Years after America’s favorite dad made news for calling out black youth, Bill Cosby is still making his opinion on ideal black American virtue known. In a New York Post column, Cosby discussed everything from Mayor Bloomberg’s soda ban to parenting, but in the end, he said much of what’s wrong with America comes down to greed and apathy.[sociallocker]As it relates to smoking and free choice advocates, Cosby makes the observation that many people who believe they are making the choice to smoke are really just addicts, saying of smokers who are sick, “They have a metal bottle and two things going up in their nose and they have a pack of cigarettes in their pocket or pocketbooks.”
Recalling a speech by Toni Morrison, Cosby shared his belief that both greed and apathy are at the core of America’s devolution:
Toni Morrison spoke at Vanderbilt University graduation last month and she was saying that money was the reason for so many deaths, so many wars and people eating the wrong foods. And it’s true, man. But when you listen to the people who are selling “feel good,” it’s greed. They couldn’t care less about us — and because we have a feeling of apathy, we don’t care either.
Then Cosby goes down a similar road he took awhile back, calling parents to account for not taking an interest in the lives of their children:
Interview some school teachers. How many parents, on parent-teacher day, actually show up? Not to Dunbar or some school where people are saying they want their child to become an engineer or philosopher or whatever else that requires one to do some homework. Go to a school where people are not doing well. How many parents show up?
He even went so far as to describe an encounter he had with a man who enjoyed living in the ‘projects.’ “Sir, there is something wrong with you wanting to stay here forever because it means as long as you’re excepting these two checks, you’re apathetic, “ scolds Cosby.
This is an old record that many black liberals, myself included, are tired of hearing, mostly because Cosby’s assessment heaps all of the blame on parents and none of the blame on government, which is partially responsible for the creation of ghettos where many of these children live. As Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote in his blog post entitled The Ghetto is Public Policy, in Chicago, black people were pariahs whom no one wanted to live around and so the housing authority turned that prejudice into government endorsed racism.
Similar stories are also noted in the book When Affirmative Action Was White, but as always, Cosby sidesteps those issues and focuses on personal responsibility, as if that’s all that matters:
There is this situation where people tend to think that we are all victims. Victim meaning somebody else is doing this to us. That’s not true. And I said this 100 times and they keep throwing back, “victim.” What they don’t understand is that I haven’t forgotten anything.
Cosby may not have forgotten anything, but he hasn’t learned anything in a long while either. Until he’s taken a few refresher courses on how government shapes communities, it my be fitting for him to avoid wide ranging interviews with sweeping admonishments. If he can’t speak to the disparities created by government with the same scorn that he directs at the ghetto mama in the hood, then he’s not being fair, and there’s no reason we should listen.
When Bill Cosby’s ready to discuss mass incarceration or college debt, then give me a call. Until then, I don’t have the time nor energy for his unfounded contempt or old man rants. [/sociallocker]