Bill Cosby has more harsh words
for black community
Friday, July 2, 2004 Posted: 2:41 PM EDT (1841 GMT)
Bill Cosby, with Jesse Jackson, right,
blasts critics who complained when
he upbraided low income blacks.
CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- Bill Cosby went off
on another tirade against the black community Thursday, telling a room full
of activists that black children are running around not knowing how to read
or write and "going nowhere."
He also had harsh words for struggling
black men, telling them: "Stop beating up your women because you can't find
Cosby made headlines in May when he upbraided some poor blacks for their
grammar and accused them of squandering opportunities the civil rights
movement gave them.
He shot back Thursday, saying his detractors were trying in vain to hide
the black community's "dirty laundry."
"Let me tell you something, your dirty laundry gets out of school at 2:30
every day, it's cursing and calling each other n------ as they're walking up
and down the street," Cosby said during an appearance at the Rainbow/PUSH
Coalition & Citizenship Education Fund's annual conference.
"They think they're hip," the entertainer said. "They can't read; they
can't write. They're laughing and giggling, and they're going nowhere."
In his remarks in May at a commemoration of the anniversary of the Brown
v. Board of Education desegregation decision, Cosby denounced some blacks'
grammar and said those who commit crimes and wind up behind bars "are not
"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," Cosby said
then. "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."
Cosby elaborated Thursday on his previous comments in a talk interrupted
several times by applause. He castigated some blacks, saying that they
cannot simply blame whites for problems such as teen pregnancy and high
school dropout rates.
"For me there is a time ... when we have to turn the mirror around," he
said. "Because for me it is almost analgesic to talk about what the white
man is doing against us. And it keeps a person frozen in their seat, it
keeps you frozen in your hole you're sitting in."
Cosby lamented that the racial slurs once used by those who lynched
blacks are now a favorite expression of black children. And he blamed
"When you put on a record and that record is yelling 'n----- this and
n----- that' and you've got your little 6-year-old, 7-year-old sitting in
the back seat of the car, those children hear that," he said.
He also condemned black men who missed out on opportunities and are now
angry about their lives.
"You've got to stop beating up your women because you can't find a job,
because you didn't want to get an education and now you're (earning) minimum
wage," Cosby said. "You should have thought more of yourself when you were
in high school, when you had an opportunity."
Cosby appeared Thursday with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder and
president of the education fund, who defended the entertainer's statements.
"Bill is saying let's fight the right fight, let's level the playing
field," Jackson said. "Drunk people can't do that. Illiterate people can't
Cosby also said many young people are failing to honor the sacrifices
made by those who struggled and died during the civil rights movement.
"Dogs, water hoses that tear the bark off trees, Emmett Till," he said,
naming the black youth who was tortured and murdered in Mississippi in 1955,
allegedly for whistling at a white woman. "And you're going to tell me
you're going to drop out of school? You're going to tell me you're going to
steal from a store?"
Cosby also said he wasn't concerned that some whites took his comments
and turned them "against our people."
"Let them talk," he said.