Bill Cosby Is Right, Again

Bill Cosby's status as sage is confirmed by the release of his new book, co-authored with Dr. Alvin Poussaint of Harvard Medical School, Come On People: On the Path from Victims to Victors. Cosby and Poussaint remind us that black America's hope for escape from abysmal self-destruction is moral formation — not government programs or blaming white people.

This book will arouse needed controversy as it challenges the victim mentality often promulgated by men like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Michael Eric Dyson, and other black liberal elites. Cosby and Poussaint are direct, candid, and engender a spirit of urgency. We need to put silly racial politics aside and concentrate on the real reasons that black America is hemorrhaging.

Cosby and Poussaint open with the $64,000 question: "What's Going On With Black Men?" Without strong black men, they argue, the black community will continue to decompose. In 1950, five out of every six black children were born into a two-parent family and today that number is less than two out of six. Irresponsible men and fatherlessness have destroyed for many of us any hope of achieving Dr. King's dream. White people do not make black men father children outside of marriage.

"A house without a father is a challenge. A neighborhood without fathers is a catastrophe," the authors note. Most black boys are never morally formed into manhood by virtuous men and many end up in jail because of it. Ninety-four percent of all blacks murdered are killed by other blacks. For many blacks, a Ku Klux Klan rally is a safer place than their own neighborhoods.

Blaming white people for personal irresponsibility is laughable. "For all the talk of systemic racism and government screw-ups," Cosby and Poussaint insist, "we [blacks] must look to ourselves and understand our responsibility." No government program, well-meaning white liberal patronization, guilt-driven Saturday morning urban missions project, or large sum of unearned cash assistance will overcome the real challenge: blacks need to step up, reject the materialistic, narcissistic American Dream and love their neighborhoods again.

 The book also reminds us of the centrality of the family. Kids need a mother and a father. Women and children need men. The authors brilliantly highlight the fact that many black kids are lazy, addicted to television, can't speak standard English, doubt their dignity and worth, or are physically and sexually abused because they are not in loving homes led by strong men serving their wives and children.

Placing a high value on education had been a pillar of the black community until recently, when the minds of many black kids began to be filled with "self-defeating, self-degrading, and finally self-destructive" music that perverts virtue. Blacks are failing in school because many black parents have dropped the ball, for sometimes difficult reasons, and kids are being raised on BET instead of books.

Cosby's book challenges blacks to care about their own health, in light of chronic obesity, Type II diabetes, and the HIV/AIDS crisis. It encourages blacks to overcome the stigma of counseling and get help for scarring left from past physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.

Cosby and Poussaint conclude their pleading with a call to self-efficacy: one's belief about personal capacity to contribute to the good and exercise influence over events that affect one's life. "If you are not working and your only job is to stand in line so that the government can sustain you, then you are not contributing to your community," they write.

In the end, black America is called to renew the principles, ideals, and institutions that have carried blacks along since slavery: faith in God, sustained marriages and family, an emphasis on learning, prudent financial empowerment, building community, and an unwavering hope that the future will be better for our children and grandchildren.

While I cannot endorse all of the book's proposals — their allowance of "committed partnerships" in lieu of an exclusive focus on lifelong marriage is ill-advised — I wholeheartedly affirm Cosby and Poussaint's clear message: Moral and economic flourishing in the black community will be achieved only by individual blacks bestowing lives of virtue on the next generation, one child at a time.

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  • Guest

    How long will it take (if it hasn't happened yet) until Cosby and Poussaint are dismissed as "house slaves" or "oreos", therefore it isn't worth listening to them.  It's lots easier to blame the messenger.

  • Guest

    Thomas Sowell would agree with them.  Check out his book "Black Rednecks and White Liberals"

  • Guest

    I read about a half dozen of Sowell's books a decade ago.  What an amazing thinker. It breaks my heart that he isn't Catholic!  But his understanding of the human person is very Catholic — like that of Julian Simon.

    You can read Sowells appreciation of Julian Simon here: http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell021298.html

    And while we are at it here is Steve Mosher on Simon: http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/population/pc0015.html

  • Guest

    I LOVE Bill Cosby.

    madelineSmile

  • Guest

    It's so important for this message to come from within the Black community. 

     

    Also, anyone interested in the psychology of victim behavior can Google "learned helplessness."  Fascinating stuff…and a call to all of us to re-examine our own social activism within our spheres of influence. 

     

    Walker

  • Guest

    Anthony,

    The term is KU Klux Klan NOT KLU Klux Klan…I got a B on a speech in high school for making the very same mistake.

  • Guest

    It will be interesting to hear the reaction to this one…

  • Guest

    Mr. Cosby may be saying the right things the wrong way.  Just because he is a black man does not mean that he can not put things (the correct things I agree) in a way that turns off his audience.

    It is not quite as simple as asserting that African-American men must stop being victims and be strong, then blame Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton if they don't.

  • Guest

    But wouldn't you agree it is easier to be a victim than to take responsibility for one's own decisions a fact Al and Jesse play into constantly. It is a part of original sin, Adam (the victim) blamed Eve 'she gave me to eat and i ate'.

    Dado

    AMDG

  • Guest

    Thanks for the correction downum.  I fixed it in the article.

  • Guest

    I love Bill Cosby.  I have always loved Bill Cosby.  He is doing the right thing.  God bless him!

    GK – God is good!

  • Guest

    Once again, Bill Cosby says what many people know but don’t want to confess.

    I must say, I have a very good friend, a black man, who has been married to his lovely wife for over 40 years, has wonderful kids and grandkids, and is working on receiving his second Doctorate degree (this one in theology!). He is well-spoken and intelligent and a joyful and interesting person to be around. It’s makes me glad to see that there are people out there willing to put in the work to make their lives into something good.

    Peace,

  • Guest

    I would love to see him put that wonderful sense of humor to use in explaining his point of view.  When he's on a roll, it's really something to hear.  I know that it's a serious topic, but I'm sure that he can find a way to get his point across using his unique humorous style.

  • Guest

    As a young Air Force officer, I had the opportunity to listen to one of the original Tuskeegee airman.  During his speech, he describe the world of a black man during the segregation period of our nation – when racism was truly overt, prevalent, and much more sinister than today.  As he talked about the way he and his fellow black pilots dealt with the very oppressive racism while striving to become the premier fighter unit in the Army Air Force, one of his points struck home with me.  He stated that as they earned the respect of more and more people, they (quote) "inadvertently discovered the antidote to racism; excellence in everything you do." Wise words from a wise man that would be well put use today by EVERYONE!  

  • Guest

    The $64,000 question: "What's Going On With Black Men?"

    The $64,000 answer:  "Contraception."

    Learn about Margaret Sanger's Negro Project in the early 1900's at  http://www.blackgenocide.org

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