There are still whites out there who think that blacks are innately incapable of achievement -- and some of them support affirmative action for that reason. But there is plenty of evidence that innate ability, or even developed mental skills, are not the big problem.
Not only blacks with low test scores, but even blacks with high test scores, do not do as well academically as whites with the same test scores. Among Asian Americans, it is just the opposite. They do better than whites with the same test scores, whether in educational institutions or in economic activities.
Years ago, Cosby urged a group of young blacks to put more effort into their studies, the way Asian students do. "Do you know why they are called Asians?" he asked. "Because they always get A's."
The differences among all these groups are in one four-letter word that you are still not supposed to say: work.
Anyone who has taught black, white, and Asian students will know that they do not work equally. Studies show it but you don't need studies. Just go into a university library on a Saturday night and see who is there and who is not there.
In some places, you might think it was an all-Asian university, judging by the students in the library on Saturday night.
How surprised should you be when you go into a classroom on Monday morning and find out who is on top of the work and who is struggling to keep up?
What Bill Cosby said was no laughing matter. It is closer to being something to cry about.