He was never just a television star. He was the first real television role model for black America. He didn't make his way into America's hearts with anger but with humor. He didn't win over whites by laughing about all our racial differences but about our common humanity. The "generational warfare" isn't coming from Cosby, but from the "thug life" theorists selling the black community nothing but hate, greed and lust to a thumping rap beat -- three serious obstacles to black progress.
Some intellectualizing types are actually suggesting Cosby failed to grasp that ungrammatical English -- or ignorance to the ear of the average American -- is actually precious folklore. On ABC's "Good Morning America," Time magazine cultural critic Christopher John Farley explained that he respected standard English, "but I think it's also important to respect nonstandard English. I think it has an important role to play in the development of language, and we should respect that. In terms of Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston ... even the music of Bob Marley uses nonstandard English to create poetry and to bring joy to people."
Do you suppose Mr. Farley earned his job at Time magazine talking or writing that kind of "poetry"? Would his editors today respect his use of "non-standard English" if he employed it for next week's magazine? If it isn't acceptable for Mr. Farley in the workplace, how dare he encourage it for black children!
Bill Cosby has given millions of his own fortune back to the black community, but his words and actions might mean more than the money. His television career has done more than entertain. It has helped build a multiracial culture demanding excellence as well as racial harmony. Cosby's critics are offering the opposite: excuses instead of excellence, rage instead of humanity. He deserves a nationwide standing ovation for speaking out.
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