The blame game
common practice among young children is to blame someone else for their
own misbehavior. When that practice survives into adulthood, the
consequences are unappealing. Mature adults are expected to be
responsible to a great extent for their own destiny.
This was not possible during slavery and the Jim Crow era. Oppression
was so severe that blacks lacked the freedom to achieve educational,
financial or professional success. However, the efforts of black elders
and fair-minded whites ended rank racial discrimination.
Unfortunately, there still exists some form of religious, racial or
ethnic discrimination in almost every society. That seems to be part of
human nature. It is the responsibility of every group to develop the
ability to overcome those barriers. That can happen only with
discipline and a commitment to success.
There seems to be no general strategy for success among African
Americans. Sole reliance on the strategies of the civil rights movement
is not working. It is time for African Americans to assume
responsibility for their own personal success, and to develop a group
ethos that encourages achievement. There is no one else to blame for
"Come On People"
their book “Come On People,” Bill Cosby and Dr. Alvin Poussaint have
set a new agenda for black leadership. African Americans can expect
that this new approach will be challenged by spokesmen under the age of
50 and those who thrive on their ability to strike a responsive chord
among the black masses by harping on the racial abuses so common during
the civil rights era.
Nonetheless, opponents will
have to explain why homicide is “the number one cause of death for
black men between 15 and 29 years of age,” and why 94 percent of all
black murder victims are killed by other black people.
The authors also ask why there are more black people than white in
prison today, when in 1950, there were twice as many whites as blacks?
Why do fewer than two out of every six black children now live in
two-parents homes, when in 1950, the number was five out of six?
No one can reasonably assert that race relations now are worse than
they were before Brown v. Board of Education, or before passage of the
Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. Cosby and Poussaint boldly
assert that something is amiss in black society. Their thesis is that
the culture of victimhood has destroyed the desire of blacks to achieve.
Cosby has a Ph.D. in education and Poussaint, M.D., is a celebrated
child psychologist. As expected, therefore, the focus of their solution
to the problem is for blacks to become more attentive parents, as they
were in the 1940s and 1950s. The book then becomes “Parenting 101,”
focusing on teaching parents how to raise children to become victors
rather than victims.
Suggestions for parents include: Avoid corporal punishment for
discipline; provide a healthy diet; inspire children for success;
reinforce Standard English; avoid gangster rap; teach self respect and
respect for elders; limit TV viewing; and protect and love the young
To many of the older generation, these topics seem obvious. But to the
young parent who has not seen a good example of effective child
rearing, “Come On People” will be a revelation. The successful future
of African Americans depends upon young parents heeding the call of
Cosby and Poussaint to raise their children to be victors.
“Who knows? He could be the next Obama.”