May 31, 2004

Equality is just as much a black responsibility as a white one.

Dr. Carol Swain, law and political science professor at Vanderbilt University, is putting the big hurt on the black educational status quo, much as Bill Cosby did a couple of weeks ago.

Swain was a part of a panel that met in New York City shortly after the 50th Anniversary of the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision, to talk about some of the obstacles facing students and schools in the urban landscape.

Swain identified affirmative action as currently practiced by universities -- lower admissions standards for blacks and Hispanics -- as part of the problem. These policies, she said, have "created a negative incentive structure for African-Americans who have either internalized societal messages about inferiority or have chosen an easier path of not exerting themselves too vigorously" since they don't have to meet higher standards.
A columnist for the Boston Globe later asked Swain in an e-mail exchange if she felt that she was being "used" by agenda-pushing conservatives -- not unlike so many liberals that feel that black conservatives do not have a mind of their own; that conservative blacks cannot come to conservative conclusions by themselves. Those same liberals, both black and white, use some of their most vindictive rhetoric against independent thinking black conservatives.
"Do liberal blacks worry about being tokens for the status quo?" she replied. "I doubt it. I call things the way I see them."

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May 19, 2004

For once, Cosby ain't so liberal...

Monday night, at Washington's Constitution Hall, Bill Cosby was part of a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision.

Some of his comments, though, didn't sit well with members of the Soul Patrol.

"Ladies and gentlemen, the lower economic people are not holding up their end in this deal," he declared. "These people are not parenting. They are buying things for kids -- $500 sneakers for what? And won't spend $200 for 'Hooked on Phonics.'...

"They're standing on the corner and they can't speak English," he exclaimed. "I can't even talk the way these people talk: 'Why you ain't,' 'Where you is' ... And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. And then I heard the father talk ... Everybody knows it's important to speak English except these knuckleheads ... You can't be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth!"

The Post's Hamil Harris reports that Cosby also turned his wrath to "the incarcerated," saying: "These are not political criminals. These are people going around stealing Coca-Cola. People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake and then we run out and we are outraged, [saying] 'The cops shouldn't have shot him.' What the hell was he doing with the pound cake in his hand?"

After Cosby's excoriation, NAACP head Kweisi Mfume came to the podium, accompanied by NAACP legal defense fund head Theodore Shaw and Howard University president H. Patrick Swygert. Their stony visages gave away their displeasure of Cosby's remarks.

Shaw told the crowd that most people on welfare are not African American, and many of the problems his organization has addressed in the black community were not self-inflicted. Figures. Taking responsibility is obviously not one of Shaw's strong suits.

All I can say is that it's about damn time that Cosby spoke up.

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