Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Speak up & act or remain silent & waste away

Have you heard what Dr. Bill Cosby said recently? At a recent ceremony commemorating Brown vs. Board of Education, he came down pretty hard on some African Americans.

According reports, he said (among other things):

"These people marched and were hit in the face with rocks to get an education and now we've got these knuckleheads walking around. I can't even talk the way these people talk, 'Why you ain't,' 'Where you is'...and I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. And then I heard the father talk ... Everybody knows it's important to speak English except these knuckleheads. You can't be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth"

Strong words, but he may be on to something. Sure, segregation is wrong. Sure, racism is evil. At some point, however, each of us needs to take the bull by the horns and do something for ourselves.

In terms of rationale, he said: "I feel that I can no longer remain silent. If I have to make a choice between keeping quiet so that conservative media does not speak negatively or ringing the bell to galvanize those who want change in the lower economic community, then I choose to be a bell ringer."

We can debate his tone all day, but his message is right on. As Rev. Conrad Tillard said, "What's so true about what he said is slavery and the pathology of Jim Crow have absolutely hurt us, but at the end of the day, we have got to turn the tide."

This isn't just true with regard to race in America, but almost everything from our everyday interactions to our national policy: it's up to us; we must take command of our own behaviors.

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