David Ward's Reviews > Is Bill Cosby Right?: Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind?

Is Bill Cosby Right? by Michael Eric Dyson
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's review
Feb 19, 11

bookshelves: black-studies, non-fiction
Read in February, 2011

Is Bill Cosby Right?: Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind? by Michael Eric Dyson (Basic Civatas Books 2005) 305.896073 is unlike anything I've ever read. The sole purpose of the book appears to be to deconstruct and belittle a speech Bill Cosby gave at an awards dinner sponsored by the NAACP, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and Howard University to recognize and praise Cosby's philanthropic endeavors on the fiftieth anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. The author took exception (for 244 pages) to Cosby's failure to blame white America for the fact that a black underclass still exists fifty years post Brown v. Board; Cosby instead called out the black poor and blamed it as a class for failing to improve its collective lot (p. 58). Disclaimer: I am not black nor have I ever been. I was unaware until I read this book of a schizm in the black community (or so the author contends) between the "Afristocracy" (upper-middle class blacks and the black elite) who hold the "Ghettocracy" (the poor blacks in the community; the unemployed and the underemployed) to blame for the failures of poor blacks to live up to the standards of the civil rights pioneers (p. xi - xiv). The author states his purpose in the preface on page xv when he states, "I will dissect Cosby's flawed logic..." In the opinion of the reader considering both views, the question is simply this: Could it possibly require 244 pages to try to overcome the logic contained in any argument unless the argument is valid? My rating: 2/10 (for the author's effort and fine use of language). Finished 2/18/11.

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