Do you remember the good ole days when Bill Cosby was too busy selling Jello Pudding Pops to open his mouth about race, drugs and poverty? Just because he was America’s favorite dad during the eighties, does not mean that we have forgotten that he was too busy “being human” to get involved in the civil rights movement of the 60’s. When comedians like Dick Greggory were giving it all for the cause and risking their careers, Cosby took the safe route. In fact, safe is about all he has ever been good at, and now he has the nerve to repeatedly stand on a podium and lecture people.
According to Bossip (even a broken clock is relevant twice a day) Last Saturday at the 2010 Essence Festival, Cosby used his position as a keynote speaker to display his special brand of father knows nothing:
“We’ve got to lay it out for them,” Cosby said when asked about how to help cut the rate of teen pregnancies in America. “Let’s tell them about life. You’re 14 and having sex. OK. So, what kind of job do you have?”
Cosby, who received a standing ovation when he walked on stage, said the African-American community must get involved if change is going to occur in any area.
“Apathy is strangling you to death,” he said, to rousing applause and a few ‘Amens’ from the crowd.
“Get up. Stay on the scene. Be a studying machine,” he said, drawing from soul singer James Brown’s lyrics.
“We need to start getting into people’s business. We need to say, ‘Hey, I’m your cousin man, I’m your brother, I’m your sister and I don’t care if you don’t talk to me anymore but your teenage daughter ain’t got no business dressing like that!’ Tell them.”
So, through all of that blather, I took away a good dose of sex and slut shaming, as well as ageism. Who is he to decide how a young girl should dress and what does that have to do with how successful she is in life? Is prohibition on sex only for young unemployed teenagers, or does it apply to adults who are currently out of work? With a vicious recession going on, and the fact that it has impacted large sections of the Black community, very few people will be getting their grove on. Heaven forbid the man offer real soultions that don’t shame people like free birth control, STD testing and EDUCATION — you know that thing he is always touting. For a man that didn’t exactly keep it in his pants during his lifetime, he has a lot of nerve to get up on a stage and lecture anyone about sex.
“How long do we wait? When are you going to wake up? We can’t keep blaming people and expecting people to fix it. This has to stop.”
The moderator asked Cosby how to keep children out of harm’s way after reeling off a string of statistics, such as the thousands of young people killed by gun violence.
“Look under the mattress,” he said of hiding places for guns. “He don’t pay rent. Treat them as a child and remind them that you’re the one raising them.”
He then told the story of how a woman asked her son one day where he had been. “The boy said ‘uh, uh, no where.’ She asked him again, where he’d been. Again, he said, ‘uh, uh, no where. I ain’t doing nothing.’ She said, boy, where you been? Finally, he told her he was on the corner, hanging out.
“The woman looked at him and told him, ‘If you’re not in the picture, you can’t be framed.”
Let me tell you what picture Bill is missing – THE BIG PICTURE. It is just so easy to blame the individual and ignore all the ways in which society is ruining the Black community. If you are working two jobs just to keep a roof over your kids head and clothes on their back, tell me where this magical energy is to come from to fulfill the rest of their needs? There are no resources for struggling families. Each republican administration has successively trimmed back the social safety net, making it harder and harder to survive — but somehow the failure to succeed in this kind of environment is all on the individual. If White people had the kind of collective anomie going on in their communities, that is currently happening in the Black community, you can be sure that there would be inquests and various interventions to create change; it is because it is Blacks that are dying that this problem is left to fester.
He talks about guns but never does he point his finger at the manufacturers that are making billions of profit each year. What about the NRA, which fights every single restriction that goverment tries to put in place? The gun culture was not started by Blacks, and it is not maintained by Blacks. Guns are a problem because they lead to death, but they are placed into our communities by Whiteness. If you want to solve a social problem, look to see who is profiting by the discord. It really isn’t that hard. The idea that Blacks are solely responsible for the violence in the community is ridiculous. Blacks may be pulling the trigger but if there were no guns in the first place, there would be no death. It is not Black people that continue lobby against any restriction to gun ownership or wait times — and perhaps Bill should look at that BEFORE shooting off his mouth.
Richard Pryor once said that Cosby should “have a coke and a smile and shut the fuck up”. The more that Bill exposes the world to his special brand of ignorance, the more that I agree with Pryor. There are certainly problems in the Black community, but because it is part of the larger society, problems cannot be solved by attacking Blacks and telling them to pull their pants up and stay in school. Has the man even looked at some of the schools that Black children are attending? Even if they stay all the way through high school and get into a college, many are unprepared to deal with the work because they have not been given proper preparation. Cosby claims that he wants uplift, but he has internalized to much racial hate to make anything that he has to say relevant. Instead of trying to help, it reads more like he is trying to separate himself from those Black people that he is ashamed of.