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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 5, 2005 / 26 Nissan, 5765

A new century, a new ‘color line’

By Clarence Page


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Sometimes our efforts to stand up for the less fortunate actually can grease their slide backward into even less fortune.

That's what I thought of the verbal sucker punch with which August Wilson, the distinguished black playwright, walloped Bill Cosby, the distinguished black comedian.

When Time magazine asked Wilson what he thought of Cosby's controversial criticisms of black parenting, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright was dismissive:

"A billionaire attacking poor people for being poor," he said. "Bill Cosby is a clown. What do you expect? I thought it was unfair of him."

I, by contrast, think Wilson is being unfair to Cosby— and to clowns.

Black comedians have a long history of sometimes getting to the heart of the matter more quickly and effectively than most scholars, politicians or movement leaders. Anyone who dismissed Dick Gregory in the 1960s, Richard Pryor in the 1970s or Chris Rock in the 1990s as mere "clowns" would have missed something very important that was happening in black America.

These days Dave Chappelle's show on Comedy Central speaks volumes with topical skits— like his fake news report on what would happen if black Americans actually received slavery reparations. (Answer: Most of the money would find its way back into the cash registers of white businesses before sundown. KFC and FUBU would merge to become the world's largest company. Etc., etc.)

Similarly, it helps to have a sense of humor and irony to hear what Cosby's saying. Cosby has not, in his various addresses and interviews, attacked poor people for being poor. He has criticized parents who neglect the work that can save their children from a lifetime of poverty. That's a message that, despite a few naysayers here and there, has been favorably received by many African-American parents and educators across the country.

Wilson, who received his Pulitzers for "Fences" and "The Piano Lesson," is receiving a wave of attention these days because he is completing his two-decades-long project of producing 10 linked plays, each representing one decade of the black experience in 20th Century America.

The 10th play, "Radio Golf," opened Thursday at the Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, Conn. Wilson says it is about "the failure" of the black middle class "who failed to return their expertise, participation and resources back to the community." That's ironic, too, since Cosby has given millions to black colleges and to individual black students.

Yet Cosby also expresses the frustration felt by many black Americans when they see black youths who fail to take advantage of the hard-won opportunities that the civil rights revolution opened up. Often, they are outright hostile to speaking proper English and achieving academically for fear of being perceived as "acting white."

I can understand the reflex of Wilson and others to lash out at Cosby for his candor, especially when it validates their own ghetto-centric sense of "being authentic," "keepin' it real" or "gettin' down with my peeps." But most black American parents, educators and others with whom I have talked or who have e-mailed me over the past year sound like they're on Cosby's side. After all, if you define the elements of success as "actin' white," that only makes blackness another name for failure. There's much more to black culture than that— or, at least, there should be.

"The problem of the 20th Century is the problem of the color line," W.E.B. DuBois wrote a century ago. The problem of the 21st Century, I would submit, are the lines of difference that are only masked by color.

Last year, for example, The New York Times reported a study that found most of Harvard's entering black freshmen and alumni of Harvard were either immigrants or the children of immigrants from the West Indies or Africa. I have since found similar disproportionate enrollment by black immigrants or children of immigrants at other universities. Why have so many slavery-descended black Americans not fared as well?

Thomas Sowell, the conservative black author and columnist, argues in his provocative new book, "Black Rednecks and White Liberals," (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) that so-called "ghetto culture" actually evolved from overexposure by generations of blacks to the culture of southern whites, a group that lagged far behind northern whites for centuries in literacy and productivity.

The result, he says, is an urban black culture that is counterproductive and self-destructive, no matter how much it is regarded by many as the only "authentic" black culture "and, for that reason, something not to be tampered with."

I will leave Sowell's thesis about the origins of black culture for him to argue. But, there's no question that, on the threshold of a new century, we black Americans need to re-examine not only what political, social or economic forces are doing to us, but also what we are doing to ourselves.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on Clarence Page's column by clicking here.

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