- Created on 07 October 2013
by Aubrey J. Lynch
The title is a quote by Bill Cosby in a speech given on May 17, 2004 at an event sponsored by the NAACP commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Brown vs Board of Education. Mr. Cosby's point was, and continues to be, that black people need to take a good look at themselves and end what he believes to be our destructive practices that, in the considered opinion of Mr. Cosby, is at the root of the suffering of black people in America.
This phenomenally successful entertainer, entrepreneur, scholar and family man, holds the strong and well-publicized opinion that black people should pull up their pants, put their caps on straight, study hard, speak English correctly, take care of their children, conform to the norms of the US society and, by all means, stop blaming white people. If black people will do all of these things, then they can become full-fledged, productive members of this great nation. After all, Dr. Cosby is black and look how successful he has become.
I have tested variations of these sentiments with my own contemporaries, black males who graduated from college in the years between 1962 and 1972. I am completely disheartened by the prevalence of this kind of thinking among successful people. I have not yet heard one who goes beyond such thinking to examine the structural, cultural, societal and political determinants of success in America, especially in the years in question. To be fair, in a meaningful examination, we must limit our analysis to a well-defined period, since changes in society at large produce major changes in how people are likely to interpret cause and effect.
"You can't blame white people." The statement is a protest against the often heard lament, "White oppression is the cause of black troubles." Those who graduated in the early sixties would have lived to see, experience or hear lurid tales of the random terror inflicted on blacks by virtually any white person who chose to attack. The attack could be for whatever infraction the white person perceived or for no discernible reason. The society was structured such that there was no recourse for the injured black person. The white person was always deemed to be justified. Those of us who were in their formative years through the forties and fifties, have been seared with the terror that contact with white people could bring. A southern drawl, country music, the rebel flag, white hoods, burning crosses and stories of "strange fruit.," caused reactions in black people as predictable as a bell within hearing range of Pavlov's dogs. Black people know quite well the abuse of which a traditional white mindset is capable. It is, in effect, white terrorism.
In a society in which terrorists surround and torment their helpless victims, one would expect that mental illness would be rampant among the victims. I do not know of any investigation into the reasons why black people, as a culture, did not succumb to widespread mental illness, but instead, found ways to cope, to adjust, to endure, to survive, and then to prosper. They were able to do this in spite of being immersed in an unremitting sea of degradation and terror for which white people were solely, obviously and even proudly responsible. Arguably, that propensity to terrorize blacks still operates, though hidden, subtle, coded and plausibly deniable. Black people feel it intensely, even as whites deny it exists.
Those of us who lived through that period of open terrorism and survived to see the remarkable changes that have occurred in a lifetime, are often well aware that the changes did not come cheaply or as a result of an excess of humanity among white people. The fight has been long, often brutal and with many dead ends on the path to the current day. The terrorism could have resulted in symptoms among black people akin to post traumatic stress syndrome. A form of mental illness. Instead of a mental illness, the reactions of black people to the terrorists who surround us have resulted in behavior that does not conform to the norms of the dominant white society. These are the behaviors that Dr. Cosby describes and condemns.
My observation is that young black people know quite well that since both whites and successful blacks are telling them that they are wrong and to help themselves, there is no help on the way.
The good Dr. Cosby knows that history as well as I or any other black person who lived to feel the terror. For those, like Dr. Cosby, who are not only brilliant and talented, but likely had the benefit of circumstances that they don't think to mention, it is easy to give what they believe to be solid explanations for why the burden of picking oneself up rests solely on the backs of the downtrodden. However, it does not speak well of one who is so wealthy and secure to take it upon himself to admonish so publicly and persistently those who must survive under a continuing onslaught of criticism without help.
I would expect a great deal more than that from such a revered figure.
- Created on 04 October 2013
U.S. Capitol Police on motorcycles sit in front of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. The U.S. Capitol was temporarily locked down today after reports of gunfire outside the building. A female suspect was taken to a hospital after being shot by police, said Terrance Gainer, the Senate sergeant-at-arms. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images | Facebook
Several new reports point to possible motives for what caused a Connecticut woman to lead police on a car chase that ended in her death on Thursday.
"Law enforcement sources" told NBC News that Miriam Carey, 34, may have thought President Barack Obama was stalking her.
The sources also said Carey had a history of mental health issues. A law enforcement source told CNN that authorities found drugs at Carey's home used to treat schizophrenia and other mental disorders.
CBS News reports that Carey was fired from her job as a dental hygienist after she argued with her bosses over a handicapped parking space they felt she didn't need.
Carey's mother, Idella Carey, also told ABC News her daughter was suffering from post-partum depression.
On Thursday, police said Carey led them on a chase from the White House past the Capitol before being shot and killed by authorities.
"I'm pretty confident this was not an accident," Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said, according to the Associated Press.
Authorities don't suspect terrorism was a motive for Carey's actions.
- Created on 02 October 2013
Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama has invited congressional leaders to the White House on Wednesday to discuss the need to reopen the government and raise the federal debt ceiling, according to the White House and a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner.
The Boehner spokesman, Brendan Buck, confirmed the meeting was set for 5:30 p.m. ET.
"We're pleased the president finally recognizes that his refusal to negotiate is indefensible," Buck said. "It's unclear why we'd be having this meeting if it's not meant to be a start to serious talks between the two parties."
The meeting comes on the second day of a government shutdown caused by a stalemate triggered when House Republicans insisted on adding provisions to dismantle or delay Obamacare to a short-term spending measure needed to fund the government in the new fiscal year that started on Tuesday.
A White House official said Obama's message will be for Congress to pass a "clean" funding bill and debt ceiling measure.
- Created on 03 October 2013
Washington (CNN) -- The slogging efforts to resolve the federal government's budget crisis ground to a halt Thursday as shots rang out around the Capitol, forcing legislators and their staffs to call off any business and shelter in place.
The gunfire -- first reported around 2 p.m. ET -- prompted a lockdown of Capitol Hill buildings, as well as of the nearby Supreme Court. It also caused debate on the House and Senate floors to cease suddenly, with people soon thereafter told they could not leave, nor could anyone else come in. The lockdown was lifted around 3 p.m.
The incident comes on the third day of the government shutdown, which came after the two chambers of Congress failed to agree on a budget plan to send to President Barack Obama.
Earlier Thursday, Obama directly challenged House Speaker John Boehner to end the shutdown by bringing up a spending plan already approved by the Democratic-led Senate. Boehner, however, has steadfastly resisted other pleas in the past. Instead he has insisted that the Senate reconcile its plan with that of the Republican-led House, which includes provisions targeting the president's signature health care reform, the Affordable Care Act.
The president gave his latest pitch one day after these two men, as well as other Congressional leaders, met face-to-face for the first time since the budget impasse put 800,000 workers at risk of furloughs and caused increasing concerns over direct and collateral economic harm.
Back on the attack
In a campaign style-speech earlier Thursday in Rockville, Maryland, Obama was back on the attack against what he called the "reckless" strategy by Republicans that he said imperiled the nation's economic recovery from recession.
He insisted that the Senate version of a short-term spending plan to fund the government would pass the House with support from Democrats and some Republicans.
"The only thing that is keeping the government shut down, the only thing preventing people from going back to work, and basic research starting back up, and farmers and small business owners, getting their loans -- the only thing that's preventing all that from happening right now today, in the next five minutes, is that Speaker John Boehner won't even let the bill get a yes-or-no vote because he doesn't want to anger the extremists in his party," Obama said.
A conservative GOP wing has demanded that any spending measure include provisions to dismantle or defund Obamacare, the president's signature health care reforms passed by Democrats in 2010 and upheld by the Supreme Court last year.
The anti-Obamacare provisions caused the impasse, with Obama and Democrats refusing to link partisan demands to any plan to keep the government funded.
Cantor: GOP should stand its ground
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor urged his GOP colleagues to maintain their stand, issuing a memo that called the position of Obama and Democrats "untenable."
House Republicans would continue passing piecemeal funding measures for popular programs such as veterans affairs, national parks and medical research to keep up pressure on Senate Democrats who refuse to consider such measures in the ongoing stalemate, Cantor's memo said.
"While no one can predict with certainty how the current shutdown will be resolved, I am confident that if we keep advancing commonsense solutions to the problems created by the shutdown that Senate Democrats and President Obama will eventually agree to meaningful discussions that would allow us to ultimately resolve this impasse," Cantor said in the memo that a GOP source made available to CNN.
A conversation between two conservative GOP senators showed Republicans think they can win the debate. In the comments caught by live microphone, tea party backed Sen. Rand Paul tells his Kentucky GOP colleague, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, that continuing to hammer Democrats for refusing to consider GOP proposals would eventually succeed.
Proposal from moderates
Meanwhile, two moderate House members -- one Republican and one Democrat -- proposed a compromise Thursday that would fund the government for six months while eliminating a tax on medical devices in the health care reforms.
Senate Democrats quickly rejected the idea because it would link the health care reform provision to the need to fund the government now while extending deep mandatory budget cuts they oppose for half of the new fiscal year.
Instead, Obama and Democrats want to negotiate a broader budget deal that could include tax reforms and other matters, but only after the government is reopened through passage of a "clean" short-term spending plan with no anti-Obamacare provisions.
GOP moderates huddle as conservatives set agenda
In his speech, Obama urged Congress to "pass a budget that funds our government with no partisan strings attached." He also called on Republicans to support raising the federal debt ceiling, which must be increased by October 17 so that the United States does not default on its obligations.
"As reckless as a government shutdown is, an economic shutdown that results from default would be dramatically worse," Obama said, noting that Social Security checks and disability benefits would be affected.
"There will be no negotiations over this," the president said.
Obama was speaking to workers at at M. Luis Construction, in part to highlight impacts of the shutdown on small businesses. Many are suffering this week because some customers and clients -- idle federal workers or agencies -- aren't doing business.
- Created on 30 September 2013
Last August, Vickie and her son, Maurice, walked across the stage at a graduate ceremony in Minneapolis, Minnesota and were handed their doctorate degrees from Capella University.
Given their journey, Maurice said he could not have ever imagined the day he would earn such a high academic honor. "Never in a thousand, million, trillion years [did I expect to get my PhD]," Maurice said. "The thought of becoming a doctor anyone was far fetched."
Maurice's awe at his own success was only outdone by his mother's achievement.
"I never thought I would get chance to see my mother walk across the stage and then she turned around and saw me walk across the stage," he said.
Growing up in the small town of Waynesboro, Ga., Vickie said being a teenage parent was taboo. She remembers some of the older people in the community "whispering" about her, but that did not stop h...