Bill Cosby and Those Dirty Laundry Blues

On Thursday evening, Bill Cosby held a conversation with parents at Wayne County Community College in downtown Detroit. Here are some of the parents’ thoughts on Cosby’s critique of what ails the black community:

From the I’ve got a right to my hood–victimhood:

Greg Thrasher, a writer from West Bloomfield: In today’s political marketplace, it is vogue to attack and blame the victims of racism and oppression.

Bill Cosby is a classic hypocrite who will never reach black urban youth because they, like myself, resent folks who talk out of both sides of their mouth. He has shamed black speech patterns yet he makes black caricature movies. Cosby attacks black teens and their sexual immorality, yet he has committed adultery.

Cosby’s rants do nothing to motivate; instead, they contribute to the woes of the black underclass.

From the black apologist wing(I made it cause I’m better than those other blacks):

Godfrey Dillard, a Detroit attorney: Bill Cosby’s passionate plea for individual accountability resonates well on main street America. It also has broad support in black America. Black leadership from Fredrick Douglass to Louis Farrakhan has trumpeted the importance of self-help and a strong family nucleus. No one can dispute the necessity of individual responsibility in a free and democratic society.

The problem is not the message or the messenger. Seasoned observers of race understand more is in play than the machinations of individuals, Horatio Alger or boot-strap sociology. All too often, the critique of the underclass avoids the effects of the political, sociological and economic structures operating in America. Despite claims to the contrary, racism is not dead; the elimination of the stigma of black inferiority remains indispensable to any solution.

From the liberal intelligentisa wing of the black community(I’m different from those other blacks because I’m smarter):

Joe Darden, professor of urban affairs and geography at Michigan State University: Bill Cosby’s continuous public criticism and insensitive, sweeping generalizations about the failures of one of the most disadvantaged population groups in America cause me to question his intent. By blaming only struggling black, female-headed households living in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty, he may be making a bad situation worse.

Moreover, Cosby may be providing ammunition to mean-spirited policy-makers wishing to justify withdrawing any remaining assistance to a group they have always considered undeserving. In spite of living in the most deprived neighborhoods, many of these mothers are doing their best to support their children. What they need is a helping hand, not a slap down.

A more constructive approach would be for Cosby to find out about and help them get what they need. In return, they would be expected to keep “their end of the bargain.” This approach would be more effective than continuous inaction and humiliation.

On the eve of the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., blacks have the dirty laundry blues(you know, how dare you point out the moral crisis in the black community where white folks can hear). The solution is tough love and the good will of our fellow countrymen, which most blacks have demonstrated little insight about.

(hat tip: Booker Rising)

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