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February 25, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-02-25

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 25, 2005

OPINION

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JASON Z. PESICK
Editor in Chief

SUHAEL MOMIN
SAM SINGER
Editorial Page Editors

ALISON GO
Managing Editor

EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SINCE 1890
420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
( The Holy Father
is in our thoughts
and prayers and we
wish him a speedy
recovery and return
to the service of his
church and of all
humanity."
- President Bush, expressing his sentiments
concerning Pope John Paul II's recovery, as
reported yesterday by The Associated Press.

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Please take away Bill Cosby's microphone
JASMINE CLAIR THE MEANING OF PRC}GRESS

4

W~hat do Bill
Cosby, Tommy
Franks and
George Tenet all have in
common? President Bush
has awarded all of them
with Presidential Med-
als of Freedom. The four-
starred Franks and former
CIA Director Tenet played
critical roles in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Meanwhile reruns of "The Cosby Show" kept
Americans laughing, making it easier to cope
with the alleged "War on Terror."
In 2002, at the height of war, Bush presented
Cosby with this medal, commenting that "(Cosby)
used the power of laughter to heal wounds and to
build bridges. I don't think you can bring the races
together by joking about the differences between
them. I'd rather talk about the similarities, about
what's universal in their experiences."
This was a great political strategy on Bush's
part. Through giving Cosby this award, Bush
formalized another political alliance between
government and the entertainment industry.
Cosby now serves as a liaison between the
government's racial conservatives and the black
community. Cosby uses humor to unite the races
- in their disdain for poor blacks.
Recently, Cosby has delivered a number of
chats addressing the social and educational prob-,
lems particular to lower-income urban commu-
nities. He just can't understand why inner-city
youth are walking around in backwards clothes
with their underwear showing, speaking in a
sub-standard form of English. Also, he feels that
urban youth are praising materialism - spend-
ing $500 on a pair of sneakers - rather than
focusing on their education.
Now we all know people like this (Some-
times, I fit this description.) And this is what

makes Cosby's messages so appealing to whites
and blacks, and especially racial conservatives.
Cosby's descriptions give ammunition to the
belief that poor blacks just need to get their act
together and start pulling their own weight.
When I first heard Cosby's statements, I was
glad that he was publicizing this very popular
private conversation. The expensive Air Jordan
brand of gym shoes is a household brand with
my family. And I would much rather get a new
pair of Guess jeans rather than a book to help
me with my Spanish. Because my parents have
always given me lectures on how I spend my
money, I could definitely relate to Cosby's com-
ments. But I quickly snapped back into reality
upon remembering that materialism isn't just an
urban problem. It's an American problem.
Also, my parents might not like my boyfriend's
baggy jeans. But my Grammy wasn't too fond
of my Daddy's bellbottoms either or his groovy
lingo. So who is Cosby to stick his nose up at
baggy clothes and hip-hop fashion? Well, he was
America's favorite dad, and now he's extend-
ing his parenting talks. Cosby has undoubtedly
earned his turn at the podium, but someone needs
to pull the cord on his microphone.
It's already too easy to believe that the prob-
lems of the black community are self-inflicted.
Now you have Cosby preaching that "when you
have a 50 percent graduation rate, and some peo-
ple can't put two sentences together, and can't
write or spell ... you've got people who have put
themselves on a track to failure."
How does a student's inability to write or
spell translate into "putting themselves on
a track to failure?" Students go to school to
learn, and it's the responsibility of the school
to make sure that this happens. There is no
excuse for kid to advance from grade to grade
without knowing how to read or write. It's
absurd that Cosby would blame the students

for the school's failure.
Despite Cosby making generous contributions
to historically black colleges and universities, he
is failing his people. He came from the streets,
filled with the same people that he's humiliat-
ing. He was in their shoes. Therefore, Dr. Cosby
of all people should understand the complexities
of the inner-city struggle. Doctor didn't always
precede his name. Failing the 10th grade twice,
Cosby opted for the good-enough-degree (GED)
instead of graduating from high school. Later,
he would drop out of undergraduate school.
Because he never earned a Bachelor of Arts
degree, he used his celebrity status to eventually
gain entrance to a doctorate program.
Cosby was fortunate enough to overcome his
situation. He didn't pull himself up by the boot-
straps. He struggled hard, and fortunately his
life eventually fell into place.
But now that he's made it, he has a respon-
sibility to fight the institutions that make it
possible for kids to go to school without
learning anything. Poor blacks are not the
ones failing. It's society that is failing them.
If a white "C"-student can become the presi-
dent, a black "C"-student should at least be
able to live above the poverty level.
For Cosby, here's some advice: Be proactive
- stop preaching to middle-class blacks about
the problems of the lower class. If you want chil-
dren of the ghetto to hear you, don't go talk to a
crowd of university students - go to the ghetto.
Also, put your microphone down and pick-
up your cell phone. Unlike the poor blacks that
you've been ridiculing, you and your celebrity
friends actually have the financial means to
bring significant change ... and I'm not talking
about a few scholarships.

Clair can be reached
atjclair@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

4

Hoard's biblical agenda is
not large enough in scope
To THE DAILY:
As an avid reader of the' Bible, I was
shocked to read Joel Hoard's account of his son
seeing homosexuals and not knowing what
those abominations were (How the homosexuals
stole my child's innocence, 02/24/2005).
Additionally, I think he is correct in assess-
ing the eternal fate of gays and should continue
to push his agenda.
My problem with his column is that it is myopic
in biblical scope. Hoard should go beyond mere
homosexual damnation and speak to his impres-
sionable child about how he will sell his future
sister into slavery, as Exodus 21:7 advocates.
And what about people working on the Sabbath?
Shouldn't he tell his son to stone those who would
work on the day of rest, as Leviticus 10:10 would
advocates? After all, it's Leviticus 18:22 that tells
us about the sins of homosexuality. And let's not
ignore the elephant in the room - Leviticus 10:10
clearly tells us eating shellfish is an abomination,
so it is vital to our nation and religious ideology
that we don't let our kids eat lobster or shrimp, and
that we tell them to pray for all those who seek
nourishment at Red Lobster or worse, the ninth
circle of hell called Long John Silver's.
Thank you, Joel Hoard, for giving the
downtrodden heterosexual white population
a voice. The only thing left to do is to make
sure nobody has contact with a menstruating
woman (Leviticus 15:19-24). Godspeed.
Sean Smith
Alum
Homosexuality is a lifestyle,
it should not be condemned
To THE DAILY:
The remarks made by Joel Hoard (How the
homosexuals stole my child's innocence, 02/24/2005)
are not only offensive - they are also vile and dis-
gusting. We should be accepting of everyone no
matter the difference in one's belief or lifestyle.
The lifestyle of the homosexual is not an error
it is m pxth.r , rf ;ifr The An not

sexuality started in the summer of 1967, when
the hippies decided to challenge the natural
order that God established at the beginning of
time." I would strongly advise Hoard to enroll
in Women's Studies 345 - an Introduction to
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Stud-
ies. This would open his perspective greatly and
allow him to make more informed comments.
Homosexuality has existed long before 1967.
Hoard further refers to homosexuals as people
who have been "stricken with disease and pov-
erty." The fact is scientific attempts demonstrat-
ing that homosexual attraction is biologically
determined have failed time and time again. The
way we consider homosexuality in our culture is
an ethical and a moral question. Homosexuality
is not an illness that one "suffers from." Hoard
should not render judgments about human worth
or about what constitutes normality or disease.
My intentions here are basically two things:
One, people should realize that there are huge
prejudices unfortunately being carried into
future generations. And two, being homosexual
is not for people to judge. It is another lifestyle,
and we as unprejudiced individuals, should all
strive to embrace diversity in our society.
Dani Chan
LSA sophomore
If only Hoard's column
was truly satirical
TO THE DAILY:
Hilarious! Joel Hoard's column (How
the homosexuals stole my child's innocence,
02/24/2005) was the one of the best pieces
of satire on homophobia that I've ever seen.
"Homosexuality started in the summer of
1967, when hippies decided to challenge the
natural order that God established at the begin-
ning of time." Come on! That's great stuff, this
guy should write for the Daily Show!
Unfortunately, it appears that Hoard was being
serious. And while I laugh at his ludicrous asser-
tions about history, I'm saddened by the ignorance
he seems to be passing on to his six-year-old son.
Hoard writes that he "saw his first homosexu-
al" when he was 23. In reality, he's been seeing
yav and lehian nennl lall of his life.

Hoard points out that Jesus not only loved the most
reviled in his day, he also walked among them.
Praying that someone changes who they are to
fit a narrow interpretation of religious doctrine is
hardly an act of love. I invite Hoard to walk among
the LGBT community with an open mind and an
open heart. He may then come to know his neigh-
bors and learn to love his neighbors as himself.
Aaron Traxler-Ballew
Alum
Hoard's column fails
to understand real
loss of innocence
TO THE DAILY:
How saddening it was to read Joel Hoard's
recent column (How the homosexuals stole my
child's innocence, 02/24/2005). The curiosity,
wonderment and innocence that children have
are truly admirable. It is unfortunate that, as
we grow older, some of us lose that innocence
and wonderment and are filled instead with
hatred and bigotry. Hoard's column clearly
indicates that he misunderstands how this
happens. It seems he doesn't realize that it
wasn't two men holding hands in Chelsea that
stole his child's innocence - he did.
With curiosity, his son asked a question
about the two men, and instead of explain-
ing love, courage and the value of tolerance,
Hoard chose instead to express hatred, igno-
rance and intolerance by telling him the men
were sinners that would be "going to hell."
Hoard's son's innocence is lost, yes, but "the
homosexuals" are not to blame.
Jeff A. Souva
LSA senior
Hoard's satire should be
applauded by liberals
TO THE DAILY:
I would like to thank Joel Hoard for
his column (How the homosexuals stole my
child's innocence, 02/24/2005). Hoard's
caustic humor resonates because of its
amazing resemblance to the conservative

4

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