Bill Cosby is a lot of things - comedian, actor, educator and philosopher.
A few days ago at ceremonies in Washington marking the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision known as Brown v. Board of Education, which ended mandated segregated schools in the United States, Cosby said things about the state of young black America that not many could get away with. Cosby can because he has put his money where his mouth is, donating millions to black colleges.
Reading Cosby's remarks causes one's jaw to drop. In an age when public figures often put their spoken or written words through the political correctness filter, Cosby was bluntly frank, excoriating black parents for failing to properly rear their children and saying they were the cause of high school dropout rates, crime and other social ills.
Here are a few sound bites as transcribed by Washington Post reporter Hamil Harris:
- "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?"
- ". . . we cannot blame white people . . . ."
- "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 to the crack 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 d--- 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."
Cosby lamented that too many black parents "are not parenting. They are buying things for their kids - $500 sneakers for what? And won't spend $200 for Hooked on Phonics."