Detroit schools up in smoke. Bill Cosby to the rescue

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Detroit Public Schools is a disaster zone, the corruption in the administrative ranks is encrusted in the walls thicker than year-old molasses, and the children are receiving the best possible education in how to graduate from one grade to the next knowing less than when they came through the door. That’s not an easy skill to master, but with a little help from DPS, any unsuspecting child can be robbed of an education.

Bill Cosby to the rescue.

Amidst all the crisis, Cosby has been to the Motor City on behalf of Detroit’s public schools twice during the past two weeks to bring his considerable star power to bear on behalf of  Detroit’s failing schools. His message, which doesn’t change regardless of whatever blasted out city he drops in on, never changes; get your shit together, because whatever happens you don’t have anybody to blame but yourself.

I don’t think it’s quite that simple to be honest, but I do understand where Dr. Cosby’s tough love approach is coming from and I respect it. Because basically, regardless of where the blame may truly lie for the situation that many inner city communities find themselves in, the truth is that the only hope these communities have of salvation is to be found within those communities themselves. Ain’t nobody coming in to save us, because not that many folks give a damn.

Even Cosby isn’t really here to come to the rescue. Not really. Cosby’s here as a doomsday bell ringer, trying to awaken the slumbering self-preservationist that hopefully exists within all of us. The good news is that the man cares enough not to just pop in and out but to come back time and again. He obviously cares, even though Detroit’s not his hometown, and that’s a good thing.

The flip side, if that’s a good way to put it, is that one has to wonder what that says about us as Detroiters if we have to have Cosby come to town to tell us our school system is on fire and we’d better put it out.  For that matter, what does it say about us that Robert Bobb had to be imported from Lansing to get the DPS books straight? Even Bobb was forced to publicly wonder why he was even here this past Sunday at Fellowship Chapel, where Rev. Anthony had asked him to come and speak.  No, Bobb wasn’t confused about his location. What Bobb was saying, as I understand it (my wife gave me the replay of what he said, I wasn’t there) was that if the DPS board members had been doing their job then his hard medicine wouldn’t be necessary.

And if Detroiters had been paying closer attention to their elected DPS crooks  and fools years ago, then we wouldn’t have lost our vote for five years and had an appointed school board forced upon us by then Gov. Engler, a man who couldn’t have given less of a damn about Detroit if he tried really, really hard. But as much as I can’t stand Engler, it wasn’t Engler’s fault that Detroiters lost their ability to vote in their own school board for five years. That was Detroit’s own fault for letting the situation get so far out of hand that no governor – Engler or no Engler -would have been left with any workable option except to take it over. Damned near everybody screaming bloody murder about how their vote had been stolen had never voted in a school board election their entire life.

Bill Cosby can come to town, but only Detroit can come to the rescue of Detroit. And to do that we have to start paying attention. When there’s an election we have to show up. When there’s an issue we have to study up.

Otherwise we may as well bend over and shut the fuck up.

SHAMELESS PLUG: Read my wife’s blog @ The “D” Spot Redeux

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~ by Keith A. Owens on September 15, 2009.

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