Bill Cosby and Alvin F. Poussaint were on Meet The Press this morning in support of their book Come On People: On the Path from Victims to Victors. In the book, they decry the current state of black America and urge black people to be better parents and citizens. Cosby has been touring the country in the last few years, spreading this message.
While I agree with the major points he makes (the lack of fathers has been devastating to black America, especially to young black males/the fact that there is institutionalized racism in this country does not mean black people can throw their hands up and not try/the value of an education needs to be higher in the black community), there are two issues that bother me:
- Hip-Hop as a sickness instead of a symptom. Cosby (for expediency, I am critiquing Cosby; both authors can be painted with the same brush) rightly holds some Hip-Hop music to task for their language, glorification of violence and (most importantly) their negative portrayal of women.The problem with making Hip-Hip a significant bullet point in their thesis is this: I listen to Hip-Hop and know the difference between what T.I. or Jay-Z says in a song and real life. I know no matter how many time Jay-Z says he runs through more chicks than Colonel Sanders, he may be holding Beyonce’s purse on a shopping spree right now. I know this because of the education and parental guidance I have received, which are much more important than anything The Game or Lil’ Wayne can say.
- Why are they on Meet The Press? When asked why he robbed banks, notorious criminal Willie Sutton replied ‘because that’s where the money is.’ While I do understand Meet The Press is a prestigious program, the target audience for his book isn’t watching Meet The Press. They are watching BET. That is where he should be. I would find it hard to believe that BET would not give Bill Cosby however much time he wanted to talk, and if they didn’t the fact that they refused him would be a powerful way to generate publicity. He is going to be on Oprah this week, which is a little better, but he needs to go where the money is.