Clarence Page has some very interesting thoughts on the Bill Cosby’s controversial remarks earlier in the week. The whole piece is worth a read but the close particularly struck me:
Cosby’s view, by contrast, offers a side of black life that seldom is seen on the news, a self-reliance liberalism. Right-wing ideologues pretend that self-reliance liberalism does not exist. But most successful African-Americans are intimately familiar with it. The message, as Cosby might say, is simple: Those of us who have made it need to help those who have not, but poor black folks need to “hold up their end in this deal,” too.
Cosby was saying the same thing backstage when I interviewed him during my college days. It was 1968, but he didn’t want to talk about black power, Black Panthers or cultural revolutions. He wanted to complain about why so many young blacks of my generation were wasting the great opportunities that hard-won civil rights victories had brought.
In those politically polarized times, I was disappointed by his traditionalist attitude. But I appreciate its wisdom today with new eyes, the eyes of a parent.