To the obvious dismay of the black political establishment, Bill Cosby still is not behaving.
His latest verbal assault on the status quo of black America ripped forth at Jesse Jackson's recent annual Rainbow/PUSH meeting. Reactions from establishment leadership were uniform and predictable. According to their spin, Cosby said nothing new and nothing that wasn't already widely being discussed in the community. Their only problem was Cosby airing his complaints for all America to hear.
Here is an example of what Cosby had to say that for the black establishment is not news:
"For me there is a time ... when we have to turn the mirror around ... Because for me it is almost analgesic 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 you're sitting in."
Jesse Jackson called this a "common message" that can be heard in any black church.
If Cosby's appeal for personal responsibility among African Americans is not news for black leadership, then one must ask why this leadership has opposed and does oppose every reform that attempts to recognize these points, turn back government and return choice and responsibility to black citizens.
An important example was the sweeping welfare reform legislation of 1996. Signed into law by Bill Clinton, these fundamental changes in our welfare system placed major new responsibilities on welfare recipients to find work. Welfare rolls have subsequently been cut in half and this legislation is widely regarded as a success and a model for future reforms. Yet black leadership and the congressional black caucus uniformly opposed this legislation and will deny today that it has been a plus in a community deeply damaged by addiction to government and welfare.
Cosby specifically addressed problems in education and talked about 50 percent school dropout rates of black children. Now if any fundamental reform has deep support in the black community it is school choice. For a laundry list of solid reasons, parents should be empowered to choose how and where to educate their children and black parents, particularly low income black parents, know this. Yet, black leadership continues to support the government school monopoly.