When Bill Cosby spoke to the New York Post, you can believe he was honest about everything. In a sprawling, 1,800-word opinion piece we’re sure was drastically edited for length, Cosby covered a lot of ground. But one thing’s for certain: if you’re not happy, it’s probably because you or your community aren’t doing something right.
Everyone’s favorite TV dad is a little less cuddly offscreen. When talking about smoking in public places, he said the fight to keep cigarettes in restaurants was about money. “People are greedy,” he told the Post’s reporter. He commended Mayor Michael Bloomberg for what many call a silly attempt to ban large sodas in New York City. Less sugar would take children “out of harm’s way”. Cosby’s support for the soda ban seems to directly contradict what he had to say about personal responsibility elsewhere in his opinion piece, but we digress.
Mostly, Cosby just wants us to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and pull ourselves by the proverbial boot straps:
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.
What I remember is the things that were said that if you did certain things you could take care of yourself. If you took your child to the dentist and check for cavities the child likely won’t get them. If you take them just for emergency, that’s all they’re gonna get.
But more than anything, he wants us to keep pushing because apathy is our big problem. He said, “It is almost becoming a faith. We have to continue to say these words, we must not give up.”
And when it comes to raising future generations, it’s all about parents. School don’t need to be changed or held accountable:
I’ve said it 100 times, the revolution is in the house. Now if you don’t want to be a part of the revolution, you say to the school system, “I want you to raise my child.” No, the revolution is at home.
In the last segment of his op-ed, Cosby praised Muslim values, saying everyone can learn a lot from black Muslims:
I’m a Christian. But Muslims are misunderstood. Intentionally misunderstood. We should all be more like them. They make sense, especially with their children. There is no other group like the Black Muslims, who put so much effort into teaching children the right things, they don’t smoke, they don’t drink or overindulge in alcohol, they protect their women, they command respect. And what do these other people do?
They complain about them, they criticize them. We’d be a better world if we emulated them. We don’t have to become black Muslims, but we can embrace the things that work.
Certainly, there’s a lot of anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States, but identify Muslims as a community that has cornered the market on raising good children isn’t fair. Nor is it fair for Mr. Cosby to ignore systematic challenges that many face and the need for assistance, while at the same time saying it makes sense for the mayor of a major city to control the amount of soda people can drink. We hope that when Cosby starts his stand-up tour this summer, he’ll stick to telling jokes.