airing the dirty laundry

The other day I decided to watch Oprah. (or the anti-Christ as my youth Pastor likes to call her) Not because I find that her shows are life-changing, but because her guest was Dr. Bill Cosby. Now, generally speaking, I disagree with him on a lot of different issues, but I was intrigued by the fact that he had just written a book with a Harvard Psychologist and the topic had to do with African American social faults.

I heard on the news a while back that Bill received a lot of flack for a speech he made in front of the NAACP in which he “aired dirty laundry”. In reality he was simply speaking of the Black “epidemic”. He said:

“Ladies and gentlemen,” said Mr. Cosby at the Constitution Hall event, “the lower economic people are not holding up their end in this deal. These people are not parenting. They are buying things for kids $500 sneakers for what? And won’t spend $200 for ‘Hooked on Phonics.’

He added: “They’re standing on the corner and they can’t speak English. I can’t even talk the way these people talk: ‘Why you ain’t,’ ‘Where you is’ … And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. And then I heard the father talk… Everybody knows it’s important to speak English except these knuckleheads. … You can’t be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth!”

I strongly applaud him for this. He’s not afraid to call out the issues of his own people. He’s not afraid to air the dirty laundry because he wants to clean it up.

On the show, Bill threw out a statistic that just astounded me. He said that 70% of African American babies are born into a single-mother home. SEVENTY PERCENT. If you’re slow on the uptake, that’s more than half, the majority, A LOT.

The fathers aren’t sticking around here.

Now, I have my own theories here. They’ve got a lot to do with the fact that these people are obviously spiritually lost, and the girls can’t keep their legs closed.

But I think the same thing about Caucasians.

Why is it that this particular race group just can’t get it right?

Please do not think that I’m racist, because I’m not. Obviously, a black man is pointing this out about other black people, so I’m not making this stuff up. What happened? Where did they go wrong?

Some more interesting statistics given by a gentleman by the name of Joseph Jett:

“Adolescent African American males make up 1.1% of the population but commit 30% of all homicides. Meanwhile, our children grab their crotches and frantically wave their arms in the air. Today, 84% of heterosexual HIV/AIDS cases are African Americans although we make up only 11% of the population. Meanwhile, our children plate their teeth with gold, adorn themselves with Bling Bling, and sing of bitches and whores. Today, 55% of African American males are in prison or on probation. Meanwhile, I am asked almost daily to give money for yet another basketball court or “Mamma, I wanna sing” studio.”

The entire time I was listening to Mr. Cosby speak, I was just waiting (shamefully so) for the moment when the white man was blamed for their shortcomings. And then it came. He said,

“It isn’t the white man keeping you down, it’s you keeping you down.”

I could have kissed him. We live in a society in which our faults are not our own, and that’s regardless of your ethnicity. Bill doesn’t want that to happen. He wants these people to take ownership of their mistakes and go about the business of correcting them.

If only we all were like that.


1 Response to “airing the dirty laundry”

  1. 1 girlymama October 20, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    Around philly there has been a campaign aimed at fathers (of ALL races) encouraging them to take responsibility, “be men” and be involved with their children. I’ve rarely seen a public awareness campaign I’ve agreed with more.

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