It was July when CNN anchor Don Lemon was scolded by many black folks in the media and on social media for his Five Ways To Improve The Black Community that in some ways he felt would have an impact on the racism we face. To be “scolded” might be an understatement though, as he was literally called everything but a child of God. But Lemon stood by his list of changes and felt that they were common sense. Either way though, his points fell on many deaf and angry ears.
So maybe that’s why he decided to interview Bill Cosby this past weekend as many were remembering the infamous Birmingham Church bombing that killed four little girls now that 50 years has passed. The conversation wasn’t really much about that event though, but about the state of the black community now, which is something Bill Cosby has been very vocal about in the past few years. In his sit-down with Lemon, Cosby talked about everything from the imprisonment of our young men, fathers stepping up to the plate, the importance of education, and why he thinks some black people get so riled up when famous folks try to suggest ways to fix the community–he calls them “No-groes”:
His thoughts on black fathers:
“I think women…when you see the 70%, in research, that says they are the leaders of the household, then what we need is for people to realize, ‘I want to raise my kid. I want to go back and get my three kids. I want to take on that responsibility. I want to love my children.’ One of the great pictures that reaches me, because it is special, is to go to the Essence Festival and walk around to see a black male with his child on his shoulders…that means something…It’s not difficult to do [to be a father] and you don’t have to jump up one day, you can ease yourself into it.”
The importance of education:
“Of course we have great things happening. Graduates of the naval academy, the military academy, graduates of all kind of Morehouse, Miles and colleges like that, but by the same token we also need people to go to community college. Okay, so you backed up and you didn’t do well. You quit school but now you find you need that high school credential. Go to the community colleges. Just go and sit there and understand that you’re going to get an education, because that’s what happened to me. At age 19 and a half, I just knew that I didn’t want to do certain things and it wasn’t what they were doing to me, it was what I was doing. It’s a very simple thing.”
Why drugging up some young men in prison isn’t going to help them when they get out:
“Our criminal justice system in terms of our young people…If you drug these people, and then you release them, and there’s no prescription for them to get to take to do the same thing, they go back to the same place.”
The idea of “No-groes,” folks who don’t like to hear about what needs to change:
“Now, about this time, this is when you hear the no-groes jump and say, ‘Why don’t you talk about good things?’ Because the good things happen to be taking care of themselves pretty well. We are trying to help those genius’, those not genius’, people who deserve, because they are human beings on this earth, in the United States of America, we are trying to get them in a position so they will understand and want to.
The reason why I’m giving you this information is because I was living in the projects. I was not taking care of myself in terms of managing my education, and once the door opened and I saw quote, unquote, the light, I started to become very successful.”
He makes some interesting points, but what do you think?