Monday, October 15, 2007

By request, It was Sunday so it was Meet the Press…

A certain Wilson from Boston sent a bitch a request for my thoughts regarding this past Sunday’s Meet the Press. For those of you who missed it (and shame on you, because it was Sunday so hello, it should have been Meet the Press) Bill Cosby and Dr. Alvin Poussaint were on for the full hour to discuss their new book Come on, People.


Shall we?

I spent most of my Sunday cleaning my house and then had a visit with my mentee, so this bitch caught Meet the Press through the magic of TiVo around 8 o’clock last night.

As usual, this bitch hit fast-forward and conducted a Status Check Feminist View-By to see if there were any women featured. I highly recommend this move prior to viewing any political chat show (wink) because some of the shit guests say is a direct result of their knowing who, if anyone at all, they will have to debate.

My feminist view-by swiftly determined that the show not only lacked a black woman’s perspective…not only lacked any woman’s perspective…but lacked any perspective other than that of Cosby-Poussaintism and Russertian theory (say it isn’t so, Meet the Press…say it isn’t so!!!).

Although dismayed, a bitch went back to the beginning and hit play once again...

Full Disclosure - a bitch has not read Come on, People yet so this response is based solely on the Meet the Press interview.

...and this bitch was not pleased.

And the flock asked… “But Shark-Fu, there were two celebrated black people talking about the problems facing black America for a full hour on Meet the Press! How could you be anything but thrilled?”

And a bitch replied… “This bitch is never thrilled when paternalesque pontifications go unchallenged…and my ass isn’t passing out cookies to reward yet another discussion of our community that blindly applauds the middle class while thoroughly chastising the urban poor.”

Oh, I was not surprised…that kind of shit often happens when black feminists aren’t at the table.


Nor was I empowered by the healthy portion of Father Knows Best judgment wrapped in underhanded praise dealt out by both Cosby and Poussaint towards the efforts of black women within the community. Blaming women’s liberation for the growth of single parent households headed by women is fucked up from the floor up, which is exactly what I would have called it had my ass been at the table (not a hint, trust…but you know what I mean).

And I was not encouraged by the dismissal given to Eugene Robinson’s opinion, which touches on the economic divide within modern black America. Saying that a lot of middle class blacks are involved in the “community” does not make it so nor does it address the huge impact the withdrawal of the black middle class from the black community has had and will continue to have.

But I’m not at all surprised…the inconvenient truth is almost always the truth left unstated.

But above all, I am disappointed in Meet the Press for presenting yesterday’s show as a discussion when the very set up made it impossible for it to be anything other than an over glorified infomercial masquerading as news.

Discussing the state of black America requires an acknowledgement that black America is diverse…that my opinion is not automatically that of my sisters of brothers…that our individual experience as black people is tied to our position in or outside or sorta-inside/outside of that too often generalized community…and that part of the problem is that the “problem” continues to be debated by rich black men of a certain age and religious background who speak of those other black people and go on and on about how their music and their lack of values are making us look bad.

I see the damage the rejection of feminism and feminist empowerment has done to my sisters and brothers. I see the lack of diverse role models the gospel of greed has produced…the oft lauded middle class still missing in action or seasonally involved…the hypocrisy of the black clergy and the fallout of religious elitism…the lack of black investment in black communities and businesses…the judgment without context and the expectations without a plan…and the depression that goes untreated while so-called black leaders profit from their participation in the business end of Civil Rights.

I look about my 'hood and see the apathy that is generated and maintained by yet another discussion about us taking place without us.


In the words of bell hooks, "I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else's whim or to someone else's ignorance."

But I will read the book.

Oh my, I hope this post doesn't delay my review copy (wink).

And I fear not the debate for 'tis silence that announces defeat.


SagaciousHillbilly said...

Whoa, AfroWoman, you are incredible.

MC said...

Indeed Sagacious Hillbilly (LOVE the moniker BTW)! As if I needed any more reason to love ABB:

TIVO-ing Meet the Press (my not-so-inner dork is gleeful!)

The awesome alliteration: paternalesque pontifications

Just using the word FEMINIST and doing so awesomely.

Sigh. Gives a bitch some hope....

Anonymous said...

"It's not how well the bear dances; it's that it dances at all." I've always hated that attitude, and see that it's alive and well among the Cosbys and Poussaints of the world. ("Russertian" made me smile. What school of philosophy is that, anyway?)

This whole thing reminds me too much of the people who complain about drag queens and leather daddies and Dyke on Bikes making the Pride parade look bad and scaring middle America.

Maya's Granny said...

It always amazes me when a group is discussed without any members of that group in attendance. It has the flavor of a parent teacher meeting -- placing the missing in the role of child.

Anonymous said...

"And a bitch replied… “This bitch is never thrilled when paternalesque pontifications go unchallenged…and my ass isn’t passing out cookies to reward yet another discussion of our community that blindly applauds the middle class while thoroughly chastising the urban poor.”

Oh, I was not surprised…that kind of shit often happens when black feminists aren’t at the table."

*church sings*
*church fans*

The first chapter of the book is up on MSNBC.COM.

It's a little more even-handed -- as per describing the plight of BW vis-a-vis BM -- but I'm sure I'll be throwing it across the room at some point. At least once.

I'll forward a draft of my letter to Dr. Poussaint before I send it.

Funny how I haven't written it yet but have a sneaking feeling what it needs to say ...

Unknown said...

For more than three years, authors Bill Cosby and Alvin F. Poussaint have been listening to the voices at community call-outs in cities across the country. Their latest book, Come On People, due out October 9 in bookstores nationwide, combines messages of personal responsibility with practical solutions, and retells the incredible stories shared at these call-outs.

Come On People is for all those who are tired of being used, neglected and undefended—folks who wish to see changes in their governments, their neighborhoods, on their streets and within the walls of their living spaces.

At you will find a forum called "The Cos," that is designed for community members to discuss issues beyond those addressed in the book, as well as a place for people to come together and offer solutions. It's time to have the courage to believe you can do better by asking for help and not being afraid to move forward.

No matter your economic status, no matter your age, no matter your race, no matter your gender, and no matter your religion, we are all allies in changing our future for the better.

You can find downloadable PDF's of excerpts from Come On People at the following links:

We are also willing to send review copies out to the first 100 bloggers who respond to—all we ask is that you publish a review and link back to

Please share this book and website with members of your blog community—the more people who hear Drs. Cosby and Poussaint's message, the better!

Christina Stewart
Respond2 Communications

Upcoming Bill Cosby appearances:

October 17: Oprah
October 18: Good Morning America
October 18: Larry King Live

The Christian Progressive Liberal said...

I believe Cos grew up in a single parent home himself, right?

While it is ideal that kids grow up in two-parent families, I don't advocate parents staying together for the sake of the kids, especially if they're damned near about to kill one another, because they can't stand one another.

Why do I believe this. Aren't I the Christian Progressive Liberal? Aren't I supposed to advocate marriage and family, as good Christians do?

I support that if the parents love one another and the kids they bring into the fold. Otherwise, if you had my growing up, you'd think twice.

From the time I was three until I was twelve, I was constantly getting sick, and the doctors ran every test imaginable and couldn't find anything physically wrong. During this time, my parents' marriage had gotten particularly turbulent - to the point where their disagreements turned into something resembling an Ali-Joe Frazier fight. They thought because it wasn't being done in the open, my brother and I didn't see evidence (mind you my mother didn't stand there and take an ass-whipping from Pops; she dotted his eye a few times herself).

I'm willing to bet serious money that the doctors were itching to ask my mother what the hell was going on in our house, and that my illness was a direct result of the stress of my parents' bad marriage.

When they split up (I was thirteen), the sickness stopped. I didn't have to worry about Pops being drunk and getting into fights with my mother. No child wants to see that, for the sake of keeping his parents together.

I grew up in a more calm household because that shyt wasn't part of the household anymore. I know from experience, a sista will do what she has to for her children to have a good upbringing, regardless of where the father is. In my case, when my mom hooked up with my stepdad, I had three parents, because my dad still remained a part of my life until his death, and my stepdad carried on until I reached adulthood.

I wish Cos would do some research before going on shows with good intentions that get jacked up because it's not communicated right.

That was some painful shyt to watch and I don't usually bother with MTP, because like Fixed Noise, they trot us out to make the rest of the race look bad.

Shark-Fu said...

I was just pondering those call outs when Christina's sorta-comment appeared!

The thing about the call outs is that I doubt the folks Cos is calling out were likely to attend them.


So, who exactly were they listening to?

What kind out conclusions can be derived from research that has one segment represented through sorta-focus groups and the other represented through general statistics?

I fear that this is yet another case of preaching to the choir being dressed up as grundbreaking ethnographic work...

But hey...ummm, thanks for the links Christina.

Lesboprof said...

Thanks for the suggestion of the feminist view-by. I plan to use it for all of the political shows.

Great discussion!

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