July 2, 2004 6:28 AM

The words of a prophet are often ignored

Bill Cosby has more harsh words for black community

What would you do if you saw your people sliding into obscurity, willing to accept becoming second-class citizens? What would you do if you saw what seems to you as the inexorable decline of a culture even though this slide is preventable? Bill Cosby could relax and enjoyment the fruits of a very successful career. The man has made a few bucks during his time, and he certainly isn't going to have to worry about where his next Big Mac is coming from. No one would question him if he were to simply fade into the relaxed obscurity of retirement. Instead, he has chosen to listen to his social conscience and address what to are the problems African-Americans have created for themselves>

CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- Bill Cosby went off on another tirade against the black community Thursday, telling a room full of activists that black children are running around not knowing how to read or write and "going nowhere."

He also had harsh words for struggling black men, telling them: "Stop beating up your women because you can't find a job."....

"Let me tell you something, your dirty laundry gets out of school at 2:30 every day, it's cursing and calling each other n------ as they're walking up and down the street," Cosby said during an appearance at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition & Citizenship Education Fund's annual conference.

"They think they're hip," the entertainer said. "They can't read; they can't write. They're laughing and giggling, and they're going nowhere."

Understandably, Cosby's observations aren't going to be universally well-accepted among African-Americans. Here's the problem, though: where is he incorrect? You could challenge his politics, or his viewpoint...you might even argue that his wealth has clouded his vision. The problem, though, is that not only would you be wrong, you would be missing the point entirely. His passion could be mistaken for disdain, but again you would be mistaken. The man knows of which he speaks, and I would suggest that African-Americans ignore him at their own peril.

Being whiter than white, I am honestly in no position to comment on the current state of African-American culture. Listening to Cosby's words, though, I was struck by the reality that if Cosby didn't care about his community he wouldn't be throwing himself into the fire. Perhaps those who would criticize him as out of touch and mean-spirited should LISTEN to his words. He's talking about parents being there for their children. He's talking about taking advantage of educational opportunities. He's talking about taking responsibility for the choices you make with your life.

I applaud Cosby for having the courage and the cojones to speak his mind. It's not like many other African-Americans are folowing his example.

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This page contains a single entry by Jack Cluth published on July 2, 2004 6:28 AM.

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