Showing posts from February, 2008

Bill Cosby Doesn’t Know My Mama, Just Racial Stereotypes of Low and Moderate Income Black People

Bill Cosby is at it again. He recently joined forces with professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School , Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint to author a new book, “Come on People!” Thematically, the book is a literary extension of his “call-out sessions.” For the last 3 years or so, Cosby has traveled around the country calling black people (well, poor black people) out about their so-called pathological behaviors (having babies out of wed-lock, giving their children African names they can’t pronounce, calling each other Nigga, talking loud in public places, dropping out of school, being illiterate, buying rap music, wearing baggy pants, not speaking right, and so on). The recent hoopla about Cosby’s book made me think about a piece I wrote that appeared in the Hartford Courant on July 15, 2004, shortly after Cosby had visited Springfield, Mass., near the beginning of his call-out tour. As you can tell from the piece, I think Cosby’s moral crusade is problematic for a number of reasons

The Black Church in Contemporary Politics

Churches (and other religious institutions) play a very special role in American life. Compared to people in other countries, Americans are more likely to be affiliated with a church, to attend services, and to participate in educational, charitable, or social activities organized by their churches. [1] By providing “an important incubator for civic skills, civic norms, community interests, and civic recruitment” churches also help to build up the civic skills and attitudes church members need to become active in politics. [2] The Black church has a unique importance in the American political system. Any candidate – Democratic or Republican – running for local, state, or national office, who wants the support of the black community must don their “Sunday’s best,” and go to church. [3] The reason, as Political Scientist, Melissa V. Harris-Lacewell, so aptly puts it, “Black churches are a site of organized, committed, well-networked, partisan faithful who can be influenced and mobili

Gender, Race and the 2008 Presidential Race

Is it gender or race that is shaping the Democratic Party nomination? After a spirited debate with a colleague, I walked away from our conversation convinced more than ever that it is really both, just in very different ways: sexism in a very overt fashion, racism in a very subtle, covert way. Let’s be clear, in spite of what polls say, many people (particularly male voters) will not support Senator Clinton because she is a women. Moreover, while separating the disdain some in the media have for her and her husband from the sexism is sometimes hard, it clear that the media treatment of her has been shameful and biased. Remember the sexist portrayal of her show of emotion and passion just before the New Hampshire primary. Not surprisingly, the torrent of media bias is having an effect on voters, even female Clinton supporters. Much has been made about the gender gap. According to national polls, throughout much of this campaign season, Senator Clinton has been ahead of Sena