Monday, October 15, 2007

Cosby's new book

From MSNBC.com, excerpts from Bill Cosby's new book (with Alvin F. Poussaint), Come on People: On the Path from Victims to Victors. The link also allows you access to chapter 1.

An overview:

[The authors] have a message for families and communities as they lay out their visions for strengthening America, or for that matter the world. Their new book hopes to address the crises of people who are stuck because of feelings of low self-esteem, abandonment, anger, fearfulness, sadness, and feelings of being used, undefended and unprotected. These feelings often impede their ability to move forward. The authors aim to help empower people make the daunting transition from victims to victors.

Excerpts...

On what it takes: “What will it take to pull our people out of poverty? What will get us to contemplate a life with brighter dreams? What will inspire us to pursue the future as if it mattered? How will we learn to respect ourselves and help each other? What will it take for us to become entrepreneurs and to run businesses that will serve the community, not destroy it? We ask these questions only because we think there are answers, real ones, attainable ones.”

On criticism: “Certain people tell us that we are picking on the poor. Many of those who accuse us are scholars and intellectuals, upset that we are not blaming everything on white people as they do. Well, only blaming the system keeps certain black people in the limelight but it also keeps the black poor wallowing in victimhood.”

On raising children: “All black parents can do right by their children, and all black children can succeed. There is no reason why not. Use standard English when you have your kids together, not Black English. They’ll hear enough of that in the streets…Watch the movie My Fair Lady. All cultures discriminate against people who have not mastered the standard language, and when race is involved, it is all that much harder for a nonstandard speaker to feel competent or even at home in the culture.”

On the media: “Some of the most negative images of African Americans on TV and in the movies seem to be the most popular among young people—black and white. With both good and bad media out there, you have to help select media for kids that will support their successes and suppress their urge to give up or drop out.”

On black men: “Gangsta rap makes our young people tough, but not so tough they can walk through prison walls. It can jazz them about sex, but it can’t begin to make them a good father. No matter how often, or how publicly they grab their crotches, crotch-grabbing isn’t even going to get them a bus ride downtown. When all is said and done, the black child is our future. It’s time for us men to think of the future, to straighten out our acts, to say to ourselves, I am more interested in raising my child than any other issue I had before. I’m going to behave or get help, but it’s about the child. No matter how useless or hopeless a father may think he is, his role is simply to be there. If he makes that commitment, he is a much better man than he thought he was.”

On “victimhood”: “Sometimes people with a victim mentality feel hopeless and do self-destructive things that make their lives even worse. It is time to redirect that energy. It is time to think positively and act positively. Black communities and families must provide our youth with the love and guidance that keeps them strong and on that positive path. Blaming white people can be a way for some black people to feel better about themselves but it doesn’t pay the electric bills.”

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