Cosby's Message to Black Americans Was Right
What he did was appalling. What he said about the black community still rings true.
“He used his celebrity status to condemn poor African-Americans, chiding them to pull up their sagging pants, deriding them for having children out of wedlock and blaming them for their impoverished circumstances.” That’s how the Associated Press this week couched Bill Cosby’s NAACP speech some 15 years ago, during which the now-jailed comedian lamented, “Are you not paying attention? People with their hat on backwards, pants down around the crack, with names like Shaniqua, Shaligua, Mohammed and all that crap, and all of them are in jail.”
Cosby’s point regarding minorities — that violence and poverty, while endemic, are largely self-inflicted — was just as salient then as it is now. For example, in virtually every city that suffers from high murder rates, black-on-black crime is predominately to blame. Relentless homicides are part of the corollary of a malignant and malevolent culture that cultivates entitlement and resentment. Cosby tried to change that with ventures like “The Cosby Show,” which admirably emphasized family values. Sadly, though, some think that because Cosby was convicted of a crime it discredits what he said about the black community.
According to the AP, “Cosby himself is now in a Pennsylvania prison cell, and many black Americans see his sentence as a moment of racial comeuppance. As they learned of Cosby’s three- to 10-year prison term for sexual assault, the same people who were his targets in the 2004 speech regarded his fate as a convergence of karma, hubris and hypocrisy. Some quoted Cosby’s own words in tweets announcing the sentence.”
Among them is Marc Lamont Hill, a professor at Temple University. He says, “[Cosby] made the decision to focus his attention on beating up on the black poor, on telling the world that black people were dysfunctional, pathological and undeserving of equal protection under the law. When somebody like that, who positions themselves as the moral authority of black America, gets called onto the carpet, you ain’t getting no breaks here. People are going to be frustrated.”
This view is entirely doltish. We are all appalled by Cosby’s sexual assaults, and it’s certainly okay to label him a prodigious hypocrite. His private life was apparently chock-full of egregious indiscretions. But discrediting what he accurately stated in public about the plight of minorities is merely excusing this blighted ethnic group’s continued trek down a wretched path. Cosby is now being punished for not practicing what he preached. Unfortunately, a lot of blacks who are destitute are also being penalized for not abandoning what their enablers preach — which is perpetual victimhood.