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Topic: Walter Williams on Cosby

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  1. #1

    Walter Williams on Cosby

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    For those that are unfamiliar with Walter Williams, his website is at http://www.gmu.edu/departments/economics/wew/

    More interesting than his opinion on Cosby's comments are his opinions as to the current problems with the black community and the comment about black leadership trying to protect the image of African-Americans while Cosby is trying to protect their future. This is from the Cato Organization's website:


    Cheers for Cos
    by Walter E. Williams

    Walter E. Williams is an adjunct scholar with the Cato Institute and a nationally syndicated columnist.

    May 17 saw several gatherings commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court school desegregation decision in Brown vs. Board of Education.

    But the event held in D.C.'s Constitution Hall will be the one remembered because of Bill Cosby's remarks, which won him scathing criticism from some in the black community.

    For years, I've argued that most of the problems many black Americans face today have little or nothing to do with racial discrimination. Primarily, the most devastating problems encountered by a large segment of the black community are self-inflicted. Bill Cosby mentioned several of them, such as black parents who'll buy their children expensive clothing rather than something educational, poor language spoken by many children and adults, and criminals who prey on the overwhelmingly law-abiding residents of black neighborhoods.

    After Mr. Cosby's remarks, some in the audience laughed and applauded, but, according to The Washington Post, the black "leadership" in attendance, the head of the NAACP, the head of the NAACP legal defense fund and the president of Howard University were "stone-faced."

    In a recent column, my colleague Thomas Sowell explained, "Bill Cosby and the black 'leadership' represent two longstanding differences about how to deal with the problems of the black community. The 'leaders' are concerned with protecting the image of blacks, while Cosby is trying to protect the future of blacks, especially those of the younger generation."

    Bill Cosby and I differ in age by one year -- I'm older. We both spent part of our youth, in the 1940s and 1950s, growing up in North Philadelphia's Richard Allen housing project. Being poor then was different from being poor now.

    My sister and I were rare among Richard Allen's residents. Our parents were separated, but nearly every other kid lived in a two-parent household. Black teen pregnancy was relatively rare and just a tiny fraction of today's.

    During those days, many residents rarely locked their doors until the last person came home. Hot summer nights saw many people fearlessly sleeping in their yards or on their balconies.

    Today, less than 40 percent of black children live in two-parent families, compared to 70 percent and 80 percent in earlier periods. Illegitimacy, at 70 percent, is unprecedented in black history. Between 1976 and 2000, more than 50 percent of all homicides in the United States were committed by blacks, and 94 percent of the time the victim was black. These are devastating problems. But are they caused by racism, and will spending resources fighting racial discrimination solve them?

    Don't give me any of that legacy-of-slavery nonsense unless you can explain why all these problems were not worse during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, at a time when blacks were much closer to slavery, were much poorer, faced more discrimination and had fewer opportunities.

    With all the opportunities available today, unavailable when Bill Cosby and I were growing up, black youngsters who dedicate themselves to academic excellence are attacked both verbally and sometimes physically for "acting white" and for being "Oreos" and "brainiacs."

    University of California Berkeley Professor John McWhorter says, "Insidious anti-intellectualism is the prime culprit in the school-performance gap between whites and blacks, which cuts across class and income lines." He adds that the rap music culture "retards black success by the reinforcement of hindering stereotypes and teaching young blacks that a thuggish adversarial stance is the properly authentic response to a presumptively racist society."

    In at least two important ways, black America is a study of contrasts. By any measure, as a group, black Americans have made greater gains over some of the highest hurdles in the shortest time of any other racial group in human history.

    At the same time, for a large segment of the black community, these gains are elusive and will remain so under the current civil rights vision.

    Bill Cosby's bold comments might be what's necessary to get an honest and fruitful discussion going within the black community. And for that, we all owe him thanks.

  2. #2

    Re: Walter Williams on Cosby

    I welcome different perspectives on this problem. I think Cosby makes some valid points. But African Americans will not "break out of the ghetto" without some help. It is very difficult for many African Americans to get a good education. They need much better funded schools and better teachers. Teachers in many neighborhoods are simply disciplinarians and not teachers. These kids have no chance. Their parents never got a good education either, so they are doomed. White people that own record companies block any intellectual or political artists from reaching the mainstream. Instead, they encourage rap artists who emphasize the worst in black culture. Bush wants school vouchers, useless tests and didn't even know that there were black people in Brazil. We need a real education president, not the fake one we have now.

  3. #3

    Re: Walter Williams on Cosby

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Phoenix
    IThese kids have no chance. Their parents never got a good education either, so they are doomed. White people that own record companies block any intellectual or political artists from reaching the mainstream.
    I knew it was all Whitey's fault.

    Kill Whitey!

  4. #4

    Re: Walter Williams on Cosby

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Phoenix
    I welcome different perspectives on this problem. I think Cosby makes some valid points. But African Americans will not "break out of the ghetto" without some help. It is very difficult for many African Americans to get a good education. They need much better funded schools and better teachers. Teachers in many neighborhoods are simply disciplinarians and not teachers. These kids have no chance. Their parents never got a good education either, so they are doomed. White people that own record companies block any intellectual or political artists from reaching the mainstream. Instead, they encourage rap artists who emphasize the worst in black culture. Bush wants school vouchers, useless tests and didn't even know that there were black people in Brazil. We need a real education president, not the fake one we have now.
    School vouchers are designed so that parents can get their children out of failing schools...your post infers that there is a negative to vouchers?

    Bush has increased Education spending by 60%, which proves again that the Dept of Education is a failure. Better to send the money back to the states for them to give teachers reaises, buy supplies, etc.

  5. #5

    Re: Walter Williams on Cosby

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Phoenix
    It is very difficult for many African Americans to get a good education. They need much better funded schools and better teachers.
    I disagree. I think the problem is more cultural as stated by Mr. Williams. It's the anti-intellectualism that infests those schools - not a lack of money. I remember seeing a report a few years ago about an urban school which had received millions of dollars in funding to try and improve the school's performance. They built a HUGE, modern facility with all kinds of things that most schools don't have. It was probably the most advanced, well-funded primary school in the state (I think it was New York), but guess what? Grade scores didn't change, and I think they actually fell a bit. The problem wasn't funding.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Walter Williams on Cosby

    Quote Originally Posted by Brady Wright
    I disagree. I think the problem is more cultural as stated by Mr. Williams. It's the anti-intellectualism that infests those schools - not a lack of money. I remember seeing a report a few years ago about an urban school which had received millions of dollars in funding to try and improve the school's performance. They built a HUGE, modern facility with all kinds of things that most schools don't have. It was probably the most advanced, well-funded primary school in the state (I think it was New York), but guess what? Grade scores didn't change, and I think they actually fell a bit. The problem wasn't funding.
    A sampling of one does not make an ironclad case for causality.

  7. #7

    Re: Walter Williams on Cosby

    Of course not. But the example still stands. Or do you expect me to apologize for contributing a real-world observation and test case to the exchange?

    If we don't deal with the cultural problem that exists, no amount of money will get the results we're after.

  8. #8

    Re: Walter Williams on Cosby

    You guys amaze me. Endlessly defending indefensible positions. It's like a debate class.

    These things will take time. Children of uneducated parents have a tough road. The children of educated parents are already so far ahead of the rest when they begin kindergarten. It just gets worse from there on in. My son just finished kindergarten and he can read fluently and add and subtract 3 digit numbers. This is because my wife insisted on no TV and read to him all the time. This is not happeneing in the black community and it won't for atleast one generation. But we need to kickstart it. Many high school teachers in LA are simply trying to keep the kids from hurting eachother. The parents are working 2 jobs and just trying to get by. They are teaching at a sixth grade level in grade 12. How do I know this? First hand, from one of these teachers. Funding? That's a joke. Some of these schools have no heat, many broken windows and toxic, portable classrooms. Brady's one example is a fluke and irrelevant because it will take generations for it to work.

  9. #9

    Re: Walter Williams on Cosby

    From what you describe, Nick, it seems that most of the obstacles are cultural ones, not financial ones. Federal control of local education isn't going to fix that. And if the Feds get control, if you thought media control was bad, you ain't seen nothin' yet!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Walter Williams on Cosby

    Quote Originally Posted by Brady Wright
    Of course not. But the example still stands. Or do you expect me to apologize for contributing a real-world observation and test case to the exchange?

    If we don't deal with the cultural problem that exists, no amount of money will get the results we're after.
    Oh, please.

    If those little black kids would just stop listening to rap music, behave better, and study harder--and of course, get right with the Lord, we'd have no problems.

    Better?

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