Bill Cosby speaks to Don Lemon about improving African American community through education

Bill Cosby speaks about improving African American community through education; major criticism ensues

WRITTEN BY: Emily Vasquez
Bill Cosby speaks to Don Lemon Saturday
Image Source: World Affairs Council of Philadelphia via Flickr
Bill Cosby speaks to Don Lemon Saturday

Bill Cosby spoke with CNN’s Don Lemon on September 14 about the underpinnings of underprivileged African American youth. This comes after Lemon’s latest turn to race in America, in due to the recent anniversary of the March on Washington. A renegade for higher education, Cosby spoke with Lemon on parental roles he stated ultimately effect their children’s own future, greatly emphasizing the need to take responsibility of their lives, explicitly men. Unlike his usual comedic demeanor, he held a firm stance on the issues surrounding race and economic onslaught.

Cosby interview included candid commentary, stating that the “good things” do not need to be discussed as he quickly backed his statements for the viewers who would be offended by the negative view of African American’s lifestyle. In his interview he addresses the growing rate of imprisoned men, low level of education and increasing need for greater paternal presence in family life.

Lemon began his interview by asking what new leadership was needed to encourage a greater change. Cosby responded:

“I think it has to come from the universities,” Cosby begins. “I think, women, strongly because when you see 70%, in research, that says they are the leaders of the household, 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,” he continues as he states the essence of children’s success is the stability of the family including the father.

He also includes the pressing need to continue education, never negating the level of education but rather encouraging youth to pursue the highest degree possible pertinently pointing out that it is not about the prestige of the school but rather the personal accomplishments of the individual.  He relays, "Okay, you backed up and didn’t do well. You quit school but now you find you need that high school credential. Go to the community college.” 

Cosby creates a personal connection to this struggle as he responds,  “At age 19 and a half, I knew I didn’t want to do certain things. It is not what they weren’t doing to me, it’s what I wasn’t doing. It’s a very simple thing.” 

He then lays out the overmedication of incarcerated juveniles. His argument lies in the endless circle that medicated youth are denied outside of prison that will likely place them “in the same place.”

Cosby’s most notable comment has been noted as “Now, about this time, this is when you hear the no-groes jump up and say ‘Why don’t you talk about the good things?’” 

Cosby’s blunt commentary has been highly criticized but neither Cosby nor Lemon has backed down. Cosby is part of the growing number of interviews that Lemon has collected for his renegade of race within America. Lemon has come under attack from various other leaders, including Russell Simmons, who issued an open letter to Lemon. 

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