Bill Cosby ― that’s Dr. William H. Cosby, Phd in education from the University of Massachusetts ― has made a lot of people mad by speaking the truth.
He spoke the truth in front of people who think they are his peers but in reality can’t carry his Temple University sweatshirt.
“People marched and were hit in the face with rocks to get an education, and now we’ve got these knuckleheads walking around. . . .
“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 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?”
He said this and a whole bunch more at an NAACP event honoring the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision by the United States Supreme Court.
“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 versus the Board of Education is no longer the white person’s problem. We have got to take the neighborhood back. . . . They are standing on the corner and they can’t speak English.”
But what really has made these people mad is that he happens to be right and in their hearts of hearts, they all ― each and every one of them ― knows he is right.
“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.
“Everybody knows it’s important to speak English except these knuckleheads.”
Even the clowns at the head table who the Washington Post reported sat there “stone-faced” while Cos (that's Dr. Cos, to them) told them the real facts of life.
“People used to be ashamed...a woman has eight children with eight different ‘husbands,’ or men or whatever you call them now.
“The idea is to one day get out of the projects. You don’t just stay there.
“We have millionaire football players who can’t 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 white people....”
And Dr. Cos did not back down.
In a statement released Tuesday by his management company, he answered his now numerous bloviating media critics.
“I travel the country and see these patterns in every community—stories of 12 year old children killed in the cross-fire between knuckleheads selling drugs, the 14 year olds with a sealed envelope as their first step into the criminal justice system, the young males who become fathers and are not held responsible, the young women having children and moving back in with their mothers and grandmothers, and the young people who choose not to learn standard English.
“My question: Is Bill Cosby hoping that the drop out rate will reach 70% soon and teenage single parenthood will grow to 80% in the lower economic neighborhoods? Or is he clanging a bell and warning that this is an epidemic that has to be stopped? Are we so worried about what others think about us that we are unwilling to address this disease that is inflecting our people more and more every day?”
Cosby pointed out that media critics such as Christopher Farley at Time Magazine are flawed in their argument that African American literary greats such as Langston Hughes and Zora Hurston honored the dialects that Mr. Cosby criticized as a lack of language proficiency which further denies opportunity to inner city blacks. “Clearly, Mr. Farley did not speak in dialect on ‘Good Morning America’ nor would he probably have been hired by Time if he spoke that way. Secondly, someone should question Mr. Farley whether Mr. Hughes or Ms. Hurston knew standard English and chose to write in dialect.
“I feel that I can no longer remain silent. If I have to make a choice between keeping quiet so that conservative media does not speak negatively or ringing the bell to galvanize those who want change in the lower economic community, then I choose to be a bell ringer.”
As Fat Albert would say, “Hey, Hey Hey!”
Editor's Note: Quotes from the address are from the Washington Post.