For Release: September 10, 2004
Contact: David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 x106
Black Conservatives Praise Bill Cosby's Remarks on Parenting Comedian's Comments Over Past Few Months Have Done More for Black Families Than Years of Black Politicians' Blustering, Say Project 21 Members
Members of the black leadership network Project 21 applaud comedian Bill Cosby for his continued and steadfast demands for better parenting in the black community. The entertainer began his current criticism of modern childrearing in Washington, D.C. in May during an observance of the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education court decision. He most recently spoke up on September 8 during a panel discussion on education hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.
In his September 8 remarks, Cosby criticized parents who believe children "can be managed by cell phone... My call is for more, tighter reins. Know what your children are doing." Dispelling popular excuses of racism and hardship, Cosby added "there is nothing that will defeat parenting" and "I know a victim when I see one... but some victims you can look at and say 'Get up.'"
"Cosby's comments amount to plain and simple common sense," said Project 21 member Michael King. "While parents have a responsibility, too many have shirked it, leaving television, school teachers and the streets to raise their youngsters. Thanks to popular culture, we have more violent and more disrespectful children who have never learned what my own parents called 'home training.' Our so-called leaders are reluctant to say anything about this until now because they are obviously more concerned with their own self-aggrandizement. After all, it's so much easier to say nothing than take the harder road and do what's necessary to move everyone forward."
After Cosby's remarks in May, Project 21 member Kevin Martin and research associate Tom Florip co-authored a commentary praising Cosby's willingness to challenge the black establishment. "Bill Cosby, You Say the Darndest Things," which can be found at http://www.nationalcenter.org/P21NVMartinCosby604.html, points out how black comedians - by being blunt about the problems in the black community - are doing more to promote positive change through comedy than black leaders. Martin and Florip wrote: "By abdication, it has fallen to comedians to hold a mirror to our black communities. By refusing to acknowledge real problems, the 'leaders' dropped that mirror, shattering the dreams of many still trapped - by choice or circumstance - and unable to take advantage of the benefits past civil rights leaders won for them."
Project 21 member Wendell Talley said: "Cosby brings to the forefront an issue no politician will touch. With more black men seemingly matriculating through the penal system than the education system, I sincerely hope the Congressional Black Caucus uses his remarks as a spur to honestly address the horrendous condition of the black family, with an eye towards promoting individual accountability instead of playing the blame game."
Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992. For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 x106 or Project21@nationalcenter.org, or visit Project 21's website at http://www.project21.org/P21Index.html.
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