Tuesday, December 04, 2007

We Cannot Blame The White People Anymore

by Bill Cosby - Comments from May, 2004
- 50th Anniversary of "Brown vs Board of Education"

They’re standing on the corner and they can’t speak English. I can’t even talk the way these people talk: "Why you ain’t", "Where you is", "What he drive", "Where he stay", "Where he work", "Who you be…" And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. And then I heard the father talk.

Everybody knows it’s important to speak English except these knuckleheads. You can’t be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth. In fact you will never get any kind of job making a decent living.

People marched and were hit in the face with rocks to get an education, and now we’ve got these knuckleheads walking around. The lower economic people are not holding up their end in this deal. These people are not parenting. They are buying things for kids. $500 sneakers for what? And they won’t spend $200 for Hooked on Phonics.

I am talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit. Where were you when he was 2? Where were you when he was 12? Where were you when he was 18 and how come you didn’t know that he had a pistol? And where is the father? Or who is his father?

People putting their clothes on backward: Isn’t that a sign of something gone wrong? People with their hats on backward, pants down around the crack, isn’t that a sign of something? Or are you waiting for Jesus to pull his pants up? Isn’t it a sign of something when she has her dress all the way up and got all type of needles [piercing] going through her body?

What part of Africa did this come from? We are not Africans. Those people are not Africans; they don’t know a thing about Africa. With names like Shaniqua, Taliqua and Mohammed and all of that crap, and all of them are in jail.

Brown or black versus the Board of Education is no longer the white person’s problem. We have got to take the neighborhood back. People used to be ashamed. Today a woman has eight children with eight different ‘husbands’ — or men or whatever you call them now. We have millionaire football players who cannot read. We have million-dollar basketball players who can’t write two paragraphs. We as black folks have to do a better job. Someone working at Wal-Mart with seven kids, you are hurting us. We have to start holding each other to a higher standard.

We cannot blame the white people any longer.

Knuckleheads. Bill Cosby never pulled any punches, even when he was a comedian. However he never used profanity. He was a living representation of a famous quote. "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." Bill Cosby became that dream. Attended school on an athletic scolarship in track. Bachelor and Master degrees from Temple University. Phd in Education from University of Massachusetts. Bill Cosby is character from head to toe. 5 times he was chosen America's best TV entertainer. He was not the entertainer of blacks or of whites but of Americans. His success was based on shows that anyone can watch. They are examples of class and character and humor. They show people who are flawed in small ways but basically decent. That is the word. Decent. Not like the people that Cosby criticized.

Today, nearly four years after his comments above, Bill Cosby is still fighting the battle. In the interim we have had books such as
Is Bill Cosby Right or Is the Black Middle Class Out of Touch? This is a book that tears into Bill Cosby for not being something different. He is denounced for not holding himself up as only a black man, not an American. It ridicules him for not being more like the people he criticizes. Michael Eric Dyson, the author, argues that Cosby's character does not matter, only the color of his skin is important. Doesn't that mean Martin Luther King is being denounced as well?

Bill Cosby has responded with a book of his own, Come on People! On the Path from Victims to Victors. It is a book that is very positive. It has to be positive. Positive is necessary for us to change what Bill Cosby has started this dialog about. When things are failing, the failure must be ended, not excused. More than half the black male children in North Carolina will drop out of high school before they graduate. A great number of them are this generations Bill Cosby, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Janice Rogers Brown, Clarence Thomas, Larry Elder, Thomas Sowell . . . . They could be great! But we have let them down.

The sad part to me is how many failures, people who have accomplished little themselves, look at these great people and insist that their success is undeserved. There are people in the black community of the Inner Banks who actually believe that ridiculing them, the way Michael Eric Dyson ridiculed Bill Cosby, is okay. They are the same people who insist we cannot expect black children to learn. I don't agree. I think that Michael Eric Dyson and all the rest who say they can't are Knuckleheads.


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