Saturday, December 08, 2007

Come On People - Cosby & Poussaint - Review 4

I have taken on the task of writing a review for the book. In this and subsequent posts, I will review one chapter in the book. The fourth chapter is titled: Teach Your Children Well

The good part about this book is that it lays down suggestions and fixes for the ills of our society in an easy-to-read and straightforward manner. The reviewer has an issue as to HOW this plan can be enacted in a disinterested populous; the very people who should be reading this and working to affect change in the Black community would no more read this book than attend a KKK rally! The poor people who are the beneficiaries of our broken public school system have few means to correct its woes: underfunding, poorly trained teachers, poor facilities, etc.

The authors spend a fair amount of time decrying the use of Black English (or Ebonics). I agree that the predominant use of Ebonics is not a good thing and Standard English should be encouraged and spoken around Black children. But a linguist like John H. McWhorter, Ph. D. will tell you that Ebonics was not born of ignorance, but is just a variation of Standard English that was created by victims of the Black Diaspora who were brought to this country against their will. Standard English is the language that is used by and large globally and Ebonics is a pidgin-creole language.

The section that resonated the most with me was titled "Respect Our Elders." The wisdom of our people resides in the minds of our elders, they endured the barbs and disgrace of segregation and hostility of racism, they can surely provide the wisdom as to how we can overcome the overwhelming odds that threaten our youngsters. We, as a people, have become a rudderless race, a group charting a course for disaster without a moral compass or the values that kept us doing right when others were doing us wrong. If we learn to respect our elders we will stop tearing up and destroying what they worked so hard to build (for us).

~ End of Review ~

Here is a link to a downloadable PDF of excerpts from this chapter:
Teach Your Children Well (pages 124 - 132)

plezWorld encourages you to visit where you can purchase copies of the book and 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.


WhozHe said...

Thanks for the review and the links. I think I will check it out.

Lori said...

A big "Amen" on the last portion of your commentary. Respect for our elders, our history and ourselves would all be wonderful starting points. . . but isn't that part of the problem? Too many of us aren't ready, don't know how or aren't interested in starting that process.

As far as your initial comments are concerned (about the likelihood of those who'd benefit the most from reading this book, actually doing so)to be honest, I've been wondering the same thing throughout the course of you reviews.

Lola Gets said...

There was an interesting Op-Ed article in the Sunday Washington Post about this book, and Cosby's overall message. Im going to post about it later this week, so check it out!