Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Let's Do it Again- The Cos is Back!

It's been a while since America's favorite father turned "denouncer of black morality" has been in the headlines. But have no fear the Cos is back, touting a new book called Come on People: On the Path from Victims to Victors. The work marks a new salvo in the one-time comedian's bitter old man routine, in which he chastises the black poor, single black mothers and black youth killed while allegedly stealing pastries. When Cosby first made his tirade a few years back, there were a few of us who found his hate speech distasteful. Many other black people however seemed to give in. Deciding that Cosby's "blame-the-victim" classist rant was spot on, they applauded his Colbert type "truthiness." Thankfully to sane minds everywhere, the past few years have seen a debunking of the "Cosby Thesis." Historians like Jelani Cobb would point out the fallacies in Cosby's claims, and others like Michael Eric Dyson questioned his sanity. Even academic studies have deconstructed Cosby's claims. But this didn't stop white America--and the mass media--from applauding the former comedian and philanthropist, that seemed to say everything they'd always believed and wanted to hear. Not surprisingly, with the release of this new book, Cosby is getting alot of airtime to explain why the black poor and black people in general are to blame for their own problems. Thankfully, once again, saner black minds are speaking out in criticism. A few of their articles are posted here.

In this article at the Black Agenda Report, Glen Ford gives both review and criticism of Cosby's new book. According to Ford, the book's co-author, noted psychiatrist Dr. Alvin Pouissant, helps soften the Cosby thesis by offering much needed caveats. I'm a bit suspect about that claim, as the Dr. Pouissant I am used to hearing from--long-time friend of Cosby and advisor to his television show--seems to uphold much of the ideologies of the Afro-stocracy. In any case, Ford still pulls no punches, and points out that in the end--even with Pouissant's assistance--the book itself remains misguided.

Black Psychiatrist's ‘Intervention' Calms Cosby
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

"When presented as a substitute for political action, books like Come On People are great diversions from the tasks at hand, and weapons to bludgeon Black people."

Bill Cosby is sounding (almost) calm and reasonable, these days, under the influence of Dr. Alvin Poussaint, respected Harvard psychiatrist and co-author with Cosby in a new book. Despite his improved demeanor, Cosby's blame-the-victim worldview remains compatible with the most rightwing foes of African Americans. The no-longer-funny comedian's hectoring and "burnished anecdotes of times past are near-useless as a guide to either personal behavior in the present, or organized community action." But the corporate media gorges itself on the red-meat of Cosby's Black-bashing - and that's all that matters for book sales. Dr. Poussaint can only do so much to fix a 70-year meanness.

full article:

Black Psychiatrist's 'Intervention' Calms Cosby"

In this article, Earl Ofari Hutchinson takes on the Cosby Thesis and his new book. Given what has been Hutchinson's seeming tilt to black conservatism in the past few years (see my own criticism of his articles during the Don Imus affair), I was pleasantly surprised to see that on this issue we are in general agreement. Hutchinson points out that Cosby's book serves as little more than a way to attack black people without giving due consideration to the 800 lb gorilla of white supremacy racism.

Bill Cosby's New Book Full of Racial Stereotypes

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson, AlterNet.

Posted October 15, 2007

Cosby's new book continues to tar black communities and the black poor as dysfunctional, chronic whiners, and eternally searching for a government hand-out.

Comedian Bill Cosby is the walking and now writing proof of the ancient adage that good intentions can go terribly awry. That's never been more painfully true than in Cosby's latest tome, Come on People.

Cosby and his publisher boast that the book is a big, brash, and provocative challenge to black folk to get their act together. That's got him ga ga raves, and an unprecedented one hour spin job on Meet the Press.

In the book, Cosby harangues and lectures, cobbles together a mesh of his trademark anecdotes, homilies, and personal tales of woe and success, juggles and massages facts to bolster his self-designated black morals crusade. Stripped away it's the same stock claim that blacks can't read, write or speak coherent English, and are social and educational cripples and failures.

full article:

Bill Cosby's New Book Full of Racial Stereotypes


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