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Tiggeroshii Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 09:05 PM
Original message
LAT: Cosby bringing his issues to Compton
Edited on Wed Oct-19-05 09:07 PM by Tiggeroshii
http://www.latimes.com/features/lifestyle/cl-et-cosby19...

Today he'll hold "Call Out" meetings, part of his controversial effort to address tough topics in black communities.

By Greg Braxton, Times Staff Writer


Bill Cosby, who ignited a firestorm of debate among African Americans when he chastised poorer blacks on issues ranging from bad grammar to the squandering of opportunities provided by the civil rights movement, will take his crusade today to Compton, a city plagued by a skyrocketing murder rate, a dismal school system and other urban ills.

Cosby, currently touring the country's lower-income communities, will host a "Call Out" at Compton High School. He says he wants to address what he feels is "apathy" in the area and engage residents in a dialogue revolving around parenting, education and social responsibility.

I do believe we need clarity on what is protection for our youth," Cosby said Monday in a phone interview. "Education should be as important as your child's cough, your child's sneeze, runny nose or high fever. That is part of the protection."

The event marks Cosby's first nonperforming appearance on the West Coast since last year, when his headline-making remarks won praise and criticism from blacks.

At a May 2004 NAACP ceremony commemorating the anniversary of the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education desegregation decision, Cosby said, "These people marched and were hit in the face with rocks to get an education and now we have these knuckleheads running around.... I can't even talk the way these people talk: 'Why you ain't,' 'Where you is' ... and I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. And then I heard the father talk.... Everybody knows it's important to speak English except these knuckleheads. You can't be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth."
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CottonBear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 09:29 PM
Response to Original message
1. Do any black DUers wish to comment? n/t
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Tiggeroshii Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 10:05 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. McGruder did a series of strips on this.
It was funny.

I do want to know what African Americans -particularly those liiving in Compton and West LA have to say about Cosby's comments.
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 10:10 PM
Response to Original message
3. I'm not black, but AAEV is a hornet's nest to touch.
Only very brave people work in it, and only African-Americans dare not toe the creolist line.

The literature's gone back and forth on its status (creole/dialect), exploring new sources of data and teasing out a coherent from data deemed unusable. But maybe a decade ago it went sharply political.

I'll say what I've told students in the past. Whatever dialect you speak is grammatical: it's a coherent grammatical system that functions to fulfill the needs of its speakers and role in which it evolved and is used. But that doesn't mean that speakers of other dialects won't impart a prestige value to your dialect, and you won't be judged on it. Those are social facts that nobody's likely to change overnight, and which will vary by situation and the judger's background.
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Tiggeroshii Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 10:18 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. That's always how I saw it, but you put it coherently for me
Edited on Wed Oct-19-05 10:18 PM by Tiggeroshii
I've always seen ebonics as a social integration thorugh democgraphics. Not bad english, no, just different dialect really... I've tried to tell people this a number of time to no avail. It's good to hear that again. Thanks
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Davis_X_Machina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 10:33 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Every speaker of a language...
Edited on Wed Oct-19-05 10:34 PM by Davis_X_Machina
..can speak it in several registers.

As a Jesuit-trained Boston Irish Catholic, I can give you Kennedy-City-On-A-Hill English, or Good Will Hunting-Dennis Leary English, and maybe two or three registers in between.

The real question is, can I move between registers, and am I savvy enough to realize when I need to move between registers.

Cosby and his critics are both right.

He's right to the extent that the ability to register-shift is critical in travelling in wider circles that use a language. If your ability to communicate successfully is handicapped by an inability to register-shift, then there's a problem.
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goclark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 10:55 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Well said, Cosby and his critics are both right

I have always been a big Cosby fan.

I'm not against him helping his/our people but not sure about the manner that he has delivered his message.


I just believe that his ability to inspire is lost when he puts the parents down.

That's just me. I believe that we teach with tenderness. Bill Cosby's most teachable moments were beautifully observed in " The Bill Cosby Show,"

Put downs, even when done with your own people, should not be done in public, IMO.

I totally agree with you about the ability to register-shift. Been doing it all my life.

Well put....
"He's right to the extent that the ability to register-shift is critical in travelling in wider circles that use a language. If your ability to communicate successfully is handicapped by an inability to register-shift, then there's a problem."
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chalky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 11:21 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. As Will Smith terms it: "Bi-Dialectal"
n/t
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MsKandice01 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 01:43 PM
Response to Reply #5
22. I agree wholeheartedly
I'm Black and I have always been able to register-shift (or "code-shift" as we called it in my Linguistics class in college). I don't even have to think about it and it's not something I can even control. It comes naturally for me, due to the fact that I was raised in a Black neighborhood but always went to White schools. I can imagine though, for people who have never been in situations long-term where they were around people NOT speaking AAEV, that it may not come so easily.
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Lisa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 05:12 PM
Response to Reply #5
30. if you don't have a choice of registers/dialects, you're trapped ...
Edited on Thu Oct-20-05 05:13 PM by Lisa
As various people have already posted in this thread, more coherently and eloquently than I have -- writing or speaking in a particular manner because you've made a conscious choice (artistic, political, social, or economic) is different from doing it because you don't know any other way. An Ivy League prof who can't/won't make herself understood to a taxi driver (who, for all we know, also has a PhD!) is as much at a loss as a ditch-digger who can't/won't make a clear, logical argument into a microphone at a public meeting.

Kind of like abstract art. There are plenty of skilled artists who are capable of drawing or sculpting detailed realistic portraits, but have decided to work as abstract expressionists, minimalists, etc. Sometimes people come up to them at public events and say, "my 5-year-old can do better than that" -- and the perfect zinger was delivered by a former teacher of mine, who responded, "sure, but can he do THIS?" -- and he proceeded to pick up a pencil and do a jaw-droppingly beautiful rendition of a hand, pointed at the viewer, which appeared to be three-dimensional.

Then he picked up his brush and carried on dripping paint over the canvas -- as the spectators watched in stunned silence.
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uniden Donating Member (111 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 10:27 AM
Response to Reply #4
19. it's fine--as long as you speak proper english too
Edited on Thu Oct-20-05 10:30 AM by uniden
if you want to have a decent job and "make it" in this society you need to have language skills. Cosby makes some good points. They seem harsh but the truth hurts sometimes. People need to go to school and try their best, even though it's much harder for them. School beats sports, music and crime in the long run.
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Runcible Spoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 05:02 PM
Response to Reply #19
29. jeebus, you're just spreading sunshine everywhere, aren't you?
Unless you are willing to take on a PhD candidate with extensive background education in sociolinguistics, I heartily suggest you drop this "proper English" meme. "the Truth" hurts, indeed. I will flog you myself if I EVER see you hypocritically ending a sentence with a preposition.
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IA_Seth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 05:14 PM
Response to Reply #29
31. Lol...beautiful. n/t
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 05:22 PM
Response to Reply #29
32. BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
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uniden Donating Member (111 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 06:20 PM
Response to Reply #29
36. it's funny
and you may be correct, but it never stopped me. I am doing extremely well as it is.
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kath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 11:13 PM
Response to Original message
7. IIRC, Cosby's comments went far beyond the issue of language, and went
Edited on Wed Oct-19-05 11:13 PM by kath
into issues such as parenting, the importance of education (I think he decried the idea that a kid is sometimes told he is "acting white" if he gets good grades), etc.
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Tomee450 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 12:10 AM
Response to Reply #7
12. Cosby went too far.
He did not criticize in a loving way but was quite nasty in my opinion. Also, he did not have to go public. He just reinforced the negative opinions some have of black people and gave critics ammunition to be used against the black community. Now we hear,"just as Bill Cosby said." He also expressed a dislike for black sounding names and berated black men for domestic abuse as if only they engaged in that behavior. Furthermore, he made it seem as if the aberrant behavior of which he spoke was only to be found in communities of color when such is not the case.
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goclark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 01:12 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. I agree with you Tomee450

Someone emailed me months ago about a letter that a teenager sent to Bill Cosby. Her name was Taquishia I think but I'm not sure about that part.

Anyway, she skillfully put Cosby in his place!

She explained how carefully and tenderly her parents selected her name and how much she loved it.

She went on to talk about her excellent grades and how his remarks had really hurt her.

The letter was polite yet stinging.

How I wish I had saved that letter, I can't even remember who sent it to me. I believe it was published in an African American newspaper.
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Tomee450 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 05:31 PM
Response to Reply #13
33. I remember reading about
that letter. I'm glad she wrote it. Some of Cosby's comments were quite hurtful.
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Ellen Forradalom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 10:34 PM
Response to Reply #13
40. Since he's complaining about names...
...why doesn't he go after Mormons too?

The Utah Baby Namer: http://www.wesclark.com/ubn/
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zanne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 09:41 AM
Response to Reply #12
16. I agree with you.
He sounds like a man who is way too fond of himself and his accomplishments. There are people like this everywhere. He wants to tell other people how to live, but he doesn't understand why anyone would disagree with him about anything. Sound familiar?
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Tomee450 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 05:36 PM
Response to Reply #16
34. Very familiar.
Cosby should understand that people are not likely to listen to someone who has tried to humiliate them publicly. I think he has shown a bit of arrogance.
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NorthernSpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 11:48 PM
Response to Original message
9. Cosby should go do whatever it is that useless rich men like to do...
Edited on Thu Oct-20-05 12:38 AM by NorthernSpy
Golf? Yachting? Whatever. I'm not entirely certain what that class does to amuse itself -- other than making life harder for the rest of us, of course.

The current situation on the Gulf is of the utmost importance, yet Cosby has decided that now is the perfect time to go to California and berate poor and working class blacks for their failure to join the ranks of the affluent. Meanwhile, the survival of an entire culture is at stake, and it will take a huge struggle just to prevent the displaced from being permanently shut out of their homes and their future.

At least the oft-reviled Jesse Jackson is actually doing something to help the survivors get jobs in the clean-up and rebuilding effort. Cosby, on the other hand, is merely running his mouth: a pure self-indulgence -- gratifying his own ego and accomplishing nothing important.

This may be news to Cosby, but if blacks are failing, they're hardly alone in this: whites also are fast losing their grasp on the American dream. Poverty and all that goes along with it are on the rise among white Americans, and have been for years now. If there ever was a good time to lecture people about all the lovely opportunities that awaited them, and about how hard work and virtue would be rewarded, that time was thirty or forty years ago -- back when there was still some truth in all that. As it is now, the prospects for the middle class are shrinking, and social mobility is largely a downward proposition -- even for people who started out much better off than that particular class of people Cosby evidently enjoys bashing.


(edit: proofreading)
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nolabels Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 09:21 AM
Response to Reply #9
15. Introspection starts at home
The celluloid homers should look in the mirror. He may have been a positive force and representative for industry he worked and made his fortune in but none the less he is part of that milieu. I don't see him ranting or raving to that tinsel town section of society. If he can't get some section of them folks in line why should any of the common everyday type of folks listen to him.

Leadership is most easily followed by example haven't they always said?
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Barkley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 12:00 AM
Response to Original message
10. I ride the Metro Rail (Blue Line) throught Compton every day and...
Black youth that ride the train speak the 'ghetto' language that Cosby mentioned last year.

But when these same kids get a call on the cells from their employers, (or prespective employers) they convert immediately to "white" english.

its amazing to hear.
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Kablooie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 12:05 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. Just read Shaw's Pygmalion.
Changing the way one talks and acts can elicit totally different reactions from others.
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wellst0nev0ter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 01:26 AM
Response to Original message
14. I'll Give Him Credit
For actually confronting the poor blacks he criticized. Usually black conservatives reserve their criticisms for willing white audiences.

But he still needs to explain how he can talk about twigs in their eyes when he himself dropped out of school to pursue a comedy career.
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shrike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 10:09 AM
Response to Original message
17. He's got a point
about education. The other stuff are the rantings of a geezer -- people have the right to name their kids anything they want. But education is SO important and people of all colors and backgrounds are ignoring it. I've heard other blacks say the same things re education that Cosby did. One fellow, I remember, said black children that he knew felt that reading books was a "white" thing.

I attended a conference at Purdue University once. A remarkable black woman was leading a discussion about race issues. A very discouraged black educator in the back row asked her what he should say to the black youngsters he knew that who felt that ANY white could not be trusted and that "white" culture was not worth their time.

This woman replied, among other things, that he should remind these youngsters that if blacks had help from some in the white power structure during their struggle for civil rights. She also said something most DUers wouldn't like: "The family down the street had their house broken into -- did white people do that?"

This woman was no conservative. She was liberal, progressive and quite brilliant. And very hopeful, really. I made sure I shook her hand once the conference was done.
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pinerow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 10:20 AM
Response to Reply #17
18. Too many people are ready to accept mediocrity,
because they are afraid they may hurt someone's feelings. I am a man of color, so is my wife; we would not accept anything less than stellar "effort"...Cosby is correct when he points out that 'protecting' one's children includes education and a nurturing environment.
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shrike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 10:30 AM
Response to Reply #18
20. Glad you feel that way
The "mediocrity" attitude crosses racial boundaries, unfortunately. It could easily be said about some white teens today -- however, I think Cosby is correct in discussing only his own people.

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pinerow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 01:37 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. Unfortunately...mediocrity knows no boundaries...
a bit like the 'trickle down' theory...
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MsKandice01 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 01:49 PM
Response to Reply #17
23. I think what bothers many people about him...
Is that, for the longest time, he refused to address racial issues in public. He has never been very vocal about civil rights, racism, etc. and never wanted to play an activist role. He finally decides to take some action and instead of trying to fight for civil rights, he uses that time to criticize Blacks.

Personally, I don't have a huge problem with what he's doing (and I'm black) and I think he's correct in some of his statements, but I can't imagine that being as insulting as he's been is going to get his message across to the people who need to hear it. It's just going to piss them off.
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shrike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 01:57 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. As I've said
A lot of what he says sounds like the rantings of an old crank.

You know the type; finding fault with anything that young people do.

I agree that he could do a better job with the better part of his message. I wasn't aware of Cosby's civil rights record. Yeah, I can imagine that would piss some people off.
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pinerow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 03:21 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. As a matter of fact...Cosby's has been active in
education and civil rights for a very long time...the fact that no one under thirty-five seems to be unaware of his record says more about their own ignorance than anything else...Cosby was and continues to be a great contributor to the UNC(The Negro College Fund) and has always supported traditionally black colleges...the saddest part of all this brouhaha is that people are shooting the messenger instead of paying attention to the message...and btw...his criticism's can be applied across the board without regard to race.
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shrike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 09:46 PM
Response to Reply #25
39. I didn't know any of that
Us Americans -- our collective memory doesn't stretch beyond 1982. If that. That's a great record; he is to be commended.
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goclark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 04:14 PM
Response to Reply #23
27. Welcome to DU MsKandice01

I agree with you my Sister.
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MadJohnShaft Donating Member (267 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 03:55 PM
Response to Original message
26. Focusing on 'dialect' rather than the underlying causes of inequality
seems a little, I don't know - weak? amateurish? naive? tame? wrong?
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manic expression Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 04:44 PM
Response to Original message
28. Pathetic
Crosby himself built a career on using "knucklehead talk" (HEY HEY HEY!). He forgets that anti-intellectualism is something found in EVERY community. He forgets that most blacks attend predominately black schools, and he forgets that it is the lack of real education in black communities that contributes to the lack of real progress. Anyway, who is he to criticize a group's way of speech? That is a cultural aspect. He enables conservatives and racists.
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NNguyenMD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 06:00 PM
Response to Original message
35. just an observation, in India english is the national language...and there
Edited on Thu Oct-20-05 06:03 PM by NNguyenMD
is no coincidence why it is that so many Indian physicians and scientists are more able to obtain jobs and residency positions in the United States straight from India, versus graduates of so many other nations including Europe. They speak proper, respectable, english. Thats huge in moving up the social economic ladder.

I don't think Cosby is being mean about this, and unless you grew up or have worked in a predominantly African American community for an extended period of time, its hard to think that any of us understand this issue better than Cosby.



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democracy eh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 06:52 PM
Response to Original message
37. I will never forgive Bill for the murder of the House of Cosbys
via his f'ing lawyer's cease and desist letter.

I am curious you see


But the House of Cosby lives on in reruns


http://brawl-hall.com/pages/videos/houseofcosby.php
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AtTheEndOfTheDay Donating Member (454 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 06:56 PM
Response to Original message
38. Folks saying old Bill is engaging in the "rantings of a geezer"
might be an accurate description but not necessarily apt. I think our society would benefit hugely by listening to ranting geezers. There's tons of them offering what's really often good advice hard earned by experience.

What Bill says is true if you want to work for "The Man". Unfortunately "The Man" is a big Old ugly white mofo so if you want to do his bidding it behooves you to talk and dress like him. A good way to learn these skills is college. It applies to all cultures, colors and creeds. And it works, like it or not. Serve "The Man" equals be like "The Man" equals live well in capitalist America. Materially that is.

Alternatively there's learning a trade or choosing something unorthodox like crime where success can come perhaps without acting like "The Man" or doing his bidding but even these other choices often tend to succeed more spectacularly when one can be like "The Man". It's a choice for some and others just don't have the "it" that allows blowing "The Man". These are our outlaws and artists. 'twas ever thus.
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shrike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-21-05 09:53 AM
Response to Reply #38
41. I'm the one who came up with that line
Edited on Fri Oct-21-05 09:55 AM by shrike
I wasn't referring to all of Bill's remarks, just some of them. For example, names: people have been coming up with unusual names since the dawn of man. Witness Cotton Mather, Learned Hand, Tapping Reeve, Prince Hall. All played a role in early American history.

I agree with you completely about walking the walk and talking the talk, when it comes to getting along in the world. Cosby's most important comments, IMO, focus on education.
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