Skip to comments.A Short History of Class Antagonism in the Black Community
Posted on 05/29/2005 4:15:01 PM PDT by neverdem
Bill Cosby spawned a cottage industry among opinion writers when he ascended a podium in Washington last year and harangued inner-city parents for doing too little to educate their children. He threw salt in the wound by saying those parents were spending too much on expensive sneakers and not enough on books.
Those brief remarks have continued to reverberate through the court of public opinion. Conservatives are hailing Mr. Cosby as the tough love truth teller of the moment. Liberals have come close to describing him as a race traitor, as Prof. Michael Eric Dyson of the University of Pennsylvania recently pointed out in his incendiary book, "Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind?"
Professor Dyson, who is known for rhetorical pyrotechnics, is fiercely critical of Mr. Cosby for what he sees as unfairly attacking the poor. But Mr. Dyson doesn't stop there. He also reaches into the past, attacking earlier members of the black elite for doing the same thing.
Professor Dyson is at least aware that class conflict in the black community goes back to the very beginning. The most striking thing about the discussion that has followed the Cosby comments is the extent to which even well-educated Americans have been surprised to learn that class antagonism exists in the black community at all. This entrenched ignorance about black life was a long time in the making, and is only now being dislodged.
Americans no longer bat an eye when a black actor portrays a surgeon, a chief executive or even a president of the United States. It was not so long ago, however, that black actors who could find work at all were largely limited to playing criminals, servants and simpletons, roles that confirmed the doctrine of black inferiority.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Why should Bill Cosby's comments being characterized as "attacks on the poor?" Mr. Cosby probably cares a lot more about the poor than Prof. Michael Eric Dyson of the University of Pennsylvania. He at least sees that they have the ability to succeed if they make the right choices.
Dyson evidently thinks that anytime the plight of the underclass is not blamed on the successful, or really anyone and everyone else, it is some kind of betrayal. His mistake is that he thinks this attitude makes him a champion of the poor.
No kidding! But the community has been enslaved by the poverty pimps. Their message: "You can't help it if you act like fools. It all goes back to slavery!"
YAWN,here we go again-two very well to do black media superstars rhetorically masturbate to the joy of all liberal AND conservative intellectuals.
BETCHA they never actually GO to the hood they pontificate about so much!
But I do.Every day.And the Boyz and the Girlz in the hood could give a flying fart about what EITHER Cosby or Dyson say about their situation.Ditto with their parents.They are NOT going to go back to the old fashioned values.They are NOT going to stop calling each other the N,MF and B words.They are NOT going to turn off Ludacris and Kellis and listen to Brahms or Ella Fitzgerald.They are NOT going to go steady,get married and have three children who are the paragons of genteel manners.Thats just NOT reality.
Don't get me wrong.Most of these kids are VERY likeable.They are clever,witty and full of life.Contrary to what a lot of people think,they are NOT anti-white.Its been ages since I have been called a honky or white MF.They are very durable and adaptable.Some of them will break free of the madness of ghetto life and "come up"the right way.Yet their success will have everything to do with that special teacher or mentor or the rare parent or relative that has their back.
I think both liberals and conservatives are barking up the wrong trees.The liberals think that everyone in the hood are poor,oppressed and waiting for their enlightened souls to show them the way out through the usual government give a way programs.Way too many conservatives seem to think that young black and Latinos,especially the boys,are this great Menace to Society out to get "whitey".
Neither portrayal is accurate.But people love the great debate on these cultural issues.Problem is that NOTHING ever really changes.
Dyson is a paleo-negro, and has a vested interest in American blacks remaining just as they are. In fact, if the American black community got even worse, his value would increase.
Funny how that works.
Dyson, and his cohorts such as Cornel West, Henry Louis Gates, bell hooks (that's how she spells it, with lower case letters), George Curry, etc., infest academia with their message of black helplessness. This is why I say that we are in the Marxist laboratory.
It's amazing that black academians and so-called "friends" of black people don't believe in our abilities. To them, we must be escorted every step of the way. No success can be attributed to plain desire and personal ambition. It must be through the auspices of the black Left and their enablers.
If you want to see where Democrats, or "Progressives" want to take this nation, keep your eye on what they do with the American black community. All of their moves are telegraphed here.
Wow. No axes to grind here
"Dyson, and his cohorts such as Cornel West, Henry Louis Gates, bell hooks (that's how she spells it, with lower case letters), George Curry, etc., infest academia with their message of black helplessness. This is why I say that we are in the Marxist laboratory."
I have a female friend, very liberal, who had a class with "bell hooks" -- said that woman is so painfully stupid and ignorant that the class had frequent pauses of disbelief, as students tried to register that PROFESSOR hooks was really that dumb.... and this was in the most politically correct environment possible.
Dyson is a yammering, brain dead windbag, a la Tavis Smiley and Cornel West. bell hooks was featured on C-Span's 3-hour show "In Depth" last year. I thought that show was reserved for writers who are the cream of the crop, but I guess I wuz wrong. They recently featured that moron Thomas Friedman too.
She told a story of how she wanted to kill this white man aboard an airplane because her female friend was sitting in a seat that was already reserved for him. Her friend had to move.
It doesn't surprise me that her class is like your friend described. This woman is a lunatic.
Unfortunately, this isn't a new phenomena of the leadership of the Black community. There are probably others that I don't know, but Paul Robeson and before him W.E.B. Dubois were fond of socialism.
"Neither portrayal is accurate.But people love the great debate on these cultural issues.Problem is that NOTHING ever really changes."
You don't happen to live in N'awlins, do you?
DuBois left this earth as a dyed in the wool communist.
Wow, you seem a little negative. And you sure did generalize about what the kids will and won't do... bottom line is, some one has to model new ways and living, thinking and being to the kids in the hood. We have to stress that it is up the the individual to make something of themselves. It is not always easy to go against the grain but it can be done with determination. I used to live in the hood, my parents got me out of the hood and my hood mentality went away. Now I'm going to generalize... everybody and I mean every body wants the white picket fence, 2.5 kids and dog. We all dream about it. Its our job to let the kidz know they can have that dream too.
"You don't happen to live in N'awlins,do you"
Nope,but I used to!From 1972-1977.Taught at an infamous high school in the Ninth Ward which shall remain anonymous but if you are from down yonder then you know the place I am refering to.
It wasn't so bad back then.Only 100 murders a year.I used to go to student wedding receptions in the Desire Project and school night ball games.No drama.Most kids on welfare.One of the old school black teachers told me the worst thing to happen to the community were the food stamp and free lunch programs cause they put the "poor"stigma on the kids and their sense of self-reliance went down the drain.
All in all not a bad experience.Kids then had some hope.What I find now with most of my urban West Coast kids is this "I don't give a bleep"attitude about anything.Not all feel this way but it is way too prevalent.
Your criticism is well taken,brwnsuga and my apologies to you for generalizing.
I think if I didn't have some hope for these youngsters I wouldn't even bother to go put the work in I do.Wednesday I got my car streo stolen right there in the faculty parking lot.Yet I returned the next day and wrote two summer job recommendations and was all smiles and enthusiasm.
The schools are just my part time job.I work full time at a rather large,infamously inefficient and absolutely SCANDALOUS government agency we all know and love dearly.Yet I keep coming back to the kids because I watch them grow and mature over the years and I DO see progress.
I'm just as cynical about Cosby as I am about Jackson and Sharpton.I just don't think they are for real,any of them.The real black leaders are in the trenches every day making a difference but they remain unknown to the public because they are way too busy SAVING LIVES.
Anyway,thanks for the feedback.I need someone to check my excesses once in a while!
As opposed to Michael Eric Dyson, an affirmative action hothouse mutant orchid getting rich off Whitey's guilty conscience, who rises above that sort of thing.
At least Cosby has talent and earned his keep in the open market.
I once almost got failed on an exam for referring to her as "the amusingly styled 'bell hooks'".
Riverman you must be a public school teacher or something. Sound just like my sister too. I have to agree with you except for the fact that it's never too late and those kids may well pay more attention to you than Cosby or Dyson. Personally, I try my best but the mentality is pretty badly entrenched thanks to the parents, or lack thereof.
Yes,I sub part time in a very notorious district.
Parents are a critical component to success and if pops isn't there and often moms isn't doing right then you have a real recipe for disaster.
Many of these kids will reveal many things to those they trust.In my school district,it is very common to have students who have fathers in jail and mothers who are dope fiends and worse.They are very matter of fact about these cold realities.
Case in point.One young man I was mentoring a while back had an absent dad and moms was taking care of six kids all by herself.One day moms decided that she wanted to be in the game too and abandoned her family one morning without warning.Robert,a seventh grader at the time,was left to feed his bothers and sisters.That afternoon he"hooked it up"and started"grinding caine"on the mean streets.He started getting in the dope game as a survival tactic but then just got caught up with the fast money,"hos"and tight rides.He had shot people and been shot.Yet one day at 19 in the middle of one of our mentoring sessions he broke down crying like a baby in front of his friends because he missed his mother so much.He has been in and out of jail since then.He is a grown man now and I do see him occasionally.He is still very protective of his siblings but he never got the "life"out of his system.God knows if he ever will.
My family was not the most functional one either.But we NEVER questioned that our parents had nothing less than our best interests at heart.Many kids today don't BELIEVE the adults in their life are working in their best interests.
And way too often they are absolutely RIGHT!
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