Michael Eric Dyson: I Agree With Cosby, But I Won't Admit It

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Michael Eric Dyson is on C-SPAN2 right now at the Harlem Book Fair. Someone just asked him if you can simultaneously say that we need to work on structures in society and work on attitudes within the black community. He didn't really answer the question at first but spent a long time complaining about Bill Cosby's steretypes of what counts as attitudes worth changing. He picked out the names Bill Cosby made fun of, names typically found among black Americans that were made up to sound African but with no basis in Africa (and one Islamic name, Muhammad). He picked out styles of dress that count as illegitimate, seeing one style of dress as superior. The only example Dyson mentioned, though, is the unwillingness to pull pants up high enough to cover underwear, which I think does have a moral element. Flashing people just isn't socially appropriate, and that's not a racist attitude.

He went on to say that you can give an internal critique of things like promiscuity or drugs that can have a harmful effect on the black community, but you can't associate being a ho with being ghetto. The problem is in characterizing certain segments of society, especially poor, black Americans in cities, as morally inferior. But isn't Cosby just selecting some features that are morally bad and then saying that these are rife among black Americans within that segment of the community? He never says everyone in the ghetto is like that. Dyson just seems to be dancing around the issue. He's much happier complaining about stereotyping than he is to acknowledge that Cosby's real point is correct.

His criticisms of the stereotypes may in some cases be right, but he knows Cosby is right, and he basically says it without admitting that that's what Cosby is saying. He concluded his long rant by saying Cosby doesn't demand any responsibility of the dominant culture, which is just historically inaccurate. Cosby is a mainstream liberal. He's spent many years defending standard liberal approaches to race issues. Jesse Jackson wouldn't have given him the time of day if he hadn't. He's just recently decided to emphasize black responsibility as well. Bill Cosby is playing the role within the black community that prophets did in ancient Israel (without the divine appointment), and now those in power in that community are treating him in the only socially respectable way that parallels how Jeremiah and others who gave unpopular but genuine critiques of their own people.

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I heard Dyson at the Harlem Book Fair and it was nauseating. His holy/roller preacher solliloquy is all style with zippo content and substance. Cosby is the first black person in years to dare to ask African Americans to participate in some self-critical analysis. Something the Civil Rights leadership should have done decades ago. Instead, they preferred to remain cozy and comfy at the troth of white guilt, which by the way disappeared years ago when Reagan was elected. Dyson is a masterful con artist who stroked his way to high profile media status by massaging the egos and vanity of black women, a group who wouldn't know the truth if it smacked them upside their nappy heads.

I'm black and have lived in the community all my life. We're living through a time where youth have serious contempt for education. And all we get from leadership is that it's the fault of government and racism. I went to public school at the back end of the 50's. The schools were actually worse in terms of racist policies. But I learned the basics: reading, writing and arithmatic. Why? Because our parents sent us to school better behaved. Oh sure, there was always that 'element' that didn't learn. What you see today is their progeny. ("They don't die, they mulitply." Like rabbits.) Basically, they out procreated those in the black community who were trying their best to take advantage of all the things that the Civil Rights Movement accomplished. They're numbers have overwhelmed us and the last thing we need is Michael Eric Dyson massaging their arrogant, ignorant little egos more than they are doing it themselves. These people need to dig themselves. And that's what Bill Cosby is trying to accomplish. Perhaps, Cosby isn't the most articulate spokesperson for this job. But I'll take substance over style any day. Just to show you how bad things really are, it appears as if I'm the first to even respond to this blog. The community needs realize how pathetic we really are. The world is passing us by. Unless we do something fast!!!! If you're silly and lazy enough to wait for white people to give you what you think you deserve, guess what, mules will be extinct before we can get one and our 40 acres. I just wish more people would join the Coz's cause.

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