Thursday, October 18, 2007

What Would Bill Cosby Say?

I’ve just begun reading “Come on People: On the Path from Victims to Victors,” by Bill Cosby and Alvin F. Poussaint, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School. I’ll have a review up in a few days, but after delving into the stories, I was struck by the synchronicity of this Reuters report from Bolivia:

Hundreds of Bolivians fed up with underage drinking and crime stormed a neighborhood of bars and brothels in the impoverished El Alto slum outside La Paz on Wednesday, setting beds, television sets and chairs on fire.

Vigilantes have stormed the red-light district three days running, complaining it is a haven for criminals and that the bars there serve alcohol to minors.

They want local authorities to shut them down.

“There is a lot of violence here because of the bars... We want them out. The authorities aren’t doing anything so we have to burn them down,” said Lucy Quispe, a 45-year-old mother of three who lives near the problem area.

“The police are accomplices ... we are throwing stones at them as well,” she told Reuters.

According to local media reports as many as 50 drinking establishments have been destroyed since the protests started on Monday.

Hundreds of students joined in the demonstrations on Wednesday, pelting store fronts with stones and shouting “the bars are destroying our lives”.

El Alto, just north of Bolivia’s administrative capital La Paz, is one of the largest urban areas in Bolivia, with nearly 1 million inhabitants, mostly Aymara and Quechua Indians.

Lynch-mob attacks against suspected criminals are commonplace in El Alto. People in this urban area of unpaved streets and mud-brick houses have long complained that police do not do enough to fight rampant crime.

There is also a short video of the bar-stool burnings – these are some angry parents. The voice over narrative says children as young as twelve are served alcohol and show up at school drunk.

Mr. Cosby, who has a PhD in education (not honorary -- he earned it the hard way at the University of Massachusetts back in the late ‘60’s or early 70’s) has long been interested in changing the conversation about African American “victims” to a dialogue about what it takes to become a victor instead…

I say hurrah for those Bolivian parents. And I hope the parents of African American children who are stuck in the mire of what passes for public school education in this country will take Dr. Cosby’s and Dr. Poussaint’s suggestions to heart.

So far, their book resonates with Walter Williams’ ideas about how to change things: get an education (that is *not* a plug for public schools); get legitimate employment, never leaving one job before you've secured another; and most important, don’t participate in bringing more illegitimate children into the world.

These are not the solutions suggested by the nanny state, ever ready to offer “entitlements” to victims. But things are changing…indeed they are.

[post ends here]


Larry Sheldon said...

Where is Carrie Nation when we need her?

Do they have a WTCU?

Dymphna said...

Evidently you don't live in a slum and aren't having your children come home drunk from school...

Is the air up on Mt Olympus as thin as I hear it is?

PRCalDude said...

The poor should not be exposed to crime and terrorism any more than the rich. Bravo to the Bolivians. I fear that the poor in the United States are going to do a similar thing if our government doesn't do something about the Mexican invasion.

atheling2 said...

Let's see if the Euros precede us...

Larry Sheldon said...

"Evidently you don't live in a slum and aren't having your children come home drunk from school...

Is the air up on Mt Olympus as thin as I hear it is?"

Was that in response to my post? Why?

When my children were small I or my wife knew where they were.

I've never been to Mt. Olympus to the best of my recollection.

But if it takes destroying the property of others to keep your children out of the bars, you have a much bigger problem than you realize.

Larry Sheldon said...

Well, I don't know what your problem is--I'll just drop you off the list and be on my way.

What ever the offense was, I apologize.

Dymphna said...


prcaldude attempted to explain why your comment was out of line. Evidently you don't get it.

Please, *do* drop me off your list. Since your offensive remark is opaque to you, then it's not a list I need to be on.

How fortunate that you and your wife had the time and resources to guide your children. What would you do had you not been so blessed? And what if you lived in a slum in Bolivia and the police ignored your problem?

Why the snark about the Women's Temperance Union?

Exactly what was your point? That you're better than these people who are attempting to take care of a situation which is ruining their kids and which the authorities have wilfully ignored?

If your children had to walk past bars and brothels on the way home from school, and you were out earning your 5 pesos a day to feed them, what *would* you do when your pleas to authority were ignored?

Obviously you've never been between a rock and a hard place when it comes to protecting your kids. Lucky for you and your family.

atheling2 said...

larry probably thinks that the Boston Tea Party was wrong too.

There was someone else who commented here a while ago with the same attitude...

Well, some people are just smugly insulated from crime and poverty.

Dymphna said...

yes, and insulated from reality too.

Some of them need a clue-by-four.