Los Angeles, May 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Bill Cosby says that media rumors that he has abandoned the African American lower economic community are grossly exaggerated. A report in the "Reliable Source" column of the Washington Post (5/19/04) reprinted in many newspapers across the country left out an important piece of information from Cosby's remarks at a gala in honor of the 50th anniversary of Brown V. Board of Education organized by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in Washington DC last Monday. The article in the Post failed to mention that Mr. Cosby's remarks were specifically in context to addressing the epidemic of an estimated 50% of African American males in the inner city that are dropping out of school. The Post article inaccurately characterized Cosby's remarks as a general criticism of the black lower economic classes. Mr. Cosby explains that his comments were intended to be a call to action, to "turn the mirror around on ourselves." "I think that it is time for concerned African Americans to march, galvanize and raise the awareness about this epidemic to transform our helplessness, frustration and righteous indignation into a sense of shared responsibility and action." "I travel the country and see these patterns in every community-stories of 12 year old children killed in the cross fire between knuckleheads selling drugs, the 14 year olds with a sealed envelop as their first step into the criminal justice system, the young males who become fathers and not held responsible, the young women having children and moving back in with their mothers and grandmothers, and the young people who choose not to learn standard English." "My question: Is Bill Cosby hoping that the drop out rate will reach 70% soon and teenage single parenthood will grow to 80% in the lower economic neighborhoods? Or is he clanging a bell and warning that this is an epidemic that has to be stopped? Are we so worried about what others think about us that we are unwilling to address this disease that is inflecting our people more and more every day?" Mr. Cosby points out that media critics such as Christopher Farley at Time Magazine are flawed in their argument that African American literary greats such as Langston Hughes and Zora Hurston honored the dialects that Mr. Cosby criticized as a lack of language proficiency that further denies opportunity to inner city blacks. "Clearly, Mr. Farley did not speak in dialect on 'Good Morning America' nor would he probably have been hired by Time if he spoke that way. Secondly, someone should question Mr. Farley whether Mr. Hughes or Ms. Hurston knew standard English and chose to write in dialect." "I feel that I can no longer remain silent. If I have to make a choice between keeping quiet so that conservative media does not speak negatively or ringing the bell to galvanize those who want change in the lower economic community, then I choose to be a bell ringer."
SOURCE The Brokaw Company