Essays in Response to Bill Cosby's Comments About African American Failure

Author: Mohamed, Theresa A.
Year:2007
Pages:192
ISBN:0-7734-5770-4
978-0-7734-5770-6
Price:159.95
Speaking at the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, Bill Cosby criticized the behavior of low-income African Americans for their lack of self-development, speaking in what some termed a condescending and disparaging tone. This collection is not so much a response to Cosby’s remarks as it is an examination of the problem from multiple perspectives; it draws on the sociological, psychological, educational, economic, and historical gaze because the lack of self-development in many black communities is, indeed, a dilemma for all concerned members of the African American community. This collection considers how some sections of the community are intervening and what more needs to be done to address this problem. It also seeks to offer a direction for those who are concerned about the plight of black youth and the future of African Americans as a people. These individuals include teachers, administrators, educators, youth workers, community workers, parents, and anyone who is working with African American youth.

Reviews

“Is black academic excellence a form of imitation of white values? Bill Cosby repudiates the equation. Although his formulation of the issue could have been made less provocative, he was indeed raising an important issue. Has the achievement motive among African Americans been severely damaged by the history of enslavement and racism? How can African Americans now transcend those inhibitions? ... The chapters in this collection also wrestle with the issue of transformation and contribute some very useful thoughts and approaches for outlining a way forward. Dialogue and action must continue; however, this compilation is an admirable beginning.” – Professor Ali A. Mazrui, State University of New York at Binghamton; Professor-at-Large Emeritus, Cornell University; Professor-at-Large, University of Jos, Nigeria; Chancellor, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya

“Confronting controversy head-on, this volume provides a multi-layered perspective that can and should frame the debate sparked by Bill Cosby’s well-publicized criticism of low-income black Americans. Expanding on Mr. Cosby’s singular focus on personal responsibility, the authors of the [essays in] this text examine the structural, cultural, and historical barriers as well as the impact of the conservative policy agenda on the lives and opportunities of marginalized ‘Others’ made visible only in controversy, crime, or disaster. This volume is a thoughtful synthesis that will help turn controversy into useful and productive dialogue.” – Professor Ralphaline Banks, Syracuse University

“This book’s milieu of hope is refreshing and essential. In answering the question ‘where do we go from here?’ the common response from all the contributors is both a call to dialogue and a call to action. To this end, the contributors empower readers with cogent information to shatter the stereotypes about African American youth, and they invite readers to adopt broad analytical perspectives and take effective steps to intervene in order to engender change. This book is timely and very informative, and the editor successfully meets the goal of offering a direction for educators, parents, community workers and anyone concerned with the plight of African American youth.” – Professor Ibipo Johnston-Anumonwo, State University of New York at Cortland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Foreword by Ali A. Mazrui
1. Introduction – Theresa A. Mohamed
2. Psychological Perspectives: Bridging the Gap in Social Issues – Leona M. Johnson
3. Why Do They Act Like That? Understanding the Context – Zaline M. Roy-Campbell
4. Whites Talk White Privilege: Penetrating the Silence – G. Rasheeda Ayanru
5. Hey, hey, hey (yo): The Real Fat Albert Speaks Ebonics (and he ain’t no knucklehead) – Scooter Pégram and John Gunn
6. In Response to Bill Cosby’s Statement on African American Failure: An Opportunity to Dialogue – Theresa A. Mohamed
7. Bill Cosby, Poor African Americans, and Criminal Justice System of Control – Wilson Edward Reed and Rebecca Callahan
8. Substance Abuse in African American Communities – Ednita Wright
9. Reading, Reparations and Responsibility – Ray Winbush