Cosby speaks out

Kudos to Bill Cosby for saying in no uncertain terms what white people can't say without being called everything from a Klansman to a slave owner to a Nazi and what far too many black people won't say.

Cosby was speaking at a Washington gala to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court case which declared that racial segregation in education was unconstitutional.

While no one argues with the intent of the Brown case, it's unseen ramifications are another matter entirely. See these three articles for a better treatment of the subject than I could ever hope to provide.

In attendance at the event were several noted leaders of the black community including NAACP President Kweisi Mfume and Legal Defense Fund head Theodore Shaw.

I won't chronicle Cosby's statements here - they've been widely reported elsewhere (my favorite link so far is here because of some of the insightful comments, many from black educators) - but I would like to thank him for championing personal responsibility and (hopefully) starting a much needed dialogue in this country about the problems that we, as a country, face when dealing with racial differences. With his remarks, Cosby put some of it out in the open where it can't be ignored or swept under the rug, although it's taken the media most of a week to start giving it any play.

What pains me is that he had to say anything of the sort. It's distressing that it's necessary. It's frustrating, as well as morally wrong, that I can't say the same thing. While I have long subscribed to a colorblind mentality and try to implement it in my life, it becomes increasingly harder when I see members of different racial groups willingly segregating themselves, not buying into the opportunities that were once denied them but no longer are and, worst of all, embracing ideas and opinions that would be absolutely wrong, if not downright criminal, if posited by other groups.

Members of different racial and ethnic groups bring with them a wide array of cultural experiences and ideas and we all have a lot to learn from each other. Unfortunately, for many reasons, there are walls between us. But how can we honestly expect to tear down those walls without being able to openly discuss what they are and how they are perceived from each side. (I'll rant about the loss of the Melting Pot at some later date.)

But, alas. We seem to have reached a point in this country where you can't disagree with someone (about many issues - not just race) without being called hateful, bigoted, murderer, judgmental, fascist, etc. How have we come to this point? I find it hard to believe that there is not enough substance to both sides of an issue that honest debate needs to be circumvented by resorting to playground name calling. Then again, maybe that's exactly the problem. Many times these are emotional issues and people grab that and run with it, not taking the time to justify their outrage with facts. And some people just want something to be mad about and don't want to have that taken away from them. I've been guilty of that myself. I'm getting better.

Anyway, I'm getting a bit tangential to my main point.

I've yet to be able to find a transcript of Cosby's full speech and I would very much like to read it in its entirety so I can get the full context of his statements. If anyone stumbles across it in their travels, please point me to a link.