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A More-Serious Cosby

A More-Serious Cosby

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

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Alvin F. Poussaint, M.D. and Bill Cosby discuss their new book, Come On People. Source: Alex Wong/Getty Images for Meet the Press hide caption

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Source: Alex Wong/Getty Images for Meet the Press

In a 2004 speech, Bill Cosby spoke frankly about the problems he saw in black communities.
"The lower economic and lower middle economic people are not holding their end in this deal," he said. "In the neighborhood that most of us grew up in, parenting is not going on." As a result, he continued, children are dropping out of school at an alarming rate, more and more teenage women are getting pregnant — and raising their children alone, and prisons are full to, or past, capacity. The theme of his speech, on the anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, was responsibility, which he encouraged everyone — children, parents, and grandparents, to take:

I'm talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit. Where were you when he was two? Where were you when he was twelve? Where were you when he was eighteen, and how come you don't know he had a pistol? And where is his father, and why don't you know where he is? And why doesn't the father show up to talk to this boy?
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That speech reverberated through black communities across the country.

Bill Cosby and his long-time friend, Dr. Alvin Poussaint, of the Judge Baker Children's Center at Harvard Medical School, have written a new book, Come On People: On The Path from Victims to Victors. They'll join us in the first hour to take your questions. Here's what we want to hear from you: How have Bill Cosby's arguments changed the conversation about black America?