modicum of understanding about what your students have and are going through. BoomCrash has lived through some struggle of his own, so maybe he has this understanding.

    For most of you, though, I’d suggest that you have to get your hands dirty a little bit before you can claim to know the answers for people you obviously view as so different. I’ve already recycled enough Christian imagery in my comments on this issue, but I’m surprised that this aspect of engagement hasn’t resonated with at least some of you neo-cons. Probably because your politics precede your principles, as is the case with too many on the right (and left) these days.

    That is all.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Damn it.

    I wrote a detailed comment but I think it got lost when I tried to submit it.
    I don’t have the energy to re-create it.

    Oh well.

  • Chris Kent

    Unfortunately BABs,

    We are having to suffer through one of your endless comments again.

    I’ve never known someone to write so much and yet say so little.

    Have you considered running for office?

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    The server has been acting strange since yesterday’s eviction and relocation. Try going back with your browser or looking at the history page for what you were writing. It may still be there.

    Tom, that is the positive spin you and I would put on remarks criticizing using dialect. But, Cosby did nothing of the sort. His message was not ameliorative in any way.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Chris Kent, the guy does love to write. However, I am not sure why.

  • boomcrashbaby

    BoomCrash: Call your sister tonight and have a talk with her about educational psychology (which Cosby no doubt studied extensively) and achievement motivation.

    I’ll bring it up. I am supposed to call her tonight. If there is one thing that she and I know about and agree on though, it’s personal responsibility and achievement motivation. You’re preaching to the choir here. You know a smidgen of my history, my lack of resources, and all the bigots out there who have attempted to hold me back. But I am not the one who needs a lesson on achievement motivation. My daughter is 21 months old, is just starting to speak, but can already identify all 26 letters and most numbers, even upside down, pronounce most of them (some lower case letters still understandably problematic in identification) knows in a very limited aspect how to navigate around a keyboard, is learning English and Spanish, and is intelligent enough to have figured out that if she can’t get what she wants, give something to Daddy to distract him, so she can get back to what she’s doin. No achievement motivation lesson needed in this house, thank’s though, for the thought.

    this approach (ridiculing the worst and the lowest achievers) never motivates the low achievers nor sets an example for higher achiver who don’t compare themselves to the lowest of their peer group to begin with. In the classroom, his approach would be counter-productive and likely hurt achievement.

    Granted, in the classroom yes, it would be wrong. He wasn’t in a classroom, he wasn’t speaking to kids, he was speaking to black leaders. Why are you under the impression that he should speak to black leaders the same as if he was speaking to children? Come on.

    Part of the problem is that we as a nation steadfastly refuse to take responsibility for the causes, or even understand them, before we prescribe solutions.

    Taking responsibility. Wow. There’s a novel idea.
    We as a nation SHOULD combat racism, and ALL the factors that lead to a segment of society being marginalized as a lower class. We as a nation are comprised of individuals. It would be a lot easier for us as a nation to promote responsibility, if those individuals within it also did so. How does one then promote responsibility and achievement? Through money, success, career and a comfortable survival. THAT’S already in place.

    Bob, there is a legitimate beef in combatting stereotyping, racism, and the creation of a lower class, that’s true, I’ll give you that. The problem, is that your solution is too long term, and only tenuously possible at best. If I’m in a burning house, I’m not going to stand there and wait for the person who CAUSED the fire to come get me out, cuz it’s his obligation and he needs to show some responsibility for his actions, dammit… Life doesn’t work that way. The solution is to hold that person accountable for what he has done, take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again, and also to exhibit behavior that will better your situation (like jumping through the window). You’re focusing more on the take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again part. I’m addressing the more immediate need of jumping through the window.

    To teach, moralize, and lecture you need some modicum of understanding about what your students have and are going through. BoomCrash has lived through some struggle of his own, so maybe he has this understanding.

    I’m sure that MacDiva is right, when she says that racists are having a field day with what Cosby said. It goes with the territory though. I used to cringe whenever a gay person like Andrew Sullivan said something critical or negative about the gay community. You could rest assured that the 700 club or Scarborough would have the comments on their show, complete with illogical footage of gay people partying in the street. It doesn’t mean we should stop a critical self analysis, just so we don’t give our enemies ammo.

  • Shark

    Oh. Another trite personal vendetta disguised as intellectual analysis.

    feh.

    re. the “…old codger from Texas claims African-Americans breed too much, and ‘rut like horny fruit flies.'”

    Honey, I claims everybody breeds too much. But don’t let facts get in the way of your ongoing nervous breakdown.

    re: “Old” and “gramps” as insults –

    1) Aging is hell, but consider the options.

    2) Being a loving grandfather who is loved by his grandson is not a role that anyone would find insulting. At least anyone sane who values relationships with other people.

    BTW: Mac, um…

    You’re.

    Single.

    Right?

    heh.

  • Shark

    Chris Kent: “…As we all know, when people get older, they tend to talk before they think…”

    Nothing like a speech condemning racism justified by an explicit statement of ingnorant ageism.

  • Shark

    PS: Just my two cents –

    MacD ain’t worthy of anointing Bob A. Booey’s feet, let alone criticizing him or his writing.

    She could take a lesson from him in both depth and clarity of thought.

    She’s got him beat on the insults, tho.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    No, she really doesn’t. She recycles mine. Yet another example in her last comment:

    Me: “I don’t feel that you added any new insight beyond your previous comments with this article. I’m not sure why you wrote it.”

    Paranoid schizophrenic: “Chris Kent, the guy does love to write. However, I am not sure why.”

    This is the second time in a row. It’s gone beyond the anxiety of influence and flattery to being pathetic. I’m young enough to be her son or grandson, I’m sure. Stop copying me because I’m smarter than you. Stick to lame insults like “Bumbling Bob.” Thanks.

    I say the things that you would say if only you had the intelligence or ability and I have the balls to make interesting connections and analysis rather than boring, shallow, inchoate “commentaries” that shed no light on the issue. I have no interest in reading that website if they’d accept this post of yours as publishable material. There are enough low-quality blog sites out there that I don’t read as it is. The only thing more annoying than political commentaries I fundamentally disagree with are commentaries that agree with my positions, but just for the wrong reasons (or no real reasons at all). Just be glad you have chosen to agree on this issue; you wouldn’t want to have to argue against me.

    Chris, I’m glad to see you’re MacDiva’s only fan and ManSlave. If I were paranoid like MacDiva, I’d wonder if you were her other personality. Nonetheless, you contribute nothing. You are witless and have nothing of substance to say on any issue that extends beyond your keyboard and fat gut. You’re still an illiterate hick just like your relatives are, especially when you INSIST on ending your comments with trite cliches like “As we all know, when people get older, they tend to talk before they think…..” Ponderous, bro, ponderous. You’re a real philosopher. Douche.

    BoomCrash: I wasn’t talking about your particular achievement motivation, which I’m sure is high enough, but the role of educators like your sister encouraging achievement motivation in low-income (and especially minority) students. There’s something called self-efficacy related to achievement orientation in education psychology that is similar to your notion of personal responsibility — this doesn’t come from nowhere, however. Teachers play a vital role in expecting success from their students, reinforcing their effort (and avoiding punitive strategies as much as possible), and making them feel as if they have an ability to master what they are studying. Too many teachers assume things about minority students and make it difficult or virtually impossible for those students to feel comfortable in taking “personal responsibility” and that such actions will be rewarded instead of frustrated.

    I’m fascinated by your “house on fire” analogy, but I think the problem is too many people still deny that the house is on fire. There are still too many who trot out old stereotypes and are waiting outside that window with a can of kerosene asking why blacks won’t jump through rings of fire and let the house burn. I’m not sure that we should look at black culture as a house that is burning to begin with. There’s a lot of tradition and history worth embracing — I’d argue, in fact, that most of mainstream American pop culture that white folks take for granted now comes FROM black culture. The point I think we’re disagreeing on is that I think that there are plenty of bright students who do toe the line and follow traditional paths of achievement white folks would approve of who find their efforts continually frustrated. I dispute your idea that money, success, good jobs, and comfortable survival are readily attainable and present in the hood. A part of the psychological problem of race is that we’ve left so many barriers to education for lower-income minorities in this country that we have Cosby’s stereotypical assumption of the uneducable trickster. And for a lot of blacks who have been told all their life that they’re inferior students, asking them to “jump out the window” seems a lot like trusting the folks who set the house on fire to rescue you. It’s incumbent upon all people in positions of authority like educators to make sure that they encourage rather than discourage those students who ARE trying to do something in the here-and-now so that they can have pride in their identity (rather than rejecting it as Cosby would have them do) and become those black leaders that can show the way. “Jumping” right into the middle-class has never been that simple, quick, or easy for blacks in this country.

    For what it’s worth, I think we’ve come to some agreement on the goal and even on structural change. I think where we differ is that I think that our immediate commitment to challenging structural racism plays itself out in our daily interactions and choices and that we have to hold ourselves accountable for the “burning house” of racism just as, and perhaps because, there are those facing adversity who are taking responsibility in struggling against adversity most of us will never know and taking a leap of faith that often goes unrewarded by our society. We should strive for a society where black achievement ISN’T tied to giving up one’s identity.

    Chris Kent is scratching his bald head right now. Ask your dissociative honey bunch there to explain.

    That is all.

  • http://www.gwbush.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    “Anyone who knows anything about how dialects are maintained knows he hasn’t a clue what he is talking about. The reason dialects continue to exist is isolation. Poor blacks and Hispanics are the most likely to be isolated — in neighborhoods, schools, jobs, etc. So, the speech patterns developed during slavery and peonage continue.”

    Er…I work with many young Hispanics who speak perfect formal English while on the job, and then immediately switch over to “Hip-Hop” slang during informal discussions.

    The fact is, minorities who speak proper English are often derided among their peers as being “uncle Toms” and the like. These individuals CHOOSE to utilize slang, they are not forced to due to “isolation.”

  • http://www.gwbush.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    At Blogcritics, a large Right Wing blog . . .

    “You haven’t been hanging around BC much for the last 6-8 months, have you, MD?”

    LOL…

    Well, anyone who disagrees with her is inherently “right-wing” if not overtly “racist.” And, because she is consistently disagreed with here, it is no wonder she views this site in such a manner…

  • http://www.gwbush.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    “I thought RJ Elliott was the prime promoter of the $500 basketball shoes stereotype.”

    As usual, you were wrong.

    “Perhaps I confused it with his promotion of the claims women of color are ugly”

    Huh?

    “and that affirmative action results in people less bright than he is going to college. (An impossibility.)”

    Aw, again with the personal attacks. You never learn, do you? Rules that apply to everyone else just don’t apply to you, is that it?

    Perhaps your attakcs on my intellect would be a bit more credible if I hadn’t been the one to point out errors (both factual and grammatical) in no less than three of your recent posts… ;-)

  • http://www.gwbush.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    Let’s explore how a typical minority (or anyone, for that matter) can succeed, fairly easily, within American society:

    He (let’s call him Charles) lives in a poor, mostly-black urban neighborhood. He goes to a public school, which is “free” in the sense that it is paid for by the taxpayer. The “cool” thing to do while growing up is play basketball, skip class, listen to rap, and talk like Jay-Z. Charles does his share of this, but manages to graduate with a respectable 2.5 GPA.

    Charles is immediately accepted into Community College. He receives both loans and grants to help him pay for it. He also is given a part-time work-study job. He graduates from CC with a respectable 2.5 GPA.

    Charles is now immediately accepted to a four-year state university. He continues to receive loans and grants (and possibly scholarships) as well as part-time work-study employment. He graduates with a degree in WHATEVER HE WANTS TO MAJOR IN, and is able to use the public library to go to Monster.com and find a decent job somewhere outside the ‘hood.

    (Note: All this was accomplished without being a straight-A student, or using the crutch of Affirmative Action.)

    Please tell me again how black youths are unable to acheive in contemporary American society?

  • http://murasaki.city-blog.com Purple Tigress

    Hmmmm. I wrote something here, but it seems to have disappeared. I think anytime one makes criticism about one’s own ethnic group one is bound to be met with the chilly accusation of having sold out and, if possible, racists will use those comments to rationalize their prejudices.

    Language is a means of control. Bilingual or polylingual individuals learn to code-switch, go between languages at the proper time. Although, it must be said that the proper time may be a way of showing either deference or dominance. Similarly, ethnic dialects are ranked by prestige and used to assert in-group status.

    But sometimes one must question if being required to be in-group isn’t really holding someone back, out of jealousy or fear. For Asian Americans, the accusation is of being a banana. For Mexican Americans and other Latinos, it is a coconut. For African Americans who consider themselves black, it is the Oreo.

    Sure, for some people it is now considered cool to talk like a gangsta, but it was also once prestigious to speak like a surfer dude or a hippy. With television and radio, people are exposed to enough English speakers to be able to make an effort or a choice.

    But if the purpose of language for people who are monolingual is to communicate, then what Cosby seems to be saying is that they must embrace the standard language. The problem is doing so without being accused of being an Oreo.

    I think the thread of taking responsibility for oneself was running through another discussion (on Super Size Me). There is a tendency for some to fall into victimhood, to use the race card when it is questionable or without considering other possibilities.

    There is also a tendency for people of the working class to value things other than education. Like a job. Like a car. Yeah, even a good pair of shoes.

    What I believe Cosby was attempting to say is that minorities must not take obstacles as excuses to fail or to become embittered, but take these problems and use them as inspirational catalysts to succeed.

    Compared to what other generations faced, we have little excuse not to succeed.

    Perhaps the thing that keeps many ethnic minorities from succeeding is bitterness. Ethnic minorities still face obstacles. I think RJ Elliot’s example of Charles is simplistic and naive. I have worked at a place where women regularly faced sexual harassment (100 percent) and racist remarks were made against black people. I’d say at that company, not unlike the company I worked at before, progress and promotion for blacks and women was very limited. So let’s not deny that problems do exist.

  • boomcrashbaby

    I’m not sure that we should look at black culture as a house that is burning to begin with.

    I wasn’t. I do not equate poverty with black culture, Bob. Poverty is the burning house, not black culture.

    “Jumping” right into the middle-class has never been that simple, quick, or easy for blacks in this country.

    And no, when you jump out of the house, you don’t suddenly land on your new home, and all that. Jumping out the window is the first step, that’s all.

    You sound like you have studied this in school or something. But there’s a train of thought here that I will never agree with, no matter what textbook says it. It never even occurred to me: You (above) equate poverty with black culture. On an earlier post (or elsewhere, too lazy to hunt it down), you talked about ‘white’ mainstream.

    I’ve been going under the impression that homeownership, the quaint little house with the white picket fence, the car large enough to transport the family around, financial security and the possibility of retirement, etc., all fell under the concept of the great AMERICAN dream. But shit, if that’s the great WHITE dream, and poverty IS the culture of an ethnic group, well, no wonder they got offended at Cosby’s comments.

    Reading the comments from other posters, about ‘Uncle Toms’, and phrases like ‘selling out’, etc. geez, somehow, somewhere along the line, success and achievement got tied to being ‘aligned’ with white people? That’s just sad, if that’s true. It shouldn’t just belong to the realm of white people. It’s the basis of capitalism. Capitalism and democracy are what this country is supposed to be all about. (whether it actually is or not, is another thread). If the pinnacles of capitalism, and the freedom to build your own dream have fallen into the realm of ‘white culture’, and poverty and the hood becomes the realm of African American culture, well shit, I just see so much wrong with that, I don’t know where to begin.

    (p.s. to purple tigress, there are now two cosby threads. I think your post is on the other one still, it didn’t disappear).

  • http://murasaki.blog-city.com Purple Tigress

    Thanks for the clarification, BoomCrashBaby. I remember seeing that someone commented on my comment on the left margin, but didn’t have the time to read or reply.

    Ah, well. Finals will be over in a week and I’ll be more attentive. Otherwise, my apologies.

  • boomcrashbaby

    I posted that comment while Phil was workin on the site. It lost it’s formatting. Sorry that it’s hard to read.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    The very height of presumption is to tell people who know about a topic to shut up about it and then claim that one’s ignorance is accurate. (Comment 24.)

    The most recent autobiography I’ve blogged about the African-American experience is Debra Dickerson’s. You can read the entries here and here. You will notice that her experiences belie everything RJ Elliott says. The most crucial factor for people of color in America in regard to success is still race. Yes, race and class often converge. But, for African-Americans and Hispanics, race is what is often keeping them in the underclass or the working class. Absent racism, the concentration of poverty among the minorities would not exist. There is no way around that fact. People who desperately seek to ignore it do so because they want to believe the status quo is fine — that white people deserve all or most of the leadership positions, good jobs and economic benefits in our society.

    Purple, I again agree with much of what you are saying. But, I won’t let Cosby off the hook. His comments were not constructive. If he had meant something less abusive, I think he would have said so. Several people on the other thread mentioned Cosby’s age and the closing in of the walls he must be feeling. Part of his bitterness can be traced to his own bad experiences, I’m sure. They include a daughter who is a longterm drug addict. An only son who was murdered. (By a white person, BTW. Someone on the other thread assumed otherwise. I wonder why.) In addition, his squeaky clean image took a hit when the fact that he has engaged in multiple adulteries was revealed. Maybe Cosby is projecting his own unhappiness on to the most approved scapegoat in our society — poor black folks. I don’t think anyone in the ghetto caused his problems, but people project blame in odd ways.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Inspirational catalysts? Go back to studying for finals, Purple Tigress. You need the work in reading comprehension. Find that ANYWHERE in the summary of Cosby’s comments, I beg you. Banana.

    For the rest of the comments, I agree but that’s not surprising since they’re my ideas and words.

    I don’t want to get into a big leftie debate, so I’ll just say that capitalism is not an objective, impartial institution as much as we like to assume that the “invisible hand” of the market creates its own sort of justice. Capitalism in its current form is problematic and even the establishment of Western capitalism is inextricably tied to the history of race through imperialism and slavery. No, I don’t want to get into that discussion, but we should keep that in mind before we chide the “losers” of the capital game for being losers for so long. There’s a lot of broader forces and history and accumulated privilege at work that we need to acknowledge.

  • boomcrashbaby

    Just to clarify, I am aware of glass ceilings and all that. I know that capitalism is not a perfect solution. I was not touting it as such. I was talking about the American Dream. Where immigrants come here with the thought of streets paved with gold. They know that means the ability is there for those who persist and preservere. The possibility is endless.

    It’s not a perfect solution, it has it’s flaws, glass ceilings and all that. I’m not saying it’s a solution, I’m saying that to reject what it is all about, because it belongs in the realm of white people, is to reject what America is all about. The only other alternative I can think of is socialism. That has some problems of it’s own as well. And good luck changing this country into a socialist country.

    I’m not saying capitalism is a solution, I’m saying to reject capitalism in America because you don’t consider it part of your culture, is like a woman in Iran deciding that wearing a veil in public just isn’t her thing anymore, good luck! I’m sure the solution to one’s poverty is right around the corner, in that case!

  • Chris Kent

    BABs,

    There’s a few good thoughts in that mess you call writing. Cut out the bullshit, get to your point, and stop looking at yourself in the mirror. I think your comments will then begin to have a bit more validity…..You compose like a young man who’s never taken a writing course in his life….You ramble my friend. I have to edit medical work for a living, and even the most longest-winded of the bunch would have a hard time hiding their points as easily as you do. I piss them off when I make sense of their bullshit, though they rarely stoop to calling me a “douche”…….;)

    Sorry if you were insulted, though my intention WAS to strike a chord. Work on your writing, learn punctuation, and cut out the youthful muscle flexing…..Your junk reads like a Monty Python satire……they were British comedians BABs……:)

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Chris Kent,

    Fact One: You are an old, under-employed twit.

    Fact Two: You are a poor writer. You tell me about punctuation yet you abuse ellipses more than anyone alive. I’d teach you something about that, but you’re uneducable. Here’s a hint, though … try stopping at 4, dummy. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you use any correct punctuation in anything you’ve written.

    Fact Three: You have never said anything of interest EVER in any comment that I’ve read. Your comments are reserved for petty, ad hominem commentary on people who actually DO think or kissing up to equally poor writers who don’t rankle your chimp-on-a-typewriter professional (and personal) jealousy.

    Fact Four: The reason people at your “job” find you annoying and don’t respect you is because you are a man of low intelligence and education who does menial work correcting the typos of people with medical degrees. No wonder you feel so inferior about some silly website comments. Have fun with that.

    Fact Five: For a man who is so dedicated to personal insults and attacks, you are really bad at it. Monty Python? Even your jokes are lame, old man. Give it up. No wonder you’re bitter and alone. You should call up Cosby.

    Yes, I’m a narcissist. I start almost every sentence with “I.” I’m glad you find me overbearing and pretentious. I’m sorry my multi-syllabic words make your old bald head hurt. Don’t comment again unless you have something worth saying, because it’s apparent to everyone how much you idolize me by now.
    Just admit your obsession — everyone else has.

    I’m going to use a word that your girlfriend has borrowed from me (even she admits the influence by now) and suggest you stop projecting. Take a writing class, improve yourself, get a real job. You’re a redneck hick. Don’t think that your mock agreement with the positions of actual progressives makes anyone forget that you’re backwoods trash.

    I honestly don’t know why you people insist on distracting from the real substance of this discussion with your petty anger and personal issues. Shut up with your nonsense already.

    That is all.

  • Shark

    Physics Conumdrum:

    Immovable Psychotic Loser meets Irresistable Pedantic Blowhard.

  • Chris Kent

    BABs,

    Are insults about age, background, jobs, girlfriends and douches the best you can do?….

    My, my, you’re much younger than I initially thought, thus your comments lack even more validity.

    It appears to be very easy to break your thin skin…….I didn’t mean to tilt your glasses, though I am certain I am not the first to do so……:)

    Have you even written a blog?

  • Chris Kent

    Shark,

    “Blowhard” is definitely the word here…..:)

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Sharky: You’re pretty irresistible yourself, there, pooky … except when you call me “pedantic.” I only call people out on their grammar and use of language when they bring it up first.

    Chris: don’t forget writing, intelligence and education. “age, background, jobs, girlfriends and douches…….” I think that basically makes up the substance of one’s life (or lack thereof), don’t you think, Pops? Add another ellipsis followed by a smiley face, why don’t you?

    No blog for me. Sorry, I know you’re a big fan. I’ll let you know. I don’t wear glasses, but can I borrow yours so I can see the world as dimly as you do?

    That is all.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Sharky: You’re pretty irresistible yourself, there, pooky … except when you call me “pedantic.” I only call people out on their grammar and use of language when they bring it up first.

    Chris: don’t forget writing, intelligence and education. “age, background, jobs, girlfriends and douches…….” I think that basically makes up the substance of one’s life (or lack thereof), don’t you think, Pops? Add another ellipsis followed by a smiley face, why don’t you?

    No blog for me. Sorry, I know you’re a big fan. I’ll let you know. I don’t wear glasses, but can I borrow yours so I can see the world as dimly as you do?

    That is all.

  • Chris Kent

    BABs,

    You write like a terrified child. Let’s see you put your money where your blowhole is. It’s easy to comment on other blogs and insult. But let’s see you actually write something without endless rambling and insults. Let’s see you write something with a point and actually make sense. Let’s see you put your money where your mouth is……:)

    You comment on my life without really knowing it. You comment on my job without having a clue. Your insults may sound funny. But it’s abundantly clear to me that you will never write a blog in here for a simple reason.

    It’s easier to insult others rather than actually put something up for comment. Besides, with your writing style, your blog would probably serve as a cure for insomnia. MD posts good stuff. I haven’t seen you post a thing…..:)

  • Chris Kent

    “Immovable Psychotic Loser”

    That’s a pretty hateful thing to say Shark and it offends me. Been called lots of things in my life, never a psychotic loser or redneck hick….lol

  • Anonymous

    Well, I may not be able to discern when there are two threads, because I don’t visit this Web site daily, but I can do research. And the only people who ever called me a banana were Japanese American people from Los Angeles because being from San Diego, I wasn’t like them dearest BAB. Of course, unlike most of them, I am fluent in Japanese, lived in Japan and also speak some Chinese and know a lot more about Japan and Japanese culture. So who’s the real banana? It’s all a matter of perception and, in their case, an attempt to decide who is more Japanese.

    But, here are the words that would seem to be a call for change. I called them inspirational catalysts.

    Yes, indeed. Not just anywhere on the Net, but in more than one place but I’m sure if you really wanted to find them, you would have found them.

    From Cosby’s speech as reported on StrangeCosmos.com:

    “I wasn’t there when God was saying it, I am making this up, but it sounds like what God would say. In all of this work we can not blame white people. White people don’t live over there; they close up the shop early. The Korean ones don’t know us well enough, so they stay open 24 hours.”

    On sports heroes: “Basketball players — multimillionaires — can’t write a paragraph. Football players — multimillionaires — can’t read. Yes, multimillionaires. Well, Brown versus Board of Education: Where are we today? They paved the way, but what did we do with it? That white man, he’s laughing. He’s got to be laughing: 50 percent drop out, the rest of them are in prison.”

    Also from StrangeCosmos and Milwaukee Journal:

    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Eugene Kane wrote a column noting that like Cosby, he was born in North Philadelphia and attended Temple University.

    “Given his record as a philanthropist who had donated millions to black colleges and black causes in general, Cosby has certainly earned the right to speak his mind.” He continued, “Still, there’s a sense of uneasiness whenever somebody like Cosby uses the same language some whites use to justify their racism….Particularly, the idea that poor blacks and their children weigh down the rest of society, or that every black person behind bars deserves to be incarcerated. Sure, some blacks may fit that description, not all. Some white people, too.”

    Kane wrote, “He’s not a poor Black mother raising children in the inner city, so he has no idea how difficult that is in 2004 America. And if the TV star really wants to pass moral judgments on poor black women, ahem, Mr. Cosby, there is a little matter of you having an out-of-wedlock child yourself.”

    After reading the column, Cosby telephoned Kane. The columnist said that in an hour-long discussion, Cosby explained that he did not intend to smear all poor Blacks.

    “I didn’t say all black people from the lower classes were to blame,” Kane said Cosby told him. “But I said that when you have a 50 percent graduation rate, and some people can’t put two sentences together, and can’t write or spell…you’ve got people who have put themselves on a track to failure.”

    As for Autumn Jackson, who claims to be Cosby’s out-of-wedlock daughter, the comedian told Kane that she has repeatedly refused his offer to take a paternity test.

    In the interview with Kane, Cosby deplored the glorification of a pimp mentality, placing more emphasis on athletics than academics and celebrating rap videos on BET.

    “I am talking about parenting. It is time for us to turn the mirror around. We have to take back the neighborhood.”

    And he reiterated his comment about the misuse of the English language.

    “We can’t excuse these people,” Cosby said. “There are generations who have been born here and their English is worse than Koreans who have just been here a few years.”

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    The commenter at 41 did not use a name, but I want to thank him or her for the contribution anyway.

    On the banana/apple/Oreo tip, there are people of color who want to be white and hate themselves for not achieving that. I don’t believe they should be taunted. But, the problem is a real one. Incidentally, Debra Dickerson, the writer I refer to above, had a self-hatred problem she had to overcome. In fact, she used to hold nearly all other African-Americans in contempt.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Lucianne.com removed this thread about Eugene Kane’s column on Cosby from the site. But, the Google cache copy is still available. Anyone who doubts that Cosby played right into the hands of bigots should take a look.

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    What everyone seems to have missed in all of this, because everyone wants to jump on either the pro-Cosby or anti-Cosby bandwagons without bothering to think much about this, is that Cosby is arguing for priorities. He’s saying, don’t buy those $500 shoes when you need it for actual necessities. Priorities, people, that is all. People are far too concerned about luxury and appearances and too unconcerned about education and furthering yourself. He’s saying, “Quit worrying how you appear and focus on doing what will get you ahead and stable in life.” He’s saying – and has been saying – “When you have the chance, why aren’t you taking it?” Why is this so bad?

  • http://murasaki.blog-city.com Purple Tiger

    That was me, but somehow the post didn’t work right since I always start from the top and go down when I fill in the blanks.

    Yes there are people who want to be white and are wrapped up in self-hate. However, there are those people who use the insinuation of race betrayal to keep or attempt to keep their own people in check.

    I think Cosby was giving a coach-like what the hell’s wrong with you guys type of speech.

    Cosby has always emphasized education. And that should be a priority for all races and genders.

    As for playing into the hands of bigots. Look at how differently the Bible has been interpreted to suit people who are prejudiced.

  • Chris Kent

    A good point Tom and am happy to see someone taking the high ground, which I most certainly did not. I simply wanted to challenge BABs relfection in the mirror. Like a puppet, he resorted to lowbrow fairly quickly.

    Frankly, it disgusts me that someone of Shark’s intelligence would ever champion such an obvious, to use his words, “blowhard.” Write us a blog BABs, and then come in here and display your flatulence all you wish……..You’re stinking up the room with your insults……:)

    And I would like to add, I would enjoy seeing a post by BABs, no matter how much his insults revealed…..

  • boomcrashbaby

    What everyone seems to have missed in all of this, …without bothering to think much about this, is that Cosby is arguing for priorities

    *scratching my head and wondering if my posts are visible to anybody else*

    Actually, I have been talking consistently on both Cosby threads about achievement, motivation and personal responsibility….ie. priorities.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Purple Tigress: good job on the research. That adds some context to his comments and I’m glad that he addressed the controversy himself.

    I read his later comments as indicating maybe he misspoke at what I reacted to most strongly, the blaming of the “low-class” blacks he associates with those stereotypes. I agree with Kane’s take on the issue, obviously, but I think there’s some value in what Cosby says about white racists (like some of the sentiments expressed in this thread) delighting at black poverty. The problem is that many of those same white racists are likely to embrace Cosby’s comments as yet another reason to deny opportunities to minorities.

    I have no idea what he implies by the Korean shop comment, for either Koreans or black folks. I read it as him saying that “they don’t know better because we’re dangerous” or something like that. However you read it, it’s a bizarre statement even if he is propping up Koreans as a model minority. The comments on “what God would say” are equally bizarre and incomprehensible to me.

    Why couldn’t Cosby just talk about the folly of black-on-black violence and encourage higher achievement without these broad, sweeping, dismissive stereotypes? Of course it’s silly for minorities to be so consumed by resentment and frustration that they’re paralyzed. But it’s also silly to absolve society of responsibility for the fact that black folks are continually blamed themselves for hateful injustices done to them. There are proud elements to what Cosby says, particularly the challenge to shove achievement back in the face of racists who create obstacles, but he should also recognize that ignoring those barriers makes those admirable victories few and far between.

    Tom: do you really think that inane comment cut right to the heart of this issue? I’m glad you want to be the “voice of moderation,” but your comment is silly. The problem with your statement about priorities (and Cosby’s) is the assumption that black folks, as part of their culture, have worse priorities than anyone else would. That they’re so taken in by flashy sneakers and jive talk that it’s their fault they aren’t getting good educations. I don’t know where there is any evidence that parents are choosing sneakers over textbooks and school supplies. To think otherwise is your own constructed racial imaginary.

    Chris: I don’t know how to start a blog. I don’t have the time for it or the interest in sharing research with an audience that consists of readers I’m not certain I need (yours truly included). My comments on some of these issues are far more detailed and “going out on a limb” than the posts themselves — I’ll think you’ll find that true for almost every topic I’ve commented upon. Most of the blogs ON this site play it far too safe and don’t reveal anything about the issue in play. Besides, I don’t really need to blog on my own when your “simple” heroes like MacDiva are now recycling my arguments and language in their own bastardized way. Also, I’ve never seen an interesting or controversial blog you’ve made on here yet, if I’ve seen one at all. I’ve only seen an envious sycophant with nothing original to say. If I were to write something for your “psychotic loser” eyes, we can already predict the response. Let’s save the time of this boring little dance. You will make some tired remark about its length and say that you don’t follow the point, which isn’t surprising given your utter lack of reading comprehension. Then when MacDiva makes the same point with less verbal facility, you’ll kiss her butt some more because she’s your “internet friend” and you want so badly for me to be your “internet enemy.” Grow up, old man. You can’t keep this up. Go stalk someone else, half-wit.

    That is all.

  • Chris Kent

    Your still missing the point BABs (which doesn’t surprise me), but as usual you still don’t get it. I have yet to see you add a single thing of significance to this site. It’s easy to insult and we all can do it. Write a post stating your beliefs. Tis’ not that hard for someone of your “intelligence.” You’re only on here for personal vendettas against specific persons. You truly wish to contribute, write a blog as others do, rather than sit in the audience and make fun of the musicians…..You’re lame. Give it up and admit it.

    Otherwise, put your money where yur mouth is. Write something of true value…..I’m waiting……:)

    New excuses?

  • Chris Kent

    I’ll help you out BABs, because I know you need it….

    Contact the people who run this site….I’m sure they would appreciate your contributions….

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Chris,

    This exchange is pointless and I doubt I’ll have much to say to you after this. You are completely projecting everything you say now and recycling my criticism of you 100% verbatim. Everyone sees that. I’ve stated more beliefs in my short time on this site that have made people think or even become upset than I’m sure you have in your years of being a nobody nuisance. Since when have I ever held back a belief? Most of the other random stalkers who discuss me would argue my problem is the opposite. Too opinionated I might agree with.

    Listen, dummy. You criticize me for having VOLUMES to say on this issue of race, yet you’ve said NOTHING yourself. You have no beliefs on an issue like race, old man? Try discussing the issue rather than me or MacDiva or some other ad hominem remark for ONE comment. I think we’d all enjoy that, right?

    Somehow I’m sure your next comment will be desperately seeking my attention once again.

    “And I would like to add, I would enjoy seeing a post by BABs, no matter how much his insults revealed…..”

    Have some maturity, old man. You’re no challenge at all. I’m still going to be looking in the mirror at my beautiful self (whatever that silly analogy of yours means) and stating ACTUAL views that people can argue with. Have fun being useless. It’s not about me taking a high ground, it’s about you being a desperately needy little worm. Stop trying so hard, weirdo.

    That is all.

  • Chris Kent

    BABs,

    I’m not backing down to your bullshit…..and that is what you are…..use all the insults you wish, and I think you will see I have used none….One entire post of yours was devoted to insulting me….no messages or points at all…call me “dummy,” “weirdo” and “useless” all you wish. And your stance that everyone is “copying” you is further proof of your insecure narcissism. How many times have you written that?!…lol….You are so obvious as to be boring. I am not backing down to your pretentious bullshit. You have something to say, post a blog rather than insult everyone in here with lowbrow, ill-advised, unsubstantiated comments……If you are truly intelligent as you claim, then say something of significance rather than resorting to cliched, lowbrow insults……You are hollow, and without a clue…..

  • Shark

    CHRIS: “…it disgusts me that someone of Shark’s intelligence would ever champion such an obvious…”blowhard.”

    BOOEY: “…If I were to write something for your “psychotic loser” eyes, we can already predict the response.”

    Hey hey hey kids!

    While I appreciate being able to contribute to the current vernacular, I never indicated who was what; that’s why it’s called ‘poetry’.

    But if the psychotic/blowhard shoe fits, then by all means, strap it on and continue tap dancing.

    PS: Anyone who has spent at least a day or two on BC KNOWS who I meant with the “psychotic”– and as Booey has discovered, *she even took to calling me by that term.

    *Unoriginal — even in name-calling.

    PPS: Booey, ask the class how they feel about “cultural appropriation” in fiction.

    ~NOOOOOooooo!

  • Chris Kent

    lol…Shark, Shark, Shark….

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Guys! Guys! Guys! Stop it!

    Purple, I think you don’t want to see someone you admire lambasted. I understand that. Perhaps Cosby will recover from the harm he has done himself in time.

    Tom, you are just plain refusing to acknowledge the difference between your thoughts about the poor minority population and Cosby’s. Yours are much kinder than the ones he has been expressing. Apparently, Cosby has been going around dissin’ other African-Americans for a while and the speech is a culmination. He reminds me of the late black journalist George Schuyler. Schuyler lived under segregation and suffered all kinds of slights from white people. But, his hatred was reserved for other African-Americans. Cosby is slipping in that direction.

  • http://www.gwbush.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    “I think RJ Elliot’s example of Charles is simplistic and naive. I have worked at a place where women regularly faced sexual harassment (100 percent) and racist remarks were made against black people. I’d say at that company, not unlike the company I worked at before, progress and promotion for blacks and women was very limited. So let’s not deny that problems do exist.”

    First of all, I am not denying that problems exist. They DO exist. But they are hardly insurmountable.

    Second, if the place you worked at before was such a bigoted and sexist place, you could have contacted the EEOC, hired a lawyer, or simply changed jobs. Again, the world ain’t perfect, but using a few bad experiences as an excuse to fail is a poor choice. That is what Cosby was saying. And he was 100% correct, IMO.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Oh, HE was the pedantic blowhard?

    I assumed you’d need to know something about grammar and language in order to be pedantic. But I guess he tries hard enough to sound like a critic.

    Cosby’s increasing irrelevance to the larger culture has nothing to do with his racial politics.

    That is all.

  • http://murasaki.blog-city.com Purple Tigress

    Oh, as for leaving a job due to racism and sexual harassment…most people find another job and complain on the exit interview. Some of us try it the hard way (complain to the HR person) and find it hard to find another job since you get labeled a troublemaker. Better yet, stand up for someone else of a different race and see what happens.

    Taking the leap out of a bad job isn’t something most people are willing to do. Being a whistle-blower means you have no friends at work and, most likely, no future in that industry.

    I think there are fewer bad jobs in 2004 due to racism and sexism, but that is relative to the number there were pre-1950s. Anyone who’s been refused housing or service because of race in America knows it’s more than a few bad work places, even if you’re part of a model minority in California. How much worse for African Americans and Latinos?

    Because of these things, it is easy to be bitter. It is easy to give up.

    Despite all this, how can one be bitter? Our grandparents lived through worse, and our parents lived through worse and what we live through may be bad, but if we get an education and don’t give up, we can make it better for the next generation.

  • Shark

    Dear Booey,

    In your frequent references to the importance of grammar, should one assume that you agree with Cosby here:

    COS: “…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.”

    And IF you agree with Cosby on this point, would you consider a critique aimed at blacks re. grammar to be “racist”, “aiding the enemy”, etc?

    And if so — and given such an environment — is it possible for any black person to make a ‘legitimate’ cultural critque without being labeled some sort of marginalized racial turncoat?

    Thanks in advance,
    Shark

    PS: I’d also like to make the point that one can replace “grammar” and “blacks” with almost any criticism and the name of any delicate, self-defined ‘group’. (Everyone wants to avoid “aiding the enemy”, but how many will compromise their honesty and integrity in the process?)

  • Shark

    I’ll add that not only do I NOT give a flying fuck what MacD thinks about any of this, but I doubt that she even understands my question.

    (picture large ellipsis + smiley face here)

  • http://animeg.blogspot.com Shannon

    The problem with Cosby’s comments is that he didn’t see how desperate white america is to not deal with racism. They’ll believe anything if it doesn’t mean working to change anything. They won’t hold up their end. I think a lot of the black stereotyping is projection- they call blacks lazy as they, themselves, are lazy.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Purple, the knowledge that people of color experienced much worse treatment and kept their dignity is what keeps me going.

    Yet, we have to be vigilant. One of the persons mentioned as an example in my entry says he is in contact with a child. I will wager that said child already believes there is something wrong with dark-skinned people thanks to coaching. That is how a next generation of bigots is groomed. Those people will do their damnedest to perpetuate an unjust society forever. We have to oppose them.

  • Shark

    MD: “…One of the persons mentioned as an example in my entry [Shark] says he is in contact with a child. I will wager that said child already believes there is something wrong with dark-skinned people thanks to coaching.”

    You’d lose that wager.

    I’m raising my grandson to be fair, kind, loving, and compassionate toward all humans — regardless of color or economic status.

    He’s been exposed to more cultural diversity at 3-1/2 than most people are in a lifetime — all thanks to me, btw.

    (I’ve also taught him to cheer for the Indians when he watches a western, and his current hero is Robin Hood, since he steals from the rich and gives to the poor. And next year, he’s joining a mostly African-American drumming group.)

    Abut once again, don’t let the facts get in the way of your sick, twisted, bitter personal vendetta.

    Oh, and um… MacDiva —

    You’re.

    Single.

    Right?

    heh.

  • boomcrashbaby

    One of the persons mentioned as an example in my entry says he is in contact with a child. I will wager that said child already believes there is something wrong with dark-skinned people thanks to coaching.

    I’m the one mentioned in the entry, and I’m the one in contact with a child.

    I am a gay white man. A minority who faces not only discrimination on an individual level, face-to-face, but from my own government, damn Mac Diva, churchs are refusing to give communion and save the souls of their own parishoners should those parishoners see me as an equal. Can you say the same?

    My husband is Cherokee. My biological daughter is half-Hispanic. Our best friend is a gay black minister. You can’t get much more melting pot than in this household.

    I did not revive any myth of 500 dollar sneakers. I commented on Cosby’s speaking of it, and went with that. If it’s a myth, or more likely an analogy or metaphor, then I apologize to anybody who got offended. Cosby’s talking about priorities and personal responsibility. My intent was to go along with that, rather than zero in on the actual number of sneakers sold.

  • Shark

    PS: the head instructor played percussion in all four musicals I wrote for an African-American theatre ensemble.

  • boomcrashbaby

    oh. hehe. you meant shark. Whew. Um. Nevermind.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Sharky poo:

    What’s a legitimate cultural critique to you?

    I point out the importance of grammar when white conservative folks argue about grammar and don’t seem to employ it in their own writing. There’s nothing worse than a hypocrite.

    For what it’s worth, linguists who have studied Ebonics, any form of creole, or other dialects with origins in the African diaspora have found a consistent pattern of syntax and usage that is on par with English or any other language. It seems odd to people who aren’t familiar with the dialect because it mixes English with other formulations (particularly the types of verb and pronoun usage), but smarter people than I have traced these formulations back to the grammatical structure of African languages and other languages that have influenced modern African-American speech.

    Dialect isn’t just about race, either: linguists have also observed distinctly different speech patterns and dialects among whites in Louisiana (French-Cajun
    culture is a whole different world) and even in rural areas like the Appalachians in West Virginia. People learn certain speech patterns in order to negotiate their surroundings and those patterns adhere over time. This was also the criticism of the Irish by Brits for years and years, that their mix of Gaelic words and structure into the Queen’s English revealed their biological and cultural inferiority.

    Language history also revolts against the notion of a “pure,” standard language. Our modern American vernacular and English usage ITSELF contains countless words of varying origin, including African words. There are whole lists of these on the Net — maybe one of our dedicated friends with more time on their hands can find examples. There are hundreds of words with African etymologies that you use daily, along with words that come from French, Native American, Spanish, and various other language roots that reflect America’s multi-lingual history.

    I do think, in terms of group self-criticism, that accusing people of “not speaking English” is one of the oldest and cheapest tactics available to criticize a lack of socialization to the mainstream. While it’s important to be able to speak proper English, I believe (as I stated before) that with a few extreme exceptions, urban blacks who use ebonics can also shift into proper English as their varying social roles demand. It’s a mistake to think people are incapable or unwilling to speak “proper English.” It’s silly to treat it as if young urban black kids are speaking an alien language that is incomprehensible — you just don’t like the sound of it, which is fine. But you’d be able to communicate. Language changes, it evolves. But not so rapidly that it creates absolute differences between people of the same culture.

    Keep in mind too that a lot of ebonics is about signifying for one’s most immediate peer group. Lots of groups signify: black folks when they’re together aren’t much different than gay folks like BoomCrash who have their own in-group expressions and habits that the “mainstream” might not understand. Hell, redneck white guys like Chris Kent probably drop a lot of phrases (we can only guess which) and odd choices of language when they’re around each other. Anyone who receives a good enough education in this country isn’t LIMITED by this signifying speech: they KNOW how to talk in the boardroom or the classroom or the hospital through their studies.

    So the point isn’t that we should judge people by their language choices. The point is that we should encourage and provide structural resources for education so kids can successfully negotiate the more important languages (math, science, technical language like medicine) necessary to succeed and prosper.

    That is all.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    To put it simply: it isn’t about denying people their culture or asking them to sacrifice their identity, it’s about providing them with the resources to overcome stereotypes through achievement.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    I’ll break it down even further for people like Chris Kent:

    Addition, not subtraction. Language usage isn’t zero-sum and to assume otherwise (that just because someone speaks Ebonics in a certain context, they’re a “thug” who can’t “speak English” in other contexts) says more about the person judging than the person judged.

    That is all.

  • Shark

    Booey-poo, semi-fair answers, but you could have skipped the Etymology 101, but I’m sure the rest of the class feels like they learned something new. (?)

    And I’m not sure your para.2 re. ‘pointing out hypocrisy to the white grammarians’ answers my question.

    But your wrap-up: “…So the point isn’t that we should judge people by their language choices…” apparently tries to, although it dodges the question entirely.

    “Judging” is a loaded word there.

    Cosby: “…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.”

    Aside from the “knucklehead”, Cosby is pointing out what he believes to be a social reality: that one’s use of language can often be a hindrance in social, economic, and educational situations.

    IN GENERAL, DO YOU DISAGREE WITH THAT?

    Lessee:

    Booey: “…in terms of group self-criticism, …accusing people of “not speaking English” is one of the oldest and cheapest tactics available to criticize a lack of socialization to the mainstream.”

    Once again, a straw man pops up: “accusing” is a pretty loaded word there, doodles.

    But aside from that, the question becomes: Does the inability to operate within ‘standard’ patterns of the dominant local language indicate a lack of “socialization to the mainstream”.

    ie. It could be argued that not speaking French in France would sorta limits one’s social and economic possibilities.

    Ya gotta prob wi’dat?

    And before I shuffle off:

    Is “English” considered a “white” language among non-whites?

    Or is there a “white” dialect of English which is the de facto language of choice in American business, education, and ‘most’ socio-political transactions?

    *Shark’s Hint: If so, some ‘racists’ are gonna fuck themselves, and they ain’t gonna be white, if ya know what I mean.

    PS: You asked me:

    “What’s a legitimate cultural critique to you?”

    Since I don’t really have a dog in this fight, and more importantly, I’m not black, I think the blacks (and/or minorities) in the class should answer that one. After what we’ve been through here, those answers could be the most profound we’ll get out of all this.

  • http://www.resonation.ca Jim Carruthers

    Wow, and here I thought the plate room at the old Sun studios had the best slap-back echo.

    I was wrong. This thread does.

  • http://www.resonation.ca Jim Carruthers

    Of course, what is really needed are strong, positive, pro-active role models for so-called “African-Americans” (which is it? Are you Africans or USAians? Because the Americas belong to a whole bunch more people than you self-obsessed nitwits – chinga tu putre madre and all that).

    So rally round your idols: “As far as I am concerned, they [Bryant and Michael Jackson] are innocent until proven guilty,

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Sharky poo:

    No, I don’t agree with Cosby that “everyone but these knuckleheads knows the value of English,” because I don’t agree there is a fundamental inability to SPEAK English (to answer the second part of your question). I don’t think that a black kid choosing to drop some Ebonics with his friends indicates that he’s not properly socialized to the mainstream. I think languages are a part of the doubling of roles minorities experience, as Purple Tigress kind of talked about with Asian immigrants. Minorities slip in and out of those roles and speech patterns as the situation warrants and to think they have an “inability” flies in the face of all we know about language acquisition and usage. It’s probably more an assumption about intelligence and education on the part of the observer.

    It isn’t a hindrance unless you assume that people are uneducable and can’t shift from one form of speech to another as the situation warrants. I don’t think that is the case for most black youth, and if it is, it speaks to a failure in school systems and our commitment to education more than anything.

    Perhaps I didn’t understand your initial question.

    “Is “English” considered a “white” language among non-whites? Or is there a “white” dialect of English which is the de facto language of choice in American business, education, and ‘most’ socio-political transactions?”

    The second part of that is more accurate. I don’t know where I follow your hint, though. I don’t think I know what you mean for once. All dialects of English are still English. That part of your question is loaded, I think. They understand you, you understand them. I don’t know why people ascribe such difference to race and language. I also think your association of the “de facto” dialect with white society is somewhat loaded as well — anyone who’s traveled in the South or New England or the Appalachians knows there is no ONE “white” dialect. It’s better to say that in academe and business, we try to limit our regional flavor and variations in the speech we use, i.e., it’s technical language not specific to ANY culture, white, black or hillbilly.

    I have more to say on cultural critique. While I think self-critique is important in any community to establishing notions of identity, it shouldn’t become an excuse to forget the larger, more compelling critique of societal racism that black intellectuals have advanced in this country. And self-critique within minority communities should not become fodder for white conservatives who are looking to have their stereotypes confirmed without actual, experiential knowledge of how minorities live and talk.

    That is all.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    I like all the italics. What’s up with that?

    Oh, and I don’t think the etymology discussion is obvious at all. We forget that AMERICAN English is a dialect in and of itself with numerous variations within that branch. Our language is in many ways very much a melting pot of cultures, so much so that we use very different words than the Brits would use. It’s important to remember how many African words we use in daily speech before we get into this nonsense about how whites speak “English” and black supposedly don’t.

    To assume a dialogue about race is a dog fight only makes discussions of race more closed-minded and oppositional than they already are. White folks feel defensive and hostile, black folks feel stereotyped and excluded. If people were really open to dialogue and listened to critiques without investing themselves in some pre-determined conception, maybe people would realize how much of race is socially constructed and not based in any reality, e.g., the “sneakers” anecdote. Talk about a strawman. That’s why psychological research shows that the only real way to have interpersonal progress on issues of racism is for people of different colors to get to know each other face-to-face, like BoomCrash has done with his minister and husband. It may not solve all the racist attitudes of the world, but it’s sure a lot better than arguing from the shadows with people you hate and fear from afar.

    “Ya gotta prob wi’dat?”

    You really feel good about this sentence, Sharky poo? Brevity, remember? And I’m not black, but thanks for trying to relate, I guess. You’ll make a lot of friends with blacks that way at your age, Sharky poo.

    Jim Carruthers: shut your fat, racist face.

    That is all.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Tried to turn the italics off.

    Beats me why Steve (Boom) is always thinking I am alluding to him when I am not.

    I don’t want to give a too negative appraisal of the future of race relations. Yes, there are White Citizens Council types passing on racism to children. (Drumming lessons? How stereotypical can one get? Has the child also been taught to say ‘spear chucker’?) But, we are also have people like Dirtgrain. He is a public school teacher who understands the burdens poor and minority families must carry. And, I do mean ‘must.’ Like Purple explained, there is no excusing oneself from experiences with racism if one is identifiably nonwhite. So, the picture is a mixed one. Hopefully, the Dirtgrains will negate the damage done by the WCC types.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    This is my last comment of the day before I head out:

    I’m glad you guys are making much-needed internet friends, I’m not sure why you think Purple Tigress is on the right side of this issue. As I’ve read every single one of her comments, they’re an apologia for racism and racists and she’s never once said anyone needs to take responsibility for racism. Her last post, in fact, said people should ENDURE it for future generations and not rock the boat.

    Nice job on the research earlier, Purple, but get some guts before you get into your rambling discussions about being defined as a “sell-out.” Your principles and politics don’t seem to jive with your experiences of being discriminated against. Self-hatred isn’t inspiring. If you’ve faced racism, how on earth can you accuse minorities who believe in change of “bitterness” and question your own in-group identity?

    That is all.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Still Italic City above. Giving it another shot.

    I forgot to say I agree with Shannon’s remarks in Comment 61.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Bob, I actually read one of your comments. I am able to agree with Purple because her observations about how racism works are accurate. Purple and I do not agree about Cosby’s behavior being acceptable. However, people can agree about one aspect of something and disagree about another. I am glad we were able to do so without rancor.

  • http://www.resonation.ca Jim Carruthers

    Glad to know USAians are still as xenophobic and hate-filled as ever, singing endless chorus after bloody chorus of “We Are The World”.

    Your narcissism manifests itself like bad breath, I point out you have it, and all of a sudden _I’m_ the asshole? I don’t think so, Bobby Badbreath.

    This whole “hyphenated-murrican” business is just a shell game to keep the arseholes amongst you diverted. And gives excuse for the rest of the population of ‘murrica, which seems to be 100 per cent arsehole to run amok. Well. waddle amok, more like it.

  • boomcrashbaby

    Sorry MacDiva, the first time you mentioned someone talking about the sneakers. Thought that was me cuz I talked about them extensively.

    Then I missed Sharks post about his grandson, so I thought the poster ‘with child’ was me too.

    Bob, I agree with what you are talking about. But one thing you mention is that people who speak in Ebonics or speak thug-like, can also speak English when they choose to. And that we shouldn’t assume they always speak in the dialect. While I agree with that, I also saw Cosby say that ‘when I spoke to the parents, they talked the same’, meaning he WASN’T referring to those who choose to go back and forth, right? He was referring to those that have not learned proper English, because they didn’t grow up in a household that spoke it. That’s my interpretation.

  • Shark

    Booey, I probably agree with the majority of what you say. Having said that…

    Shark’s Hint for parsing his earlier hint: “…Minorities slip in and out of those roles and speech patterns as the situation warrants and to think they have an “inability” flies in the face of all we know about language acquisition and usage. It’s probably more an assumption about intelligence and education on the part of the observer.”

    Okay. It probably is.

    If it’s a false assumption, does that mean it’s not operative? If it’s racist, discriminatory, etc, does that lessen the effect?

    ie, regardless of what the assumption “is about” — those perceptions exist and ‘can’ put the inarticulate, grammatically incorrect speaker at an automatic disadvantage in a lot of cases, especially relative to hiring, job advancement, education…

    And if that’s the case, does it behoove ‘the speaker’ to try to reduce ‘disadvantages’ (no matter their cause or underlying assumptions)?

    re: a dog in this fight – I wouldn’t be so presumptious as to jump into the middle of a dispute between black critics of black culture and their opponents.

    But I do think the dilemma of ‘internal cultural critiques’ will always handicap a ‘minority’. One has to have honesty and integrity when assessing the self — regardless of whether or not “the enemy” finds new ammo in the process.

    Plus: I like to watch.

    Too tired for more.

    xxoo
    Shark

  • Shark

    PS:

    “You really feel good about this sentence, Sharky poo? …And I’m not black, but thanks for trying to relate, I guess. You’ll make a lot of friends with blacks that way at your age, Sharky poo.”

    Tell ya what, Booey-poo; I’ll make a deal with you: I’ll dispense with slipping into ironic use of ebonics if you’ll dispense with the MacDiva style racist name-calling shit — and calling me “sharky-poo” in order to demean my points.

    (You are a tad less explicit than she is. but giving pedantic slaps re. one’s ability to make friends with blacks tends to shut down the ol’ thread — a technique MD has perfected.)

    And what the fuck is it with this “AGE” shit with you people? You all sound like a bunch of snotty grad students who just learned they have a brain and want to take it out and play with it in public.

    I have bunions and philosophical treatises older than you punks.

    (picture yellow-toothed smiley face here)

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    BoomCrash: that’s a good reading of Cosby’s comments. I think that’s a false assumption on his part, though. And it’s still anecdotal evidence. I’m sure those very same parents choose less colorful speech in their workplace, as we all do.

    Shark: I think people do regulate their behavior because they know of operant prejudices. I’m not sure that’s a fair burden for minorities to have to bear, but they do it. That doesn’t justify the false assumptions made about behavior and character on the basis of race, though. Those still need to be dismantled because the dilemma of race is that people who aren’t familiar with how minorities live assume those things ANYWAY regardless of whether minorities provide any confirming evidence through their behavior. And stories like the ones Cosby is recycling certainly don’t help in bridging that gap between reality and image.

    Perhaps the most insidious assumption implied in some of these racial discussions is that certain people CAN’T negotiate their behavior and surroundings and are thus “unemployable” or “uneducable.” Then we really need to think about our old ideas of biological, cultural and intellectual inferiority and where they manifest in our current “theories” about race and poverty. These aren’t scientific theories or even legitimate social observations, people. They’re anecdotal stereotypes that create even further social distance between well-meaning people.

    I kid because I care, Sharky poo. Thanks for bringing up the discussion about internal critiques — I think there’s a lot to be said about that topic but I don’t think anyone is following yet.

    That is all.

  • Mike Kole

    “A Libertarian who says Rosa Parks may deserve to be beaten for her role in the civil rights movement has also contributed to the discussion”.

    The Libertarian who believes this is the exception rather than the rule.

    Interestingly, the sort of writers who would make this kind of illustration tend to be of the opinion that those Libertarians who engage in their own civil disobediences- tax avoidance, failure to secure a driver’s license, etc- are somehow kooks.

  • Dan

    “The Libertarian who believes this is the exception rather than the rule.”

    There is no Libertarian who believes this Mike. She’s lying. Ask for a link. It seems angry black chicks have lower standards of civility and truthfullness applied to them here at B.C. Just as they “may” have in society in general.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Mike- First pointer for newbies to Blogcritics: You can’t believe anything written by Mac Diva. Some people will twist what you say a bit, spin it different ways. There’s perhaps room for argument much of the time.

    MD, on the other hand, simply makes stuff up wholecloth. She has a long history at Blogcritics of as much as making up evil, malicious quotes out of the air, putting quote marks around them, and attaching other people’s names. She’s done this to me on several occassions, but I’m far from the only one.

    Not that there aren’t a few conservative or libertarian kooks in the world, but the nutsy stuff on this site is not coming from the right wing.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Mike, that would be Dan Precht. You can read his remarks for yourself on the thread Al Barger posted attacking Rosa Parks. Precht has also said:

    *Black people with middle-class jobs have them because of affirmative action, not ability.

    *The civil rights movement was unnecessary. People of color should have moved en masse to the North rather than interfering with Southern customs if they did not like segregation.

    *Black people commit most crimes.

    *A nonwhite majority in the country (based on population projections) is something to be lamented.

    These are good paraphrases. If you want to see his actual words, you can read the threads.

    As you may know, Precht has also run for office as a Libertarian candidate.

    However, Al Barger’s affection for neo-Confederate and ‘scientific’ racist viewpoints is even more explicit. Here are a couple of entries in which I’ve corrected Barger’s errors about the Civil War.

    Part One. “Blogosphere hosts new attack on Lincoln.”

    Part Two: “Blogger denies slavery cause of Civil War.”

    Any quoted material will have been taken directly from Barger’s blog as it appeared at the time. (And, will have been saved to my files and the caches at Google, so that efforts to alter said material will be futile).

    By the way, do you know who David Yeagley is?

  • Mike Kole

    MD- I’ve only ever known Al to be the opposite of a racist. Sure, he doesn’t hesitate to illustrate what he sees as hypocrisy in black leadership, and I recognize that his irreverant language often puts him in line to have it all construed as de facto racism. Alas, it isn’t that.

    I’ve checked out Yeagley’s BadEagle site. What is it I should be looking for?

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Oh, are you another David Yeagley, fan, Mike? There are several of them at Blogcritics.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    I’m surprised to see you comment, Mr. Mike Kole. I’d expect you’d be far too busy drawing a percentage of a percentage toward Ayn Rand. I mean, shouldn’t you have elections not to win? And what about your regular Dungeons and Dragons games to play with Al? You’ll always be king of the elves.

    Who the hell is David Yeagley and who cares?

    That is all.

  • boomcrashbaby

    I love Any Rands views on religion. I agree with her somewhat on capitalism too, but she seemed okay with it running amok, which I’m not so fond of.

    And I played Dungeons and Dragons in junior high. I personally slew the King of Elves and enslaved his people. What can I say? They’re so damn androgonous.

  • boomcrashbaby

    Any=Ayn.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    You’re an atheist who worships Mammon, Boomcrash?

  • boomcrashbaby

    I’m not an athiest. I believe in God, not organized religion. I believe in personal relationships with God, not mandated ones.

    I’m not sure how you got ‘worships Mammon’ out of my statements. I favor capitalism. I believe in the benefits of social programs, but not absolute socialism. I favor the ability of an individual to achieve and provide, rather than just being given everything one needs.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    I was referring to Ayn Rand’s views on religion with that question, not yours.

  • boomcrashbaby

    I don’t understand what that means, but I know I agree with her about the evils of organized religion.
    ——-
    I oppose the church because she is the enemy of liberty; because her dogmas are infamous and cruel; because she humiliates and degrades woman; because she teaches the doctrines of eternal torment and the natural depravity of man; because she insists upon the absurd, the impossible and the senseless; because she resorts to falsehood and slander; because she is arrogant and revengeful; because she allows men to sin on credit; because she discourages self-reliance, and laughs at good works; because she believes in vicarious virtue and vicarious vice – vicarious punishment and vicarious reward; because she regards repentance of more importance than restitution, and because she sacrifices the world we have to one we know not of.

    Robert G. Ingersoll-Preface to his lectures, Washington, D.C. April 13, 1878

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    The objectivist movement under Branden and Peikoff and all those other wackos is run very much like organized religion, particularly evangelical Christian churches. They have their own literature, pamphlets, institutes, comprehensive lexicons of Rand’s position on everything and anything, and their own icon to worship.

    There’s been a lot more written on the cult-like nature of Rand followers, but it’s silly since she’s a terrible thinker with no philosophical training who appeals only to uneducated, pseudo-intellectual white males who somehow come across her work as nerd fashion. No legitimate academic philosopher takes Ayn Rand’s views seriously in the least. She’s also a terrible fiction writer who writes the coldest, most dialogue-challenged, crypto-fascist characters imaginable. Bottom line: Rand had zero insight into philosophy, social organization or human life. This is demonstrated in her personal life and the utter irrelevance of her work.

  • Mike Kole

    MD: No, I am not a fan of Yeagley. I have been directed to his site more than once and left finding nothing it failed to grab my attention.

    “Mr. Booey”: I dig Rand’s literature, and have a fondness for her philosophy, but have no association with the Objectivists due to the cult-like aspects you accurately describe. Yes-men for individualism? Peikoff the ultimate second-hander? No thanks. But yes, I should be more busy trying to win elections, you’re quite right. I do find great value in trolling sites like these to see what people are saying outside of libertarian circles. I’ve already got *their* votes.

  • boomcrashbaby

    The objectivist movement under Branden and Peikoff

    I don’t know about that. I just read some of her books and I liked what she said. I didn’t join any Rand Institute or anything like that. The only movement that ever really works involves a magazine and a closed bathroom door.

    is run very much like organized religion, particularly evangelical Christian churches.

    Having pamphlets and talking about freedom of capitalism is not nearly like organized religion to me. Unless the Rand Institute wants to punish you for not joining.

    No legitimate academic philosopher takes Ayn Rand’s views seriously in the least.

    Well, see, there you go. I’m not an academic philosopher. Just an average guy who likes her books. I don’t live her viewpoint as a way of life.

    She’s also a terrible fiction writer who writes the coldest, most dialogue-challenged, crypto-fascist characters imaginable.

    Yeah, her main characters are known for being cold and narcissistic. It’s the basis of her philosophy. The men in her books can be pigs, but some of us happen to like bacon.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Branden was Ayn Rand’s boy toy during her dotage. She was 25 years older. I wonder if he found another ‘Mommy’ to get it on with afterward.

    In regard to Rand and religion, I’ve found it interesting she never addresses her defection from Judaism. She fled her country supposedly because of religious persecution, but, somehow, the religion itself doesn’t come up. But then, she erases much of her life before she reinvented herself.

  • boomcrashbaby

    As long as he wasn’t a minor, I’m certainly not going to be one to judge for having an alternative lifestyle. I vaguely remember seeing a movie where Helen Mirrin played Ayn Rand, I think. It was a slow movie, but I now remember the boy toy.

    I’m also not one to judge for having to put the past away and start life anew, for whatever reason. (although I wouldn’t say I’ve erased mine completely because I talk about it).

    What can I say? I enjoy her books. I also like Tolkien, hopefully that will even things out.

  • Eric Olsen

    BCB, nice “movement” line

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Ayn Rand was NEVER a believing Jew. She fled Russia to get away from Communist oppression. She was 11 at time of the communist revolution. The communists confiscated her father’s apothecary shop, and forcibly relocated the family.

    Ayn managed to conjure up papers to escape as a young adult, but it wasn’t so she could worship Yahweh. There was simply no future in Russia. Given the millions of slaughtered innocents associated with this regime, and the particular anti-Semitic pathologies of Marx and Marxism, she was lucky that her whole family wasn’t just taken out and summarily executed. There was a lot of that.

    You may choose to hate on Rand for having taken a young lover, but that does not take away from her intellectual and literary contribution.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    (Scratching head.) What “intellectual and literary contribution”? Really, Albert.

    Given the commenter’s contempt for the suffering of nearly everyone else in the world, including his fellow Americans who are of a darker hue, homosexual or liberal, the remarks in Comment 103 are the ultimate hypocrisy. Empathy for the woman he fantasizes about while typing with one hand, but not for others. Self-serving and shameful.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Al Barger: I hope you’ll actually respond this time and not cower away when I challenge your ridiculous claims.

    First, how was Marxism (the philosophical doctrine) anti-Semitic? Marx, like Rand, was an ethnic Jew who chose not to be Jewish in their religion. I am NOT talking about Soviet socialism — I’m talking about Marx and his ideas.

    Secondly, please do articulate the literary and intellectual value of Rand’s ideas in the course of Western philosophy. I’d really enjoy that.

    Thanks, sweetie.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Here’s the latest on the Cosby’s latest outburst. For what it’s worth, I find his comments more agreeable this time. Interestingly, Jesse Jackson’s now defending his latest statements.

    http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=494&u=/ap/20040701/ap_en_tv/cosby_comments_4&printer=1

  • Shark

    QUOTES from Booey’s Link:

    “…He [Cosby] also had harsh words for struggling black men, telling them: “Stop beating up your women because you can’t find a job.”

    …Cosby made headlines in May when he upbraided some poor blacks for their grammar and accused them of squandering opportunities the civil rights movement gave them. He shot back Thursday, saying his detractors were trying in vain to hide the black community’s “dirty laundry.”

    …”Let me tell you something, your dirty laundry gets out of school at 2:30 every day, it’s cursing and calling each other n—— as they’re walking up and down the street,” Cosby said during an appearance at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition & Citizenship Education Fund’s annual conference.

    “They think they’re hip,” the entertainer said. “They can’t read; they can’t write. They’re laughing and giggling, and they’re going nowhere.”

    …In his remarks in May at a commemoration of the anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education desegregation decision, Cosby denounced some blacks’ grammar and said those who commit crimes and wind up behind bars “are not political prisoners.”

    …Cosby elaborated Thursday on his previous comments in a talk interrupted several times by applause. He castigated some blacks, saying that they cannot simply blame whites for problems such as teen pregnancy and high school dropout rates.

    “For me there is a time … when we have to turn the mirror around,” he said. “Because for me it is almost analgesic to talk about what the white man is doing against us. And it keeps a person frozen in their seat, it keeps you frozen in your hole you’re sitting in.”

    Cosby lamented that the racial slurs once used by those who lynched blacks are now a favorite expression of black children. And he blamed parents.

    “When you put on a record and that record is yelling `n—– this and n—– that’ and you’ve got your little 6-year-old, 7-year-old sitting in the back seat of the car, those children hear that,” he said.

    He also condemned black men who missed out on opportunities and are now angry about their lives.

    “You’ve got to stop beating up your women because you can’t find a job, because you didn’t want to get an education and now you’re (earning) minimum wage,” Cosby said. “You should have thought more of yourself when you were in high school, when you had an opportunity.”

    Cosby appeared Thursday with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder and president of the education fund, who defended the entertainer’s statements.

    “Bill is saying let’s fight the right fight, let’s level the playing field,” Jackson said. “Drunk people can’t do that. Illiterate people can’t do that.”

    Cosby also said many young people are failing to honor the sacrifices made by those who struggled and died during the civil rights movement.

    “Dogs, water hoses that tear the bark off trees, Emmett Till,” he said, naming the black youth who was tortured and murdered in Mississippi in 1955, allegedly for whistling at a white woman. “And you’re going to tell me you’re going to drop out of school? You’re going to tell me you’re going to steal from a store?”

    Cosby also said he wasn’t concerned that some whites took his comments and turned them “against our people.”

    “Let them talk,” he said.

    === end of excerpt ===

    Coupla points:

    Cosby’s criticisms are very much in the spirit of Malcom X.

    My earlier comments still stand as valid and relevant:

    *“..But I do think the dilemma of ‘internal cultural critiques’ will always handicap a ‘minority’. One has to have honesty and integrity when assessing the self — regardless of whether or not “the enemy” finds new ammo in the process.”

    *“…IF you agree with Cosby on this point, would you consider a critique aimed at blacks re. grammar to be “racist”, “aiding the enemy”, etc? …And if so — and given such an environment — is it possible for any black person to make a ‘legitimate’ cultural critque without being labeled some sort of marginalized racial turncoat?”

    *“What’s a legitimate cultural critique?” …I’m not black, [but] I think the blacks (and/or minorities) in the class should answer that one. After what we’ve been through here, those answers could be the most profound we’ll get out of all this.”

    After all is said and done, an ‘internal cultural critique’ might be one of the last hopes for salvaging a valuable African-American culture.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    More from today’s Chicago Tribune. It appears one of the reasons Cosby got a positive reception to his remarks was the following mea culpa:

    “On Thursday, he [Cosby] reiterated that his earlier criticism was not directed at all poor black people. Instead, he was emphasizing that the impact of the 1954 landmark Supreme Court decision — which outlawed segregation in public schools — had not been appreciated fully in certain quarters of urban America.

    ‘I’m sorry. I was not talking about all,’ he said Thursday, adding that he remains concerned about the number of African-Americans who are illiterate and do not have a firm command of standard English. ‘This is an epidemic. We’ve got to do something about it.’

    The warm reception that Cosby received Thursday was a sign that his message, however controversial, has resonated with most African-Americans, said Rev. Jesse Jackson.

    ‘Bill’s point was to lift up, not to tear down,’ Jackson said in defense of his old friend.

    But Tonya Bell, 36, of Chicago said Cosby, 66, is out of touch with the plight of poor African-Americans. The single mother of two teenage boys said she had read accounts of Cosby’s statements but came to Thursday’s talk to hear him in person.

    ‘I don’t think he understands how hard it is out here,’ she said. ‘Some of us are really trying hard to be good parents, but we are working two and three jobs to make ends meet. We can’t always jump up and run to the school when our kids are having problems. We just can’t do it.'”

  • Dan

    “‘I’m sorry. I was not talking about all,’ he said Thursday”

    Who ever claimed he was?