Tuesday, July 06, 2004

The Attacks on Cos Cosby's comments (to paraphrase) were generally pointing out that thereare many issues of culture within the African American community (generally defined), that are preventing African Americans from achieving more, and attaining better opportunities in life. But many are attacking him for this assessment from the left not to mention from within African American communities. I believe him to be correct in that assessment. I also believe it will always be more effective for a member of a group to make critical assertions than for outsiders to do so. For example, if I were to stand up and say "the cause of inequality for YOUR group is YOUR attitudes, values, beliefs, norms, etc...," there will always be the question of whether I am being ethnocentric, regardless of the accuracy of my comments. If on the other hand, I say "the cause of OUR inequality is OUR attitudes, values, belief, norms, etc....," then at the most, I can be viewed as a disloyal member of MY group. In the first case, if I am right, the question of prejudice will nonetheless remain (e.g., others will think "it sounds like you are saying you folk must give up your ways and be more like us..."). In the second case, if I am right, there will inevitably be many in my group who have made the same observations and conclusions, and so the issue becomes whether or not WE wish to change. And there are many African Americans, both leaders, and lay people, making the same claim as Cosby everyday. While in the ideal world, all that should matter is the color of the comments, not the color of the commentator, we do not live in a color blind society, sorry Ronnie. So I think it very appropriate of Cosby to raise this issue to the level of a National concern FOR African AMericans, and to suggest its resolution must come FROM African Americans.
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