Bill Cosby has been pilloried for years by the radically chic who’ve disliked his efforts to get African-Americans to take more responsibility for their own success and education. Now Spike Lee seems to be picking up the torch for education, discipline and hard work.
Speaking to an audience in Arizona, the film director made some trenchant points. As reported in the Tuscon Citizen, Lee was firing on all cylinders:
“Despite 100 years of slavery, our ancestors were smart enough to know that education would be the thing to lead us out of bondage,” he said. “At a time when to learn to read and write was against the law for African-Americans, our ancestors risked life and limb to learn.”
He spoke of his parents’ and grandparents’ generations greatest mantra: “Education is the key.”
Then, he asked the crowd how, with such a rich history, fewer than half of Black males graduate from high school in America.
Pandering, amoral Hollywood has a lot to do with what’s wrong, Lee continued.
Lee blamed the influence that crack cocaine has had in poor neighborhoods and the influence that media have had in glorifying drugs and gangsters, whom he said are primarily portrayed by Black actors.
“I am from the pre-crack generation. When I was growing up, we never, ever, never ridiculed someone because they were a good student,” he said.
“Your generation, they now equate intelligence with acting White and ignorance with acting Black, and they wear it like a badge of honor. They say, ‘I’m ghetto. I’m gangster.’ What they are is ignorant.”
Words to heed, but Via Meadia wonders. Will the people who mocked and scorned Bill Cosby for trying to help families and kids do better now turn on Spike Lee?