Tuesday, August 7, 2007

"About Blacks"---By Bill Cosby

"About Blacks"---by Bill Cosby

Fw: Fwd: A must read article by Bill Cosby

MUST READ: For all who really care about Blacks

The Reverend Jesse Jackson almost never gets upstaged and few had ever
seen the Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson cry in public until last month.
Jackson invited Bill Cosby to the annual Rainbow/PUSH conference for a
conversation about the controversial remarks the entertainer offered on
May 17, at an NAACP dinner in Washington, D.C., when America's Jell-O
Man shook things up by arguing that African Americans were betraying
the legacy of civil rights victories. Cosby said, " the lower economic
people are not holding up their end in this deal. These people are not
parenting. They are buying things for their kids . . . $500 sneakers .
. . for what? But they won't spend $200 for Hooked on Phonics!"

Bill Cosby came to town and upstaged the reverend by going on the
offense instead of defending his earlier remarks. Thursday morning,
Cosby showed no signs of repenting as he strode across the stage at the
Sheraton Hotel ballroom before a standing room only crowd. Sporting a
natty gold sports coat and dark glasses, he proceeded to unload a
Laundry list of Black America's self-imposed ills. The iconic actor and
comedian kidded that he couldn't compete with the oratory of the
Reverend but he preached circles around Jackson in their nearly
hour-long conversation, delivering brutally frank one-liners and the
toughest of love.

The enemy, he argues, is us: "There is a time, ladies and gentlemen,
when we have to turn the mirror around." Cosby acknowledged he wasn't
critiquing all blacks . . . just the 50 percent of African Americans in
the lower economic neighborhood who drop out of school, and the
alarming proportions of black men in prison and black teenage mothers.
The mostly black crowd seconded him with choruses of Amens.

To the critics who pose, it's unproductive to air our dirty laundry in
public, he responds, "Your dirty laundry gets out of school at 2:30
everyday. It's cursing on the way home, on the bus, train, in the candy
store. They are cursing and grabbing each other and going nowhere. The
book bag is very, very thin because there's nothing in it."

"Don't worry about the white man," he added. "I could care less about
what white people think about me . . . Let them talk. What are they
saying that is so different from what their grandfathers said and did
to us? What is different is what we are doing to ourselves."

For those who say Cosby is just an elitist who's "got his" but doesn't
understand the plight of the black poor, he reminds us that, "We're
going to turn that mirror around. It's not just the poor, everybody's

Cosby and Jackson lamented that in the 50th year of Brown vs. Board of
Education, our failings betray our legacy. Jackson dabbed away tears as
he recalled the financial struggles at Fisk University, a historically
black college and Jackson's Alma mater.

When Cosby was done, the 1,000 people in the room all jumped to their
feet in ovation. Long after Cosby had departed, I could not find a
dissenter in the crowd. But in the hotel corridor I encountered a
vintage poster for sale that said volumes. The poster, which advertised
the "Million Man March", was discounted to $5 dollars. Remember the
Million Man March in 1995?

Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan exhorted a million sober,
disciplined, committed, dedicated, inspired black men to meet in
Washington on a day of atonement. In 2006, perhaps all that is left of
that call is a $5 dollar poster. We have shed tears too many times, at
too many watershed moments before, while the hopes they inspired have
fallen by the wayside. Not this time!

Cosby's plea to parents "Before you get to the point where you say 'I
can't do nothing with them,... do something with them."Like: Teach our
children to speak English. And that there's no such thing as "talking
white". When the teacher calls, show up at the school. When the idiot
box starts spewing profane rap videos, turn it off. Refrain from
cursing around the kids. Teach our boys that women should be cherished,
not raped and demeaned. Tell them that education is a prize we won with
blood and tears, not a dishonor. Stop making excuses for the agents and
abettors of black on black crime. It costs us nothing to do these
things. But, if we don't, it will cost us infinitely more tears.

We all send thousands of jokes through e-mail without a second thought,
but when it comes to sending messages regarding life choices people
think twice about sharing. The crude,vulgar and sometimes the obscene
pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of decency is too
often suppressed in the schools and workplaces.

I passed this article on. Will you?