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Published: Saturday, 6/12/2004

Bill Cosby was right

BY ROSE RUSSELL

MORE than one headline on news stories reporting the Bill Cosby debate suggested shock and outrage over his so-called politically incorrect remarks.

Understand this: Mr. Cosby's comments were on target, should have been said long ago, and should initiate a movement to counteract what's happening to our young people.

Yet people's mouths were agape and sensibilities stunned last month by what Mr. Cosby said at Constitution Hall in Washington during the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education celebration.

Mr. Cosby expressed dismay about the state of young blacks. Thankfully, millions are not in the same category as those targeted by Mr. Cosby. But considering the plethora of misguided young people, we all should join him in his indignation. He is right: too few black youth have an education, too many spend money on foolishness, too many speak another language, and too many are incarcerated.

Here are his remarks:

"Ladies and gentlemen, 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 won't spend $200 for 'Hooked on Phonics'?"

Some dislike his targeting lower economic groups. But many of us came from poor homes and our parents still did a good job and gave us the tools to be assets to society. Would his remarks have been more palatable if he had said high income parents are guilty of the same faults? Many of them are.

"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' ... 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!"

About the incarcerated, Mr. Cosby had this to say: "These are not political criminals. These are people going around stealing Coca-Cola. People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake and then we run out and we are outraged, (saying) 'The cops shouldn't have shot him.' What the hell was he doing with the pound cake in his hand?"

A caller to a radio talk show focusing on Mr. Cosby's comments said this about youth, "These people act like they don't even want to go to school, and that's what [ticks] me off."

It is aggravating, especially when black youth liken getting good grades and speaking properly to "acting white." Do they think all whites are smart and all blacks are not? They are drowning in their own stupidity and they don't even know it.

Some of Mr. Cosby's critics liken this debate to a family hanging out its dirty laundry for all to see. Get a grip, folks: people know. So don't pretend the problems don't exist. They do. And they are extensive.

Mr. Cosby deserves support, not criticism.

When black youths and young adults promote obscenity on TV, don't you wonder: Is this what people died for? Is this why water hoses and vicious dogs were turned on black people? Is this why some died trying to get the right to vote? Is this what we have to show for the thousands who were lynched, beaten, abused, and otherwise denied civil rights?

Did Brown v. Board of Education pave the way for young people to simulate sexual acts on national TV, and not display their academic abilities?

Did the March on Washington clear the way for black stars to boast their pricey lifestyles and stuff, only for them to open their mouths to talk, and no one understand them? How much have they saved for college? Do they follow Mr. Cosby's example and give to educate the less fortunate?

Did the lunch counter sit-ins open the way for black youths to sport pricey throwback jerseys and tennis shoes?

No, people. Bill Cosby is so right that black Americans who do nothing to try to improve this state of affairs ought to hang their heads in shame.



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