Riposte

Professor Michael Eric Dyson is the author of a book entitled “Is Bill Cosby Right?” which discusses Mr. Cosby’s social commentary regarding problems in impoverished black communities. His comments have drawn fire from people who say that he places too much blame on the decisions and actions of the community itself and that he is in effect blaming the victim. So this professor (also a black guy) wrote a book dissing Cosby and the introduction appears in this article. I am selecting and responding to snippets of his stuff:

we must never lose sight of the big social forces that make it difficult for poor parents to do their best jobs and for poor children to prosper

“Social forces” means somebody else is in control. This is the setup to the victim argument.

Of course, the ink and applause Cosby has won rest largely on a faulty assumption: that he is the first black figure to stare down the “pathology” that plagues poor blacks. But to believe that ignores how figures from black intellectual W.E.B. Du Bois to civil rights leader Jesse Jackson

Wrong. It is not assumed that Bill Cosby is the first one to do this. He’s just the most prominent person to do this in a while. In his biography Malcolm X also addressed problems in the black community in a manner that were even more scathing than Cosby’s. No one really made a huge issue about it though because who in their right mind wanted to get into a debate with Malcolm? He had ‘intellectuals’ like this guy for lunch.

While Cosby took full advantage of the civil rights struggle, he resolutely denied it a seat at his artistic table. Thus it’s hard to swallow Cosby’s flailing away at youth for neglecting their history, and overlooking the gains paid for by the blood of their ancestors, when he reneged on its service when it beckoned at his door.

Here we go. Bill Cosby owed his efforts to the civil rights movement. He’s not a free individual. He’s owned by the people for the greater good. Collectivist trappings.

And what do we make of their criminal children? Cosby’s “courage” does not fail. “In our own neighborhood, we have men in prison … I’m talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit. Where were you when he was two? Where were you when he was twelve? Where were you when he was eighteen, and how come you don’t know he had a pistol?”

God forbid, Cosby expects parents to raise their children right. He’s the devil!

Usually the sort of bile that Cosby spilled is more expertly contained, or at least poured on its targets in ways that escape white notice.

Don’t say true things loud enough for white people to hear them!

Cosby’s overemphasis on personal responsibility, not structural features, wrongly locates the source of poor black suffering — and by implication its remedy — in the lives of the poor.

It’s the rich people’s fault. Poor people don’t have any say-so in how their lives turn out. They’re born into it. And that’s why I’m a migrant worker.

For instance, Cosby completely ignores shifts in the economy that give value to some work while other work, in the words of William Julius Wilson, “disappears.” In our high-tech, high-skilled economy where low-skilled work is being scaled back, phased out, exported, or severely under-compensated, all the right behavior in the world won’t create better jobs with more pay.

It’s the economy’s fault!

Cosby has said that he’s not worried about how the white right wing might use his speech, but it certainly fits nicely with their twisted views of the black poor.

Don’t confront problems cuz white folks are listening!

Cosby also contends that black folk can’t blame white folk for our plight. His discounting of structural forces and his exclusive focus on personal responsibility, and black self-help, ignore the persistence of the institutional racism Cosby lamented in his dissertation.

One glaring argument against this: Lots of people make it out of bad situations by making the right moves. Maybe the people who make it out of the ghetto are the real traitors because they make all the others look bad and they are a danger to professors who have made a career out of trotting out the victim argument. Hmmm.

12 Responses to “Riposte”

  1. Cosmic Siren says:

    Do this guy still live in the ghetto, I wonder?

  2. Mexigogue says:

    Of course not. He came from a long line of professors. If any of his progenitors had ever been poor it would have victimized everyone after that.

  3. Cosmic Siren says:

    Ah. The caste re-inforcement system. The poorer people should not be encouraged to take control of their own lives because it will infringe on the upper echelons.

  4. Mexigogue says:

    Exactly. If you read that article (long article, I don’t recommend it) he continuously uses terms like “class-war” and trash like that.

  5. Citizen Quasar says:

    Professor Michael Eric Dyson is scum.

  6. Mexigogue says:

    Normally people named Michael are kick ass individuals. But there’s always the anomalies.

  7. guy in the UNLV jacket says:

    That guy is good… I would like to subscribe to his news letter

  8. Phelps says:

    I love the part where he talks about Cosby turning his back on the blood of his ancestors. Cosby was born in 37. He was one of the “ancestors” this knucklehead is bragging about. What a nitwit.

  9. phelps says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! HOU is muthafuckinchoke city! Stank bitches! Fuckin Yao couldn’t hit a free throw if he… I’m too drunk to think of something, but you know what I mean. He shoots free throws like Shaq!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  10. Shaq says:

    Sometimes words sting just as much as a fist.

  11. TB says:

    ahhahahahahhaha.. Shaq and Phelps are killin me.

    Strong work here mexislayer.

    The Coz comin out against the victim mentality of the “black leadership” is akin to… well… whoever us honkeys consider to be the pinnacle of greatness (perhaps JCVD?).

    Nonetheless, what a shot in the anus the Coz’ has given those who PROFIT off the impovertization of their “own” people.

    \m/

  12. Bill Cosby says:

    Don’t to forget to eat your jello pudding