Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

What Does Cosby Want to Show?

Bill Cosby and Alvin Poussaint write convincingly (if not originally) about the need for blacks to stop thinking about themselves as victims and to find it within themselves to overcome deep feelings of inferiority that become self-fulfilling prophesies. Cosby should be commended for lending his name and well-deserved reputation for decency and common sense to this effort. It is a good and noble thing he seeks to do.

Given that, I am troubled and--to put it mildly--deeply irritated by Cosby’s recent comments about Clarence Thomas on the Larry King show. Cosby was asked by King about the possibility of any affinity between his views and those of Thomas. Cosby denied him (more than three times) asserting that Thomas doesn’t "care about anybody" and that he is a "brother light." King emitted an insipid laugh in response to this comment.

This display does not square at all with Cosby’s own (?) words in the essay to which I link above:

Many people who are trying to make it find themselves struggling against fellow African Americans so lost in self-destructive behaviors that they bring down other people as well as themselves.

Precisely. And it also shows that he--like so many others--has never confronted Thomas in his own words. But I guess he thinks it’s o.k. to press on with some prejudices . . .

Discussions - 5 Comments

Bill Cosby might be noble in the pursuit of this goal, but he is still liberal. And there is a double standard at work within the liberal community. Conservatives like to point out the double standard. Liberals used to shy away from the light cast on their double standards.

No more. Having long since cast off the yoke and burden of logic, they now justify their actions based on the moral superiority of their cause. Cosby can mock Justice Thomas because Thomas is conservative and Cosby is liberal. The liberal view is morally superior to the conservative view. Thus Cosby is justified in dismissing the achievements of Thomas. It's really just that simple.

Sadly, the world is becoming a place where people not only don't call liberals on this double standard, they don't even recognize it.

And the rot goes so deep that liberals can successfully accuse conservatives of a double standard and have it stick, while their own double standards stand in plain view.

Maybe Don. At the end of the day I am not sure that anyone will ever confront Justice Thomas in his own words. But what Cosby is doing isn't that different from Democrats distancing themselves from Clinton or Republicans distancing themselves from Bush. Cosby wants to speak clearly by poisoning the well against biased associations. He wants to make an unhistorical argument. I doubt Clarence Thomas or Thomas Sowell would object to the substance of Bill Cosby's main thrust...but he has to convince a certain group of people that it isn't "conservative thinking".

Logically there may not be that many differences between the arguments made by Capitalism Magazine and other groups of conservatives. I may even be able to find quotes of Marx saying what some "conservative" says. But to quote Marx or Ayn Rand would alienate those who would otherwise agree with an argument.

I know that I am not immune to this problem, and I am not sure that anyone is. We think we know that we are conservatives, christians, libertarians, objectivists, muslims, liberals as the case may be...but there are conservatives who may not agree with Burke on the origins of our ideas of the sublime and the beautiful(I recommend, but I am hardly a conservative, or am I?).

You might want to pick up a copy of Jaun William's book entitled Enoughwhich is inspired by Cosby's speechat the 2004 Brown Anniversary gala. Mr. Williams really does a good job of exploring how Cosby has been attacked by the black left (Jackson, Sharpton, Dyson, and the like)since beginning this crusade.

John Lewis -- you may be right. It makes sense: to earn credibility with those who need the most help, Cosby must not appear to be a "brother light" himself. To do this, he disassociates himself from Thomas.

It's still troubling, particularly the exchange as reported by Julie in her post. Thomas doesn't "care about anybody?" Either Cosby believes he has to sink to that kind of low rhetoric to reach is audience, or Cosby himself believes this. Either one is a sad commentary.

It is truly a shame that the black community has to discard potential role models when they have so few positive ones to begin with. Why can't they acknowledge the achievement of Justice Thomas while staking a clear reason why they disagree with his viewpoints? Is that really so difficult?

Finally, it's possible for me to accept your reasoning in this case and still hold that double standards exists and liberals don't bother trying to hide them. :-)

Might Bill Cosby have actually called Justice Thomas "brother LITE", rather than "brother light"? I'm only reflecting on the nuance my own brilliant brother *might*(!) have used...

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