Bill Cosby's Call to Action, One Year Later

I was listening to the radio this morning and they were interviewing Michael Eric Dyson about the comments that Bill Cosby made last year at the celebration of 50 Years of Brown v. Board of Education. Dyson is pretty ticked off about what Cosby said, and I had seen it referred to in various places as “Cosby’s controversial remarks”. I decided it was time to read them for myself.

After I read them, I thought you might be interested, too.

[Read the transcript of Cosby’s remarks]
[Listen to excerpts of Cosby’s remarks]


  1. Personal accountability… it’s not just for breakfast anymore.Much of the outcry that resulted from this speech – and there was plenty – involved pointing the finger outwards. Calling the speech “class-ist” or “stereotyping” while placing the blame on the Government for not supporting the lower-class is a thinly veiled attempt to absolve guilt, which is exactly the type of behavior that Cosby was railing against.This month, the unit of Government I work for will provide the Detroit City School District with just over ninety-four million dollars. We’ll do the same next month, just as we did the month before. All told, we will provide them with over 1 (b)illion of the 11+ (b)illion dollar budget we have for schools in the State of Michigan. This is just State funding; it doesn’t include the Local tax dollars or the Federal funding they also receive.What is the graduation rate for this district? Under 45%. I am not stating that schools are adequately funded. What I do question is whether a sub forty-five percent graduation rate can be attributed to the lack of funds being spent in schools, or even in a broader sense to a lack of money being spent on social programs. I don’t think so. The way to resolve this is to work from the inside out – start with the family. Kids can make it out of the ghetto if they’re shown the way. And while it’s a much steeper climb than for Johnny Middleclass, it’s not impossible.And it starts with Personal Accountability.

  2. Wow, what a speech! Thanks for pointing it out.

  3. I have been swamped with various things to do and vaguely heard a bit of chatter here and there about Cosby’s speech, but hadn’t waded in to find out what he actually said. Thank you very much for the links. And from one born Hoosier (transplanted 20+ years ago to California, but the Mid-west never leaves a person) to another– Hi there and nice blog.

  4. It’s not all about personal accountability when racism is alive and well in this country. It’s easy for Johnny Straight White Middleclass to fantasize that it’s not. Ask a young black man what it is like to walk down the street in a white middleclass neighborhood. I lived in Greenwich , CT for don’t get much whiter than that… and a wealthy black family who lived in “back country” had every one of their party guests stopped by police on their way to the family’s home one night. A dark skinned Indian friend of mine (the former CEO of the Mr. Coffee company) was looking at her mansion in Greenwich when a police car stopped and asked what she was doing.As long as those things still happen, people can be personally accountable for their actions and STILL be stereotyped and roadblocked in life.

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