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Nmaginate brought up a question that I have been having trouble formulating. It will thank you in advance, Nmaginate, for putting it together for me! Smile

In remarking that he likes the quote Faheem uses at the bottom of his posts, he used the example of "Bill Cosby's tirade" to underscore the appropriateness of those words. The quote has, to do (at least generally) with airing our dirty laundry. And I'm sorry if I put you on the spot here, Faheem, Smile but for those who have not read it ...
One of the greatest Problems facing the Black man and woman's drive towards self determination is our allowing others to equally participate and exercise power, in our family debates.

So then, my question is this: Taking Bill Cosby's public remarks as an example (and it is not my intention to bring up old wounds ... it's just a good example!) but, Bill said what he said to a group (primarily of Black folks, I would imagine) during a ceremony in commemoration of the Brown v. Board decision. The media, of course, took it and ran with it and put 'our' business in the street! (Because most people aren't saying that it isn't true, just that he shouldn't have said it ... or said it when/how he did!) So, be that as it may, and taking Faheem's quote (which I have no disagreement with!!) into play, for those of you who had a problem with the whole Bill situation .... when, exactly, is the right time and/or place and/or situation in which things like this should be talked about?

I mean, it's not like he went and called a press conference to talk about poor Black people. On the flip side, I can understand a rationale of knowing that the cameras were going to be there making it the wrong time and place. However, many times many of our brightest and brilliant say things outside of the media that never get heard by anybody who wasn't there ... as the media usually needs mayhem, murder or money to get involved in a story!!! So, you have a Black man, at a Black-attented event, speaking of a lack of parenting and responsiblity in the poor Black community who came across as stigmatizing all poor black people, yet accept for the fact that he should have said "some" when he intimated "all" told the truth about conditions in several of our communities throughout the country, and he is chastised and told he shouldn't have done it. That he did the wrong thing.

Okay, so .... in an effort to make this long story not much longer, what I'm trying to ask is, given that it is not the truth of his words that are disputed, but his timing of saying it, when are we supposed to bring these things to the light? Or are we not supposed to talk about them and just suppose that, or wait for, someone to do something about them? Just because the situation is something that needs someting to be done about it? Would it have ever been appropriate for those things to have been said? And if so, in what type of setting or situation? Should they only be talked about within a family? Or within a community? Is it that they should never be talked about publicly or politically? If Cosby shouldn't have said it, is there somebody else who should've? Confused

I know that's more than one question ... but just think of it as many questions asking the same thing! Big Grin

All opinions will be appreciated and help me to better understand! Smile
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Two words, ER...

Since Cosby's angst was with the "Lower Economic" part of the "family" (though his very words, consciously or not, seem to convey some serious detachment and distancing) then that's exactly who he should have been talking to, and of course in a constructive way.

I can be "right" all day but no matter how "right" I am doesn't necessarily make anything I say constructive. (At least that's what people keep telling me... lol)

I feel it wasn't appropriate for Bill to just go off (exaggerating as he did and saying stuff to stupid to be either a joke or an embellishment to help drive home a point.... "pound cake"??) and the audience that he was speaking to hardly represented those he apparently paid the most attention to.

Not only was it not a FAMILY debate but it was a form of talking behind your back.

Like the saying goes, "If you got something to say to me... Say it to my face."

That is unless you endorse Dysfunctional (back-biting) Family Values.

(Somebody got a link to the Cosby Debates... I missed them and apparently missed a lot. Sounds like there was a serious debate. I'd appreciate it... Thanks!)

You are facing dilemma encountered by every African American who has to speak to our "family" problems in public. How do you do it? If you are speaking from a prepared text, you have the luxury of 'consideration' in preparing. If you are suddenly confronted with the need to speak extemporaneously, you are on thin ice. Speaking publicly about 'family matters' leaves the speaker in a "no win" situation.

If you don't speak, you are "lacking" in some way. If you speak, you are a 50/50 loser, or winner, no matter what you say.

You only get the opportunity enjoyed by Cosby when you are of unusual stature. He was equal to the challenge.

We all benefited.

As you noted, and unfortunately, our dirty laundry seems to get 'aired' in public forms.


Jim Chester
Okay, so, Kevin41 ... You are just saying that he should have said more "Some poor people are..." or "There are those in our communities that ...." or "Some Black parents don't ...." and then it would not have sounded so accusatory or so blanketed?

And Nmaginate ... you are saying that that sort of stuff should not have been said because its basically not reality-based, or that it is exaggerated, and what he said just made Black people look bad and our image is already stained enough? So, he should have let somebody else say it, and that that person or persons should have been family members (either the parents or the childen) within their own family? Or maybe that it is the responsibility of an outside relative (maybe an aunt or uncle or grandparent) to bring up the subject, if, in fact, such a situation does actually exist within the family unit?

And JWC ... I understood what you said very well! No further clarification is needed! Smile
Now as far as this discussion it is a great discussion and I am glad you all took note of my new Siggy. Smile I must admit, it is derived from something John Henrik Clarke said but not exactly his words thus I could not attribute it to him, although the message in the siggy was indeed his point in the quote I derived my signature from.

With that said, the essence of what my signature is about is that too many people involve others in our family discussions and give them power over our family discussion. Here is something I have learned in the last week that in the coming weeks I hope to speak more about. I have been reading about solutions to the problems Black men and women face in America. One of the things I have read that make so much sense is that; "We should never offer a solutions to a problem unless we agree on what the cause of the problem is" I'll write it again " we should never offer a solution to a problem unless we agree on what the cause of the problem is" If we do not agree on what the cause of the problem is, we will never reach a viable solution because our solutions will be based on what we think the cause of the problem is.

If we use this and apply it to Bill Cosby statements, we will then see why so many Black men and women disagreed with what Bill said and why Michael Dyson says it betrays elitism. Bill spoke about our problems as being caused by the very thing our enemy said is the cause of them, and he provided absolutely no evidence to back up the garbage he said. How many of you know that the "Education Trust" released a study that stated the "major variable in academic achievement is not the income of the family, its marital status, or the parents education attainment or involvement; the key factors are the qualifications and commitment of the teachers".

This is why we must be the key men and women at any table that is discussing solutions to our problems because white folk do not agree with us on the cause of our problems and they offer solutions for our problems that can not possibly solve our problems in a timely manner. If the problem is low income; than the solution would be something like Economic development and the eradication of race discrimination. If the problem is teachers have low expectations of our children than the solution would be TESA, Teachers Expectations and Student Achievement that was part of the no child left behind act but is so under funded that the teachers are not getting the training they need, although Bush talk about "the soft bigotry of low expectations" he is not funding the program his administration came up with to address this problem, and the places that have received funding are to bogged down that they can not get the money to the necessary places, thus our children loose again.

So back to Ebony's original point of contention and the question she asked, the proper time to air our dirty laundry is when we have reached a consensus on the cause of it and have viable solutions that we will also be presenting at the same time we air our dirty laundry and are now seeking those who can help in implementing those solutions.

Problem, Cause Solution Implementation,this will be my new calling card and this is something I co-opted from my Brother and your brother Jawanza Kunjufu.
Okay, Faheem ... are you saying that Black people need to get together, discuss and decide our problems, and then it is okay to talk about them (in public) once the solution has been identified (in private)? And if so, I do not understand who the "we" is that would discuss/decide this concensus? I mean, do you mean we as a community, we as a family, we as a race on a national level?

I'm think that we are not the most unified bunch of people on the planet! Eek And if, even as you say, on the one hand that you can't get a bunch of us to agree on one thing, and then on the other that we have to agree in order to be able to talk about it, to me I just see more of the same thing that has always been going on, so I don't think I understand your solution! Smile

But, if you could just tell me who you mean by "we" when you say "we have to reach a consensus ..., etc. " Then perhaps I could better understand your point of view.
This is actually not that difficult Ebony, the "we" is you and me and everyone we come in contact with. I am Black people, you are Black people; too often as our brother wrote on this forum, when a Black person talk about Black people, they are not talking about themselves but I am saying to you, we are Black people. What ever we say about Black people we are saying about ourselves even if we do not necessarily fit the mold of whatever it is we are saying we are still Black people.

It is nothing to sit around and talk about the problem, we all can do that, coming to a consensus on the cause of the problem is the stage we should be in, and we come to that consensus with information given to us from trusted sources and sources we know have our interest in mind. Thus when Bill Cosby got up there and started running off at the mouth he was speaking for himself, he was not representing anyone other than himself and he spoke about those "low economic people" as if he were totally disconnected from us.

I am not saying Black men and women should be prohibited from speaking his or her mind, but what I am saying is, if you are truly interested in speaking on our problems then you should have the decency to join a group of men and women working to solve our problem with real world solutions. So in your city, seek out those who have diagnosed the problem and are implementing a solution to the problem that they came up with and it is working. You will know it is working because the problem is decreasing in degree. As I said if we think parental participation is the problem facing our young folk, then Churches, Mosques and the various Black community centers doors should be open every day with People like many of us Volunteering there to tutor our children. This is a real world solution, if the cause of the problem is what I stated above. However, if the problem is teacher based, meaning the teacher is the problem than the solution above will not work, thus we must find a solution that addresses the problem of bad teachers. This is the paradigm that has deepened my understanding of solving the problems in our community.

Our problems are many and the causes behind them are many, thus we need to address them as such but popping off at the mouth and articulating our problems and the cause of them without any proof that such being true is a crime against our people and a treasonous act. I think I may be guilty of this in many cases but today is a new day Ebony.
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In reading the posts to this thread, it occurs to me the title might well have been, "Breathe of Fresh Air."

Cloistered discussion of a problem is sometimes supportive to a problem. It keeps it hidden. It doesn't REALLY exist, because if it did, wouldn't someone SAY something. And on, and on goes the rationale of denial.

As said many times in this thread, we all know what Cosby said is true, hyperbole excepted. Yet, many of us got pissed, not because it wasn't true, but because he said where the 'ofay' (foe) could hear it.

Then the issue is about the enemy knowing we know. Right?

We have "talked" this problem among ourselves for decades. The problem has not gone away.

The confrontation needs to occur seems to be with us, not as 'confidants', but with a challenge.


Jim Chester
Originally posted by James Wesley Chester:
As said many times in this thread, we all know what Cosby said is true, hyperbole excepted. Yet, many of us got pissed, not because it wasn't true, but because he said where the 'ofay' (foe) could hear it.

Then the issue is about the enemy knowing we know. Right?

I am not so sure that that is the problem... I was upset because he did not say it to the people that he was talking about.

"The enemy" is not concerned with what we know... they are only concerned with whether or not we have viable solutions and if we do, how we plan to implement them. IMO.
"The enemy" is not concerned with what we know... they are only concerned with whether or not we have viable solutions and if we do, how we plan to implement them. IMO---AudioGuy

Interestingly, one of the arguments against Cosby was that 'they' would use his comments against us. So, there is/was a concern among us for what 'they' think. Confusing huh?

By the way, in making his comments where he did he was more assured of reaching that audience you would prefer than if he had tried to find some other forum that be exclusively targeting.

I think it was a welcomed 'breathe of fresh air.'

Uncomfortable. Maybe even a little chilly, but welcome none the less.


Jim Chester
Mr. Chester ...

I couldn't agree with you more. Smile

This thread has gone a long way to help me understand the rationale of those people who disagreed with Cosby. And I really appreciate both the knowledge those taking time out to share it with me! Smile

However, even after being able to understand, I don't agree. For one, I don't take anyone's statement as a blanket that covers all of anybody! I just don't see such a thing as being true. For instance, I can (and have) said that I don't like Black people. And there are indeed some that I don't! But, there is no way that such a statement could be construed here on this board that I don't like all Black people! So, while the statement is true, it is certainly not all-inclusive.

Also, I don't believe that he is not in a position to know what he is talking about. He sees more Black people, Black communities, Black families, Black organizations, and Black-oriented situations than most if not all of us. He has come from a place that many of us are, or have been, and has gone to a place that many of us will never. It is my belief that he has every right to speak to Black issues, the good and the bad, and I would not fault him for either. Indeed, if it is a problem that he speaks to, I would be even more intent to listen.

I also do not believe that our problems should not be talked about. Usually, bringing light to what is in the dark is the only way and time something actually gets done about a problem. Talking amongst ourselves is exactly where most of our problems begin and end. Even those of us who have solutions are not able to implement them on a nation-wide basis individually. For instance, the marches and protests of the Civil Rights Movement were moved around, covering states and cities all over the South, because the problem extended into .... well, everywhere! Coverage, speeches, the intention to march, the broadcasting of the problem was what enabled masses to unite and make a change. Had Mississippi only talked amongst themselves and staged marches for the benefit of themselves ... or had MLK only tried to fix the problems in his own home state, there is no way we would have gotten a Movement out of it!

Bill said to Black people that there are Black parents that are dropping the ball in respect to raising their children. That statement is absolutely, 100% true. He did not say all parents. He did not say all Black people. He did not say all Black parents. He did not say all kids. Had he done so, his statement would not have been true.

Also, for those who took offense to his using the term "poor people" seem to have been the ones who blanketed Black people with the label. Of course, all poor people aren't Black, but for me, my primary focus is Black people. Therefore, such words in relation to anybody else are not what would have concerned me most.

All in all, although I have no controversy with Bill Cosby's remarks, this thread was more about talking about our problems in public, and I think it is a very slippery slope of what may be deemed acceptable and what may not. I believe wide-ranging problems should be talked about within a wide-range. More personal and/or individual problems, should be discussed in a more intimate setting. I think issues like the one's brought up by Bill are something that would not even be discussed by the subjects involved. Those parents that he is talking about aren't even the one's who realize there is a problem. We are. And if we can't talk about it, then who can?

Although there is no concrete proof of any specific benefits, it has at least sparked a discussion that otherwise wasn't being had. I would hope that such a discussion would motivate people who would otherwise be sitting around talking about or ignoring those "poor people" to action. During the height of the discussion, many groups and organizations that are actually out there helping such "poor people" came to the light. Of course, the media didn't give them big airtime, but at least they stood up and showed themselves as present.

Seeing as how his rants seemed to embarrass so many people who would rather that he didn't bring that particular problem into the limelight, what is should have done is shamed them into mentoring or 'adopting' a "poor family" to give assistance. And who's to say it hasn't? Again, we certainly aren't going to hear about it if it did.

Lastly, I would say that his tirade put all of us on notice (or should have, anyway) that if there is indeed a 50% dropout rate of our youth, if there are parents who are more concerned with if their child has the new Jordans than rather or not he/she can read, if there are some of our children who don't know that there is a "proper" way to speak English ... and if indeed these "poor parents" are not listening, don't care, and are not/will not make an effort to correct such a problem ... then it is our responsibility to see that problem gets corrected. 'Cause clearly, all the above are a problem, have been a problem, and seemingly, will stay a problem, if it is to remain such a big secret.

In my opinion, anyway.
What do you think is the problem and what are some of the solutions Ebony?

Bill Cosby had no solutions and he did not spark any discussions about the problem, he sparked discussions about him opening his mouth and speaking from the cuff about those "lower economic people". We all have been on notice for sometime, and if anyone was moved to action only after hearing Bill Cosby speak than they are the ones who ahev been neglectful in their duties.
Although the solution idea Faheem discusses is laudable, I have to say I personally disagree that the existence of this idea means that talking publicly about problems without a concensus-derived solution is problematic for black people.

"Airing our dirty laundry" is not what Cosby did, IMO. I do not believe that a single white individual in this country gained any new knowledge about the state of "lower economic people" from Bill's words. The dirty laundry being aired is aired every day, in the form of seeing the problems actually being played out. This dirty laundry is visible on the streets, and on the TV news our dirty laundry is amplified for mass consumption, as we all know. The only thing white people learned from Bill Cosby is that there are black people who understand that there's too much degradation in our community. White people who may have thought we all are satisfied with being a certain way, now see that there are black people who don't and want to see it change. For those who are concerned about what white people think of us, they probably should be glad for Bill's comments.

Having said that, I don't see where Bill's comments were harmful. On the other hand, I don't see them as all that useful, either. I think it was Fah who pointed out that the only discussion generated was discussion over the propriety of Bill speaking. And to be sure, no solutions were offered at all (and some of his comments were just off-base; what was up with this "stop beating your women" stuff?!?). But I won't call him a traitor for speaking his mind. He did not empower any racist against us.
I agree with EbonyRose's response to AudioGuy.

I am curious as to how "po' folks" responded to Bill's comments. The po' folks I know haven't said anything one way or the other about it. Almost as if they could care less. Maybe that is the case. What would they care about what UPPER crust BLACK folks think about them?
Vox, it has never been my position that talking about a problem is not helpful. Spoken word is how we communicate; it is how ideas are articulated. I have not, nor will you ever read words written by me accusing someone of only talking because it was a brother talking that help me stand up and be who I am today and continue to strive to be the best person I can be. The spoken and written word is very powerful. My point is, if we are unable to reach a consensus as to what causes or caused the problem then any solutions offered may not address the problem because the reason the problem exist is something the solution does not address.

I will give you something that is extreme but it may help in understanding my point. If I tell you I am hungry and you say to me, go take a shower and I do what you said and take a shower I will still be hungry, albeit clean. Your solution did not address the problem or the cause of the problem. A proper solution would have been, get off your ass Faheem, go in the kitchen and cook yourself something to eat. Problem solved. This is where we are at as a people, solutions are being offered that does not address the cause of the problem, and the reason the solutions offered are accepted is because we do not have a consensus on what actually caused the problem nor are those offering these solutions backing their solution up with evidence to prove that it will address the cause of the problem.

I can assure you the solutions you said are laudable work and can be proven to work because they address the cause of the problem.
Originally posted by Diamond:
I agree with EbonyRose's response to AudioGuy.

Why I oughta...

Originally posted by Diamond:
I am curious as to how "po' folks" responded to Bill's comments. The po' folks I know haven't said anything one way or the other about it. Almost as if they could care less. Maybe that is the case. What would they care about what UPPER crust BLACK folks think about them?

That's my point - you can't reach them by talkin' about them... you have to talk to them. (so, you agree with me?)
Personally, I think people spend more time basking in black people's misfortune as opposed to really even giving a damn.....particularly whites.....they love gaining their own self-adequacy from a relative perception of blacks....i've seen it too many times.....a look of satisfaction on their faces as they watch a homeless black man dig from a trashcan....or is led away in handcuffs........
Originally posted by Faheem:
What do you think is the problem and what are some of the solutions Ebony?

Bill Cosby had no solutions and he did not spark any discussions about the problem, he sparked discussions about him opening his mouth and speaking from the cuff about those "lower economic people". We all have been on notice for sometime, and if anyone was moved to action only after hearing Bill Cosby speak than they are the ones who ahev been neglectful in their duties.

Well, the way I see it, Faheem, is that Bill was at a gathering of people, commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Brown v. Board decision ... he was probably the keynote speaker or something, wasn't there to address the ills of society, but to entertain a group of Black people at a celebration ... said some things about Black people, to Black people that happened to be true, albeit, perhaps hurtful or shameful, with the media watching.

It was not like he was at a State of the Black Union symposium ... or addressing the NAACP or testifying in front of Congress or the even the CBC!! He was not there to give a dissertation on the plight of poor Blacks in the inner city. He was there to entertain in his capacity as a comedian at a dinner function. So, it is hard for me to blame him for not putting a beggining and an end to those statements, because I do not believe he was in the setting to do that ... nor was it his intention to delve that deeply into the subject. The setting was way to informal and celebratory for that.

Be that as it may, he was talking to Black folks about Black folks and made statements about some of the problems they have. The media did what it does and conversation was sparked by it. I really don't care what White folks think or have to say in their discussions about it. But I sure as hell hope it sparked discussion in the Black community. And if that discussion, indeed, is able to move somebody to action to do something they weren't doing before ... addressing and getting involved to help to solve that problem, then I can't possibly see that as being a bad thing. Whatever sparks somebody into action is only half as important as that action they perform itself.

As far as the problem and solution ... I will have to come back to that one!
My BAD, AudioGuy.
Perfect example of why you should not respond to an individual's message (EbonyRose) without reading the person she's responding to (AudioGuy)remarks. I went back and read your remarks and I guess we were on the same PAGE.

I repeated what Bill Cosby said to someone who does exhibit that very behavior. She buys her sons $100.00 NIKE tennis shoes every time the NEW ones come out but won't pay for a tutor. He will not be tutored if the public school system (teated like an entitlement) doesn't provide it. They had no response to Bill Cosby's remarks. And I never bothered to find out why because I was being BILL.

I believe part of the problem lies in the morale decay of some of our FOLKS. Some FOLKS behavior is based on lack of morale training that you normally recieve at home. Or could it be learned behaivor because of social setting of environment that they live in?

Lets fix it. We could fix if parents, teachers, celebrities, ministers, mentors and BLACK hip-hop promoted finishing high school, obtaining college education, respecting your parents, respecting each other, and NO DRUGS. Religiously persue uplifiting each other.

There is nothing we can do by trying to correct whats happen but we may be able to solve it going forward right where we are if we treat ourselves like Jews treat each other. There is no one more important to a Jew than another Jew.

TA DA - Problem solved. Next....

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