Sunday, September 30, 2007

Honest Conversations

Bill Cosby has made millions of people laugh over the span of his career, but perhaps nothing he has done in the past has stirred up as many emotions as his speaking engagements these days.

As in the past, Dr. Cosby is making waves among the people who identify as "the Black community." He continues to explain that many of the solutions to the concerns of that community must come from within the community; that the etiology of many of those concerns also lie within the community. This doesn't sit well with some of the Black leaders, among them the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

One of the things I find most refreshing is Dr. Cosby's willingness to speak to issues and concerns that are unpopular with a community who identifies with him. I am reminded of the adage: What is right isn't always popular and what is popular isn't always right. It takes courage and conviction to stand up for your insights, particularly when you are already aware that your stand is unpopular--with at least some of the community with which you identify.

In my mind, one of the most important aspects of what Dr. Cosby brings to the table is to have his ideas out in the mainstream for others to consider and about which to dialogue. It's time that people realize you don't have to be a certain skin tone to be able to empathize and understand what other people are going through. Not everyone who wears a white or black hat is on one side of the fence or the other. Why does there have to be a fence at all? Improvements for any one community is an improvement for all.

We can't move forward as a nation without addressing sensitive subjects on all sides of the issues. To do that, we need to put old biases aside and be willing to speak to one another as human beings with a common goal. Bill Cosby is has shown us one example of doing that; we might do well to follow his example.

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