In a second I'm going to recap those thoughts but the post itself seems to be a demonstration of my point. This isn't again. This isn't new. The original caption was six months old and the speech is 10 years old. The only reason it's making the rounds is so that people who think that way can point and look at Bill Cosby and think they get a free pass. No you don't. Na uh. Sit down shut up and let me school you.
And I had almost forgiven him for that. Bill Cosby Himself was the first stand-up special I ever saw so the dissonance of my opinions regarding the man is mildly disconcerting.
At least I still have Bigger and Blacker
I am a young black man. I consider myself civilized. I'm a staunch pacifist, though I've been becoming more militant as of late feeling that if President Obama had militarily intervened in Syria two years ago
Yet there are some places where I will be called a thug just because I feel more comfortable in street shoes and flannel than anything else. You know what I'm a grown man and can dress myself! Thank you very much! It's Michigan, land of the cold and snow at least as far as the lower 48 is concerned. And the same could be said for choosing my diction.
And it infuriates me that people would make assumptions based on those choices without knowing anything else about me. I'm a complicated man and no one understands me but my woman. Eh I couldn't help myself on that one.
Alright but let's take this thing a piece at a time.
His speech harps on five main topics.
- Lack of Appreciation of Education
- The Use of Ebonics
- Urban Dress
- Lack of Parenting
- Lack of Community
Everything am about to say can be summed up thusly. Education is complex.
Cosby says it's not about money. Yes yes it is. I'm a part time substitute teacher. I don't sub as often as I should but I often notice kids using books from the classroom. When I was coming up the first day of class, especially in High School for the big four, Math Science, Social Studies and English, the teacher would take us to the school book depository and have us check out our books for the semester. It seems like something that's a no-brainer, give every kid a book so they can take it home and study from it. You want to know why that doesn't always happen? Money. 30 books is cheaper than 150. Growing up I had a computer in my house so even if I wasn't reading books, though I was, I still read something on the internet almost everyday. Now I know there are a lot of people out there will play up the internet as the doom of the English language.
But I can think of no fewer than 5 reasons of the top of my head why having a computer with internet access in the home is a huge advantage a kid growing up yet a lot of people can't afford it for their kids. For some even that cheap $300 laptop is a huge investment compared to $600 of rent $200 of groceries, and at least another $100 spread across utilities, and that's low-balling it, especially for a family
Also consider that these days a laptop is only designed to last maybe three years.
Having the money to have access to resources is a boon especially in the home and while yes personal effort can make up for some of the shortfall I feel it's just plain foolish to pretend like a kid with books a computer, and the money to get everything his teacher requests has the same chances as a kid without all of that.
So that get's us to resource battles. And I could spend this whole post talking about school funding, and public vs. private education, appropriations bills, and white flight out of urban school districts. But I'm kind of lazy so let's move on.
The Use of Ebonics
Colloquialism is a thing. Deal with it. Bing bang boom. We're done.
Damn it. Fine, fine.
I understand while young people not knowing when to turn it off and on may be a problem, but I feel to complain that informal language merely exists seems kind of backwards. Also there are times where the use of formal language seems inappropriate.
Formal language is the result of consideration, and there are times where that consideration clashes with sincerity.Talking to friends and family guess which one I put more value on?
And then there's the whole double consciousness thing. The understanding that other people are in fact judging you against racial stereotypes and the question of whether or not that's fair and should affect your normal patterns behavior.
Do you know how long it took for me to admit to myself that I actually like rap.
Do what ya feel.
If you are someone's boss, and are paying or considering paying them to represent you and present an image, then you can talk. Otherwise why do you care?
I whenever someone does the "how you dress tells people about you" thing I think, "So your telling me that people are going to make stupid assumptions about me based on how I dress. How is that my problem."
I am not going to lie there are times when I care about what other people think about me, but that is mostly about my character, Something that is impossible to observe at a glance.
I am whats I yam and that's all that's I yam. And I don't like playing games to convince people otherwise just for the sake of making them feel more comfortable unless actual currency is going to be exchanged in which case.
Cash moves everything around me, green, get the money dollar dollar bill y'all.
I just feel playing that whole game means playing into the belief system that you can accurately judge someone on sight which kind of offends me on a basic level.
Legally, i.e. the thing I would march for, regarding Michael Dunn and George Zimmerman is stand your ground, morally i.e. the thing I just have to live with is that they were making an unprovoked judgement on whether or not this kids presented a lethal threat based primarily on how they looked.
That's racism. I let it pass because I don't feel anybody should be the thought police, but I still am offended by it and refuse to live my life in fear of it. Rascism exists and people have a right to to think and feel however they want about, "young black men" but I shouldn't have to and absolutely refuse to live my life as dictated by those people. Screw that!
Do what you feel.
Lack of Parenting
I'm a little bit on weaker ground here as there are stats here, but I still have some arguments to make. Mainly that the criminal justice system isn't helping and that reforms need to be made.
Also I feel that Dr. Cosby was overstating the case. Parents can be a huge influence over their kids, but that influence is not absolute. After a certain age kids are going to do what they're going to do and the authoritarian sit down and shut up method is going to pretty much going to erode a good chunk of the trust, goodwill and respect they have.
"My parents told me so" to only works as a guiding light for so long. Especially when kids discover everybody including their parents are fallible. What happens when rather than the certainty of their word all they have is the calculus of their advice.
My view is that your training the kids, so when they get out there and your not around they have a decent head on their shoulders, so they do what they do not because their afraid of public shaming or the switch, but because that's what's in them. When given a choice, which all of life is, they will make it well.
So the phrase, "Mama didn't raise me to" actually has meaning.
But what do I know.
Do what you feel.
Lack of Community
If what Dr. Cosby is describing is a sense of fellowship and brotherhood around the block, I'm all for it. On the other hand I am opposed to public shaming in most of it's forms, and some of the speech sounds as of it's wistful for that. I have said it many times and many different ways that I am an enemy of "thou shall". I'll abide the law. But other than that I feel nobody has the right to tell another how to live their life. All of our rights, all of the marching, and fighting and you know that war that happened seven and a half score years ago amounts to idea that personal sovereignty is inalienable. All things being equal in a row between society/community and the individual I will side with the individual, for I believe that it is society's primary duty to protect the interests of the individual.
People should be able to do what they feel.