Saturday, April 26, 2008

Only They Can Save A
Troubled Black Community

Some of the easiest solutions to some of the toughest problems are saying some hard truths that no one really wants to hear, or so it would seem.

Comedian Bill Cosby and Superior Court Judge Marvin Arrington, who told whites to leave his courtroom as he lectured to young, troubled black defendants to change their ways, held a forum on Thursday, in Atlanta, Ga., reported CNN.

It should come to no surprise as to what the topic was about or who it was directed to: How the black community can help themselves and at-risk teenagers.

The Dynamic Duo told the 500-member, invitation-only audience that black adults have to start behaving like adults and offer real guidance to black youths. Arrington said he sees the same type of cases before him that are committed by blacks: Drug charges, murder and even incest. Cosby told the audience about young black girls having children and condemning rap, among other things.

Cosby in recent years has been known for airing out the black community’s dirty laundry and has received both praised and criticism for it. He says that the inner-city black culture of glorifying rap and gangster life is deteriorating not only the youth, but young adults. And sadly, it is just not the black community that has succumbed to this type of degenerate lifestyle: Other communities have too.

It is because of this culture that stylizes drugs and crime that ended the life of 17-year-old Jamiel Shaw Jr., a young black high school student in Los Angeles, who was murdered because he refused to answer a gang-themed question as he was walking home. Shaw was a bright student who had colleges and universities interested in his football skills and he was not involved with gangs, according to his family and the police.

The shame of it is, is that there are thousands of Jamiel Shaws out there and they don’t get the recognition or the credit that they deserve. Too often, hard work and dedication in the community, in school and in the home go unnoticed and underappreciated. Only obtaining “street cred” is more important or getting involved in other unsavory behavior is what really matters for too many.

That’s why real black leaders like Cosby and Arrington are some of the few who have decided to speak out against what they and many other see is the needless corrosion of the pillar in the black community. They are saying: Stop blaming somebody else for your problems and fix them yourselves.

And Cosby and Arrington have earned the right to say it. They worked hard and had nothing and look what they became of themselves: One is a successful comedian who holds a doctorate in education and the other is a respected superior court judge.

And only they can say it. The most well-intentioned white man can say the same things and he would be quickly and unfairly be labeled a racist, accused of being a member of the white separatist group Nationalist Movement and quickly discarded. But what can be said if a growing number of black men who worked their way up from nothing and through hard work achieved a respectable career? Sadly, they are called “sellouts” or “Uncle Toms” by their own race, which is even more perplexing. However, it is still harder to write them off.

Of course, Cosby and Arrington’s message to young and adult blacks of bettering themselves and taking responsibility for their own actions shouldn’t be restricted to their own race: Many can benefit from their old-fashion words of wisdom, despite their skin color or background.

It can be easy to see why many blacks have condemned Cosby for his frankness of the plight of the black community. After all, any group, either whites, Hispanics or Asians, would not want a member from their own community to tell the world of their own wrong doings or how it’s their own fault.

But maybe it’s time to stop worrying about what others are thinking and start caring more about the crumbling of our society and owning up to our mistakes and responsibilities. Clearly, these are hard truths that anyone can appreciate.