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Controlled Chaos
Don't blame me for having bad news

By Mike Seate
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, July 27, 2004


Until recently, a comparison to Bill Cosby was something to be proud of. He's a brilliant comedian, successful businessman and role model for millions.
For certain members of the black activist class, however, Cool Cos is a king-sized sellout. This stems mostly from comments Cosby made recently at an NAACP convention in Washington about America's black urban underclass. He simply reiterated what generations of responsible black families have been saying for years: Pull up your jeans, put away the guns and drugs and get an education.

Cosby complained about the nation's black high school drop-out rate, teen pregnancy, crime, and our people's lack of business initiative. Most of all, he insisted that most of these problems no longer can be blamed on discrimination by white people.

From the reactions Cosby's comments generated, you'd think he'd nominated Fat Albert for president or advocated mandatory skin-bleaching for black folks.

Cosby has been renounced by some as an Uncle Tom of the first degree, a self-hating, bourgeois black elitist. Offering even constructive criticism of one's own people is considered a major mistake these days, a lesson this columnist is starting to learn.

Last week's column addressing recent black-on-black shootings Downtown attracted a stream of negative commentary from black Pittsburghers. Most were angry not about the recent shootings, but about the "audacity of a columnist to blame black men for the crimes they commit," as one female caller put it.

Who, I wonder, should shoulder the blame when black men are shooting each other on crowded city streets and robbing our few remaining Downtown stores?

Some say successful black people are to blame. We don't do enough to help steer the downtrodden from lives of depravity and crime, several readers said, pausing to accuse me of "making Bryant Gumbel look like Malcolm X."

Other readers, accused me of a being a "lackey and porch-n***** for (my) blue-eyed masters." I was told to seek psychiatric help for "wishing I was white."

People, don't blame the messenger. Neither Bill Cosby nor I ever shot anyone Downtown. While I can't speak for Mr. Cosby, I have not intentionally influenced black kids to drop out of school, dress like gangsters, carry guns or hang out on street corners instead of educating themselves and seeking jobs.

According to our critics, any crime or anti-social act committed by a black man is not his responsibility: "Africans were a peaceful people until the evil white man came and stole us away and remade our minds in his savage image," one reader railed. "If we kill or rob, it's not our fault. We're only reacting to what the white man has taught us."

If black people are this uncomfortable about staring our problems in the face or even discussing them, we're in big trouble.

Excuses and scapegoats will always be easier than painful self-examination. Even Fat Albert could tell you that.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-re...s/s_205258.html
southsider2k5
So Coz is a sellout because he wants more out of his people? s*** call me a sellout then.
Goldmember
QUOTE(southsider2k4 @ Jul 29 2004, 09:31 AM)
So Coz is a sellout because he wants more out of his people?  s*** call me a sellout then.

sellout... tongue.gif
kapkomet
QUOTE(southsider2k4 @ Jul 29 2004, 03:31 PM)
So Coz is a sellout because he wants more out of his people?  s*** call me a sellout then.

Hmmm. I bet these are the same people that will benefit from those tax increases on the rich John Kerry's talking about.
Wise Master Buehrle
Bill Cosby is the man.

Now if only the black gangster kids would consider him an idol and listen to what he says. He called them all out for being so damn stupid and giving black people a bad name.
Scwible
I give him tons of credit for saying this when no other high influence african american would.

Props to you Mr. Cosby.
hammerhead johnson
QUOTE(Mr. Zero @ Aug 3 2004, 05:50 AM)
Bill Cosby is the man.

Now if only the black gangster kids would consider him an idol and listen to what he says. He called them all out for being so damn stupid and giving black people a bad name.

Come on, man. I know that you're 16 years old, but you're going to have to show more respect than that. You and that "black gangster kid" that you're referring to here share 99.9% of the same DNA. The only difference is that you're not from a rough area. Count your blessings.
Wise Master Buehrle
QUOTE(hammerhead johnson @ Aug 3 2004, 12:25 AM)
Come on, man.  I know that you're 16 years old, but you're going to have to show more respect than that.  You and that "black gangster kid" that you're referring to here share 99.9% of the same DNA.  The only difference is that you're not from a rough area.  Count your blessings.

I'm referring to the black gangster kidS. You know, the black kid that 90% of black kids in my school try to be.

ALso, just because they're poor doesn't mean they have to listen to rap and act like assholes. Unfortunately, that has become the popular thing for poor black people to do and be.
hammerhead johnson
QUOTE(Mr. Zero @ Aug 3 2004, 06:38 AM)
ALso, just because they're poor doesn't mean they have to listen to rap and act like assholes. Unfortunately, that has become the popular thing for poor black people to do and be.

Do you know anything about music sales? How about populaton figures...are you familiar with those? It's white suburbia that supports commercial rap music. "Listening to rap and acting like assholes"....you just described the average white teenage suburbanite mang.
Alpha Dog
Didn't Obama say someting similar during the convention? I think it was having parents tellt here kids that reading a book once in a while isn't 'acting white'? Oh, and hammerhead, the 'average white teenage suburbanite' you mention isn't the same kid that is carrying a Mac-10, holding up liquor stores and causing general mayhem in the inner city. He is the one in mom's Volvo buying the drugs in the poor neighborhoods. I would say that Zero's difference would probably have to do with the fact that he has parents who care.
LowerCaseRepublican
I don't know if any of you have read "Our America" but it's a pretty damn good book. It's 2 kids who recorded an audio journal of their daily lives living in the Ida B. Wells homes in Chicago during the mid-late 1990s.

There is a lot in the book about how they have trouble getting to school because of gangland war zones, the schools being drastically lacking in materials/quality teachers and how many of their classmates see the easy cash one can make in the illegal drug culture. The two kids that are the authors really describe their environment as a Hellhole and they have a really interesting part where they liken it to a Vietnam war zone due to the lack of respect for life and the violence they see on a daily basis. It's an interesting book because they show how the sub-culture there really plays a role in people getting involved in gangbanging/drug culture because if they are going to die anyway, they might as well die with lots of cash and with horrible schools they see another reason to not waste their time with education.

I think it's good that Cosby has called people to be more accountable for their actions but there are other sociological problems that need to be at least alleviated before any of the problems he speaks of will go away entirely. (i.e. poor funding in certain schools) That already sets these kids back compared to most suburban children. "Savage Inequalities" by Johnathan Kozol also explains the disparities within classrooms and how it affects education. When a school has almost no supplies and s***ty teachers, is it any wonder why kids are not achieving? Basing school funding off of property taxes is, IMO, the snafu because it keeps poor communities poor since they cannot invest as much in the education of their children since the money is not there as it is in suburban areas. Now with NCLB and Rod Paige demanding testing and those schools who do not achieve the approximated test scores will be closed, these schools are already scrambling their scant funds to try to teach to the test (which really pisses off teachers to just teach to the test...I'm an Ed minor and have talked to a few teachers). If these schools are closed then what next? They have no opportunity for education.

I think re-defining the educational system is one of the key first steps that needs to go down if this problem is going to be rectified. If not, many are stuck in the same boat.
israel4ever
I have no problem with Cosby's message...what I DO have a problem with, is calling him a comedian. The guy hasn't said/done anything remotely funny in years!
LowerCaseRepublican
QUOTE(israel4ever @ Aug 3 2004, 09:40 AM)
I DO have a problem with, is calling him a comedian. The guy hasn't said/done anything remotely funny in years!

Then let's attribute his career to his crowning achievement: being the spokesperson for Jello Pudding Pops. (Oh man those things kicked major league ass)
israel4ever
QUOTE(sideshowapu @ Aug 3 2004, 09:46 AM)
Then let's attribute his career to his crowning achievement: being the spokesperson for Jello Pudding Pops. (Oh man those things kicked major league ass)

I give him props for Saturday morning "Fat Albert" cartoons!
kapkomet
mmmmmmmmmmm.... pudding pops.
Wise Master Buehrle
Apu, that's a great post.

I live in a suburb. This suburb has a damn good high school. They spend a lot of money and hire quality teachers. A lot of the poorer families are defects from Chicago. So, now the kids have a good school, and teachers that try really hard. But they all still act the same, with their non caring attitude, and a huge chip on their shoulders.
israel4ever
I once worked for an architect on a job where we we doing blue prints of a housing project which (unbeknownst to the tenants) was to be torn down and replaced with luxury condos. We had to go through every unit of this building. I have NEVER seen (or imagined) anything like what I saw. Rats, roaches, filth, human waste, all over the apartments. I saw units wherein there were wall-to-wall "mattresses", 8-10 people living in a one bedroom apartment, hypodermic needles all over the hall ways, etc.

The last unit we went into was inhabited by a guy in his late 20s or early 30s...his apartment was immaculately maintained. We asked him about it and he said that when he moved into the building, all of the units were as perfectly maintained as his, but, that since nobody in the building took any pride in their surroundings, they did not bother to maintain their units.

Too many people looking for a handout, not enough people trying to do things for themselves.
Queen Prawn
QUOTE(EvilMonkey @ Aug 3 2004, 08:46 AM)
Oh, and hammerhead, the 'average white teenage suburbanite'.  He is the one in mom's Volvo buying the drugs in the poor neighborhoods.  I would say that Zero's difference would probably have to do with the fact that he has parents who care.

Brian and a couple of his friends had the misfortune to be stopped by some cops in Harvey when he was about 20. They just left the junkyard (they are all gear heads) and the cops were convinced they were there to buy drugs. I guess they thought the car parts (and receipts) were just a cover.

Brian said that it didn't bother him to be stopped because he knew too many idiots from HS that did just that - drive to rough parts of town to get drugs. The only thing that did bother him was after they tore his friend's car apart (literaly) to find the drugs (they found nothing but grease, car parts and tools) they still dragged them to the station and held them there for a couple hours.
hammerhead johnson
QUOTE(EvilMonkey @ Aug 3 2004, 02:46 PM)
Oh, and hammerhead, the 'average white teenage suburbanite' you mention isn't the same kid that is carrying a Mac-10, holding up liquor stores and causing general mayhem in the inner city.  He is the one in mom's Volvo buying the drugs in the poor neighborhoods.  I would say that Zero's difference would probably have to do with the fact that he has parents who care.

Yeah, and if you completely flipped the script and put white people in "war zones" and black people in upper middle class homes, what do you think would happen then?

Recognize that whites are at the very top of the food chain. That is about as obvious as it gets.

Brando got suspended for blatant racism, but what he said is nowhere near as disturbing as some of the stuff I'm reading in this thread.

How come black people in upper middle class to high class settings grow up to be lawyers, doctors, writers, etc? Why is that? Lucy, you got some 'xplainin to do.
Alpha Dog
QUOTE(hammerhead johnson @ Aug 3 2004, 09:42 PM)
How come black people in upper middle class to high class settings grow up to be lawyers, doctors, writers, etc?  Why is that?  Lucy, you got some 'xplainin to do.

A big reason is PARENTS. The black middle and upper class parents take an interest in their child succeeding in life. They make sure they go to school. They actually parent! But take color out of that whole phrase, and it still applies. Powel is called an Uncle Tom, because he talks all nice, and doesn't believe in the 'victim' role that certain others have ascribed to blacks. Cosby gets slammed because he tells it like it is. Mary Mitchell, a black Sun-Times columnist, gets crap regularly thrown at her when she dares to challenge parents and adults to take personal responsibility.

The other reason is the funding issue, brought up I think by sideshowapu. Funding the schools with property taxes just isn't quite fair. I do some printing for a few different school districts. The money spent on one issue of the newsletter for school A, would pay for the whole year for school B. And school C doesn't even have one, much less a band anymore, or cheerleaders, or even most of their athletic teams. One of the schools i do work for has a Badminton team. They have money for a badminton team, while others can't keep experienced teachers. Like the insurance thread, there are many different things that need to be fixed, as no one thing alone will solve the problem.
hammerhead johnson
QUOTE(EvilMonkey @ Aug 3 2004, 11:11 PM)
A big reason is PARENTS.  The black middle and upper class parents take an interest in their child succeeding in life.  They make sure they go to school.  They actually parent!

And how exactly does that make them any different from whites, hispanics, etc?

Again, everything revolves around the dollar. Who has it, and who doesn't?
Soxy
Okay, just want to say a few things:

One "white middle class" parents take an interest in their kids. Yes, they do. But they also have more disposable income and time to spend with their kids. It's hard to be a model parents when you're making 5.15 an hour at a crap job and probably working lots of hours. Being middle class (a class that is rapidly disappearing, imo) is a great privilage in what we can afford, both monetarily and timewise.

As for the idea that everyone just wants a hand-out, I would disagree. One of my oh so wonderful summer job experiences was working at the Unemployment Office in Aurora. I would say that 95% of the people there WERE looking for work and genuinely trying. The other 5%, well, not so much, but I can say that the 5% were definite a good racial mix--they are lazy people in EVERY race.

And I think so much of this goes back to education. We are willing to put teachers into urban and super poor rural schools that have NO formal education training--I am not demeaning Teach for America, etc. but if you have teachers taht have NO DAMN CLUE what they're doing how are you going to reach kids that have no education background and foundation? Yes, I blame some of that on the parents and some on the previous educators. But it's pathetic. To misquote Ginsberg, I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked.

To sum up, I am lucky. I was born into a relatively affluent, educated family who worked hard to send me to a good college (and could AFFORD it). Although I think I'm rather clever I don't think that I would be here if it weren't for my privilaged upbringing...And if I was raised in a poorer area with crap schools and stuff--I bet I WOULD have a bad attitude too if I came to Suburbia and saw all the resources denied to myself and my peers.
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