While there are various reasons to explore, I am going to highlight only two basic distortions that distract Black folk from engaging in either internal or external fronts; confusion or the lack of courage. Kobe Bryant’s inability to commend the Heat’s symbolic gesture toward Trayvon Martin’s family is the quintessential lack of courage. Bryant went on record proclaiming,
“I won’t react to something just because I’m supposed to, because I’m an African American…Yet you want to talk about how far we’ve progressed as a society? Well, we’ve progressed as a society, then don’t jump to somebody’s defense just because they’re African American.”
Kobe erroneously assumed that African Americans aren’t intellectually inclined to measure facts before drawing conclusion.
I can’t speak for the Miami Heat, but for Kobe to assume that the mass of African Americans “jumped” to Trayvon defense just because he is Black is prosperous. Contrary to Stephen A. Smith weak inarticulate defense of Bryant’s position, Kobe erroneously assumed that African Americans aren’t intellectually inclined to measure facts before drawing conclusion. More specific, the facts were far more detailed and displayed before the Heat assumed the hoodies and before Kobe’s radar ever signaled the case. Kobe never took any ESPN podium to denounce the verdict sense he carefully observes the “progressed of society.” However, on Twitter, after heavy backlash for his “scientific methods”, he mentions his opinion about the case.
Let’s draw out the reality behind his comments. Kobe’s remarks were not indicative of his proclaimed ability to wait out the “facts” for his comfortable conclusion. He was not only ridiculed by his colleagues for ignoring the obvious but he needed to justify his lack of ‘intestinal fortitude’ to make a stand against injustice. Kobe chose his endorsements rather his moral conviction.
…the aged comedian blamed the victims, citing the “problem” to be an internal cultural issue.
Bill Cosby on the other hand possess the courage to state what he deem is the “problem”. Unfortunately, I state this with deep love and admiration for the icon, Cosby’s “problem” is derived from a limited social framework and campaigned upon the wrong front. In 2004, Cosby begin his “crusade” to encourage African Americans to raise their expectations and standards about educational and social achievement. What could have been pure intended amounted to numerous critical rants of male sagging; youth dialect and speech patterns; parent nurturing inability; and financial decisions, all targeting working-poor African Americans. Cosby’s deconstructive feedback toward the Black poor does not delineate the long historical injustices which created the condition. Even in his co-authored thesis “Come On People”, Cosby offers a shabby job with making the connection between ideological and structure white-supremacy and the effects upon the perennial lived realities of generations of Black people. Like a typical conservative right-wing politician would argue, the aged comedian blamed the victims, citing the “problem” to be an internal cultural issue. This is the same ideological framework that charged Paul Ryan’s “real culture problem in the inner cities”.
Where is Cosby’s strategic plan for an internal effort?
If Cosby felt it necessary to soapbox his “problems” and concerns, in this day and age, the NAACP or Rainbow PUSH are probably not the most African American focused platform to voice such an appeal. It’s the same misconstrued notion made by the lady mentioned in Part I. After reading his book, listening and reading the speeches, I’m left with a few questions. Where is Cosby’s strategic plan for an internal effort? How will he move from bantering critique to constructive initiative that addresses family building and empowerment, literacy development, social identity construction, or educational achievement? There are more but I digress. Cosby’s confusion about the proper front is one reason why his speeches caused problematic public opinion and heavy criticism from pundits such as Eric Dyson. Instead of going vocal with this framework in spaces that has had a long historical track of external front efforts (NAACP or PUSH), he was better off creating small local initiatives in various cities amongst the Black poor which so fervently concerns him. This level of internal mobilization is more effective than casting stones from an upper-middle class Eiffel tower stirring the long existing contempt of that circle. He only becomes a champion agent for white-supremacist propaganda.
Bryant’s lack of courage to join his team’s solidarity statement towards Martin’s family is obvious. Instead of the symbolic gesture that went a long way to support the national external front, Bryant can make significant in-roads with an internal front which may not challenge his courage. As stated earlier, Cosby can do tremendous work if he will carve more time to dialogue, exchange, and initiate culturally and morally constructive spaces amongst African American working-poor. Quite frankly, not only will he learn that internal fronts speaking specifically to those issues, already exist, but maybe he can finally obtain a visceral understanding of the outstanding systemic structure that represses Black life on multiple levels.