Bill Cosby Op-Ed gets cold reception

bill-cosby-400He's at it again! Bill Cosby would really like you young whippersnappers to stop it with the sagging pants and the rap music and the being poor. Also, get off his lawn.

In a rather rambling op-ed he wrote for the New York Post, Cosby says that the problem plaguing our communities isn't racism or oppression or anything big like that -- it's apathy. "There is this situation where people tend to think that we are all victims," he writes. "Victim meaning somebody else is doing this to us. That's not true." He goes on to shake his finger at people who smoke and drink soda and kids who curse and disrespect people on subways. He concludes that if we "behave better, eat better, we will feel better, think clearly," and ta-daa! Problems solved.

Bill Cosby has been lecturing blacks on what they're doing wrong in life for some time now, and he's still trying to kill a tree by snipping at its leaves rather than going for the root. Coming from a white person, his "stop being a victim and pick yourself up by your bootstraps" rhetoric would be decried as racist just as soon as it reached our ears. But, since it's Bill Cosby, beloved TV father and fellow black man, I'm assuming this is just "tough love."


3 questions for Clarence Thomas

clarence thomas-400He wore a black beret and army fatigues, warned people that a revolution was coming and memorized the speeches of Malcolm X.

"I now believed that the whole of American culture was irretrievably tainted by racism," he once said, describing his reaction to the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Soon, that same man is expected to help the U.S. Supreme Court bury two pillars of the civil rights movement: the Voting Rights Act and affirmative action.


Why Mrs. Obama got heckled

LZ granderson-160(CNN) – I'm a big fan of Michelle Obama's, but if she's going to be hitting the circuit to raise money for Democrats, she has to be prepared for heckling. Especially heckling from gay rights activists like the one who interrupted her speech Tuesday night.

"Lesbian looking for federal equality before I die." That's how Ellen Sturtz, the woman identified as the heckler, identified herself.

Apparently the first lady's husband said something about signing an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating based on sexual orientation and gender identity.


Women as breadwinners: new study stirs debate

womenbreadwinners-400A couple of weeks ago, a frustrated single woman wrote into "Ask Demetria," the other column I write for The Root each Thursday, to, well, ask if she should only date men who made as much as, or more money than, she does. She has been open to entertaining men whose income is lower than hers, but she's noticed friction. I suggested that it wasn't the money that was the issue; it was the self-confidence – or, rather, the lack of self-confidence – of the guys she had encountered.

The good news is that there are plenty of men who don't care if a woman makes more money. The bad news? According to a 2013 Pew Research study, 28 percent of adults said they agreed it's generally better for a marriage if the husband earns more money than his wife. Eighteen percent of college-educated adults felt the same.


Cornel West: They say I’m un-American

cornel-west-obama-400In an interview with The Guardian that covered everything from Britain's future, to the ways in which he says white supremacy operates in America, Cornel West was characteristically blunt in his criticism of the Obama administration, announcing that he and "Team Obama" no longer speak because "They say I'm un-American."

Despite having campaigned for Obama, West said he'd now rather have a "white president fundamentally dedicated to eradicating poverty and enhancing the plight of working people than a black president tied to Wall Street and drones."

A few excerpts:


‘No’ to 2 Moms and 2 Dads

R Jackson-160Lately, I have been stressing the importance of preserving the sanctity of the traditional family – mother, father and children. There is not one example throughout the history of the world of a society prospering without an intact family unit. Susie can't have two moms nor can Jimmy have two dads.

Liberals would argue that is not the case and that society must "evolve" with the times we now live in. Nothing can be further from the truth. As a matter of fact, one need look no further than the words of MSNBC talk show host, Melissa Perry, a radical feminist of irrational proportions.

MSNBC has been running a series of promotional ads featuring their various TV hosts. Here is what Perry said in her most recent ad (I am not making this up)"


Raise the minimum wage now

minimum wage-600"Despite working a full-time job, many low-wage workers still live in poverty. This isn't right." – Rep. George Miller

In recent years, there has been a renewed focus on income inequality in America, most notably with the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has lost much of its momentum. But what might have been lost in that principled attempt to point out the excesses of Wall Street and the growing power of the 1 percent, is the importance of raising the living standards of the working poor through a long overdue raise in the minimum wage.

Now those voices are rising, too.


Slideshow: The strange face of Jim Crow

3jimcrow-400From Sambo ads to Mammy jars to lynching postcards, the propaganda that reinforced segregation.

Captions by: Henry Louis Gates Jr.


Cheerios ad: black dad, white mom, predictable response

cheerios-interracial-ad-400It's definitely not the first of its kind, but this Cheerios ad featuring an interracial family (black dad, white mom, mixed kid) is definitely rare enough that it's getting noticed. Over at Reddit, it has already sparked a conversation that has cycled through everything from "Finally!" to "Who cares" to "Call me when it's a black woman married to a white man" to "I don't buy products based on their god d*mn social views." And then there's a whole discussion about why Dad wasn't a "stereotypical" black man. Whatever that means.

If you ask us, the quality of discourse around the spot suggests that many Americans need a lesson in racial literacy as much as they need the cholesterol-lowering grains General Mills is pushing.


Gay hate crimes: Are African Americans less sympathetic?

blacksgayhatecrime-400When James Byrd, a black man, was dragged to his death in Texas in 1998 by a group of men later identified as having white-supremacist tendencies, African Americans were outraged. Most Americans were.

That same year, another horrifying hate crime captured the attention of the nation, when gay student Matthew Shepard was murdered by a group of men in Wyoming. The circumstances of Byrd's and Shepard's tragic deaths perfectly capture the shared challenges that African Americans and gay Americans face in a world in which power is still predominantly held by straight, white males.

Their deaths also perfectly illustrate why the historical tension that has existed between the two communities makes so little sense when a bottom-line reality exists for both: You can be killed for being the wrong color or the wrong sexual orientation.


Miguel’s sweeping accusation about black folks sets Twitter abuzz

miguel2-400Miguel has been having a tough time on Twitter lately. First he was immortalized as a meme via countless photoshopped pictures after kicking some fans in the face during the BillBoard Music Awards. Now he's being dragged through the fire after making a blanket statement about black people.

"I'm proud of my heritage," he wrote, "but honestly black people are the most judgmental people in the world." Instantaneously, black people responded in offense and anger. It wasn't immediately evident what sparked Miguel's comment, but it appears to have been brought on by a discussion about religion.


Crime, community, and what my white neighbor taught me in Memphis

DrDarronSmith-600MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In a casual conversation in what was meant to welcome me to my new city, a white neighbor uncomfortably reminded me of the racial challenges that remain very much intact in the South between white folk and people of color, when he candidly referenced the degree of crime in the city as being the province of the ignorant, uneducated and low income "blacks" in the neighborhood.

No code words were necessary. He expressed concern regarding the racial "other" moving into the white-dominated communities, causing a shifting of geography (white flight) within the city and surrounding areas of Memphis. (Amazingly, he openly discussed these issues with me, as he conveyed that I was an "exception" to other blacks he encounters on a day-to-day basis.)


Ultimate diversity challenge: Keeping good talent from going to waste

LSW-160Many diversity campaigns took a wrong turn because they focused heavily on cultural deficits – what a particular group lacks or needs – rather than cultural strengths – the unique abilities, talents and strengths of these groups.

Instead of breaking down barriers, as we had hoped, often we ended up broadcasting subtle messages that these groups are inferior and not at all like the rest of us.

Today, a new strategy is taking root. Communities are imagining how a diverse city might function, and the role that everyone – rich and poor, black, Hispanic, Asian and white, Muslim and Christian, liberal and conservative – plays in making the economy competitive. Our ultimate diversity challenge is to figure out how to more fully develop talent in America so each person can contribute fully.