Monday, March 5, 2007

The Shadow of Death - Everyone say it with me...

"Bill Cosby was right."

Once more with feeling...

"Bill Cosby was right!"

Coming soon to a Watauga, TX courtroom will be a case that will bear out the veracity of that statement, as by now we all have the disturbing video of two children - babies really, at ages 2 and 5 - who were given marijuana to smoke by 18-year old Vanswan Polty, and 17-year old Demetris McCoy, the uncle of the two younger boys. According to the Houston Chronicle, the video was confiscated pursuant to an investigation of local robberies. Both Polty and McCoy were arrested and face charges of injury to a child.

Timing is everything, and history has an uncanny sense for timing. This video was discovered on February 22, 2007, the very same day that the National Center for Education Statistics published NAEP scores for 12th-graders; as has become commonplace, black 12th-graders lagged behind their peers in both reading and math, as discussed here. (Even within the same school, where per-pupil spending would be presumed to be the same, blacks underperform relative to their white and Asian classmates.) In observing this juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated events, the only critique of Mr. Cosby's position that does not strain credulity is that he was too circumspect in placing blame solely on the black underclass. For it is not just poor blacks who have failed the race. Indeed, middle-class blacks, particularly those who are invested in the current government education system have also failed.

We observe the effects of timing even as we note that this tape was uncovered just a day before AsianWeek published Kenneth Eng's "Why I Hate Blacks," as discussed elsewhere.
It informs much that of the three events that have been referenced, the only one that warranted the attention of the now deposed ex-President of the NAACP was the publication of Mr. Eng's silly attempt at satire. That Bruce Gordon was able to sleep the sleep of the blissfully ignorant on the night of the 22nd, his slumber disturbed only by the brain droppings of a feckless hack, speaks volumes about the distorted priorities of the civil rights community at present.

In his exile to Patmos, Elbe (or perhaps Prince Georges County), Mr. Gordon spoke of the NAACP being at a crossroads. It is his sense that the NAACP must decide if it will be a organ of service (i.e., facing post-civil rights challenges within the black community) or advocacy (e.g., quixotically tilting at the windmills of heretofore unremediable external "obstacles" that hinder the progress of blacks.) Gordon seemed convinced that the path to the future relevance for the NAACP bent towards providing tangible service to the African American community. Evidently, Julian Bond and others on the 64-person Board of Directors disagreed.

Perhaps Messrs. Bond and Gordon have created for themselves a false choice by not considering the full scope of options. To be sure, Mr. Cosby has only spoken of the problem in half-measures.
Thanks to the inopportune interventions of the countercultural Left in the 1960s, the black community has trembled in the shadow of death intellectually, physically and spiritually. And now there is little within black "culture" that commends it to the future. By my lights, nothing short of a cultural revolution within black America is in order, as the current mores of African American society must be overthrown and uprooted. To do this, the black community will require organizations that can provide service to those who have been failed and underserved by liberalism; one only hopes that a new NAACP will be part of these efforts. The new paradigm will emphasize more service to self and kind, and less "mau-mauing" to indifferent and/or ineffectual governments.

But something else will be required, something more like a period of reckoning - a "wandering in the wilderness" experience if you will. In as much as it has provided incentives for dysfunctional behavior, liberalism has made the African in America unfit to stand on his own. The race hangs precariously on the branch of self-indulgent progressive "largess," having neither legs to stand on the ground nor wings to take flight to the sky. It is evident that before we can stand, we must fall back to earth. And from that place of humility, we can better set ourselves to finishing the good and perfect work that was started for us the day the first African slaves landed at Jamestown, Virginia. This work has been abandoned too long, and the fields of uplift for African Americans are fallow. But if we survive the fall, we will soon be able to stand, and if we can stand we can stride to our rightful place among the the races.

All we have to lose is our useless pride. Wise men and ancient proverbs tell us that pride goeth before the fall.

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