Bill Cosby to Blacks: Stop Blaming 'The White Man' By Marc Morano
CNSNews.com Senior Staff Writer
July 02, 2004
Chicago (CNSNews.com) - Bill Cosby pleaded with blacks to stop blaming the "white man" for their problems on Thursday, and he reiterated his harsh critique of the current state of African-American culture.
"It is almost analgesic [ A drug that reduces or relieves pain ] to talk about what the white man is doing against us, and it keeps a person frozen in their seat. It keeps you frozen in your hole that you are sitting in to point up and say, 'That's the reason why I am here.' We need to stop this," Cosby said in an address before Jesse Jackson's 33rd Annual Rainbow/PUSH Coalition conference in Chicago.
The 66-year-old Cosby struck an introspective tone. "There is a time, ladies and gentlemen, when we have to turn the mirror around," he told the crowd of 500 people at the Sheraton hotel.
Cosby bristled at any notion that he should tone down his views so they will not be taken out of context and exploited.
"I couldn't care less about what white people think about me at this time," he said to loud applause.
"Let them talk! What are they saying that is different from what their grandfather said? What are they doing or trying to do to us that their grandfathers didn't try to do to us? But what is different is what we are doing to ourselves," Cosby said.
The entertainer has been at the center of a racially charged controversy since May when he ridiculed the poor grammar of some blacks. "I can't even talk the way these people talk, 'Why you ain't,' 'Where you is' ... and I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk," Cosby said in Washington, D.C. on May 17, at an event marking the anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education desegregation ruling.
On Thursday, Cosby urged blacks to take personal responsibility for their lives, and he hinted that social welfare programs may be having unintended consequences for African-Americans.
"The housing project was set up for you to move in, move up, and move out," he said.
Being poor had a different meaning to older generations, according to Cosby.
"If you go up to people -- when you ask them and you say, 'Were you poor?' they would say, 'No, no, our parents were broke, but we were not poor.' There was a spirit in that house," he explained.
His message to black people who say he's exposing the "dirty laundry" of the black community was blunt.
"Let me tell you something, your dirty laundry gets out of school at 2:30 every day. It's cursing and calling each other 'nigger' as they're walking up and down the street. They think they hip -- can't read, can't write -- 50 percent of them," he said.'An accepted word'
Cosby stressed the importance of education and proper parenting.
"The more you invest in that child, the more you are not going to let some CD tell your child how to curse and how to say the word 'nigger.' This is an accepted word. You are so hip with 'nigger,' but you can't even spell it," an impassioned Cosby lamented
Whatever happened to 'Black is beautiful?' Well, it was replaced with 'nigger please,'" he said to laughter.
Cosby's message on Thursday was part common sense and part shock value.
"Education, ladies and gentleman, respect the elderly, respect for yourselves, respect for others," Cosby said.
"These young girls have no business having sex!" he emphasized as the crowd clapped approvingly.
"We got too many young girls who don't know how to parent, turning themselves into parents. Ladies and gentlemen, our little eight-year-old boys, nine-year-old boys, having erections and only acting out that which they see and hear on some CD. They're acting that out and they don't know the damage that they are doing when they rape some little girl nine years old and what they have done to her whole life. It's time to stop!" an animated Cosby said.
Cosby also took on the pop culture of music, movies and television.
"When you put on a record, and that record is yelling 'nigger this' and 'nigger that' and cursing all over the thing and you got your little six-year-old and seven-year-old sitting in the back seat of the car -- those children hear that. And I am telling you when you put it the CD on and then you get up and dance to it -- What are you saying to your children?" he asked.
"Eight-year-old, nine-year-old boys have no business teaming up to rape a nine-year or ten-year-old girl. And if it's in that TV set, don't bring it into your home, if it's on your record player, don't bring it in your home," he said.
"We are going to call each other names of ugliness. Comedians coming on TV [saying] 'I am so ugly, you are ugly, yuck, yuck.' That's all minstrel show stuff. I am tired of it," he continued.
"I am talking about profanity. I am talking about cursing at each other like it's something hip, like it's something that's right. I am talking about people calling each other a name that there are still -- if DNA goes to the Mississippi River-- you are gong to find African blood in there, dead from being called nigger and then hacking them," he added.
Sounding like a motivational preacher at times, Cosby even joked "I can just talk for 12 hours on this and not have a collection."'Taken care of at home'
Parents have to take charge of their children as part of a "parent power" plan, according to Cosby.
"You going to tell me that you are going to drop out of school? You are going to tell me that you are going to steal from a store? These things need to be taken care of in the home," he said to applause.
"Where did we get so comfortable -- when and who gave us the word that said, 'You don't need to know how to read and write again?'" Cosby asked.
"Before you get to the point where you say, 'I can't do nothing with them,' I am just saying, 'Do something with them,'" he added.
Today's generation of African-American youth does not appreciate or understand the sacrifices of its elders, Cosby said.
"Understand, your children have to know where you came from. And they have to know about those people hanging [during the civil rights struggles] and how when they did hang them on a Sunday, the theme song was "Amazing Grace." That is what they sang when the bodies were hanging. Your children don't know that, your grandchildren don't know it," he said.
"Ladies and gentlemen, it hurts, it hurts, because these children don't know about their poor mothers and fathers, they don't know about how there was no done deal [regarding the civil rights struggle]," he explained.
Too many African-Americans are not motivated to better their life, Cosby said.
"The analgesic of cursing and profanity and standing around and just letting the day go by and wake up the next morning to start your next day of moving this day along -- you'll have no picture that is large enough to take you out of where you going," he said.'Going nowhere'
Cosby focused much of his attention on African-American youth.
"They put themselves on the train, you know, the buses, and they don't even care what color or what age somebody else is, it's about them and their cursing and grabbing each other and laughing and giggling and they're going nowhere. Their book bags are very, very thin," he added.
Cosby also pleaded with black men to improve their ways.
"Young men and old men, you've gotta stop beating up your women because you didn't find a job, because you didn't want to get an education and now you are [earning] minimum wage. You should have thought more of yourself when you were in high school," he said.
"When you beat up your woman, when you beat up your wife, those little children are watching, it's almost irreparable, you can't get it back what you've done to that child," he added.
Cosby's own personal life has come under scrutiny in the past for his admitted extra marital affair with a woman named Shawn Byers in the 1970s. Byers' daughter, Autumn Jackson, has publicly claimed that Cosby is her father.
Jackson was convicted of extortion because of her attempts to blackmail Cosby. Cosby has denied he is Jackson's father, but he admitted providing financial support for her.
'Our people agree'
An emotional Jesse Jackson told the crowd on Thursday that many in the media have tried to exploit Cosby's words and divide the black community, but Jackson said it would not work.
"Bill is saying, 'Let's fight the right fight, let's level the playing field," Jackson explained. "Drunk people can't do that. Illiterate people can't do that," he added.
Earlier in the week, Jackson said, "Our people agree with Bill...Bill took it to another level. His point was to lift up and not tear down," he added. [good for Rev. Jackson - UnConfused]
Judge Greg Mathis, the no-nonsense star of the syndicated television program "The Judge Mathis Show", also spoke at the event and defended Cosby's words as well.
"We should not allow anyone, any media, to try and turn us against one who is indeed our father," Mathis said.
UnConfused - If I were black and a white person said these things I would not hear him or her. If what Mr. Cosby said is true, it needs to be said by a person from the same culture and color.