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Bill Cosby is one of America’s favorite comedians. Recently, though, he has turned from comedian to activist. Cosby has become very outspoken about the poor state of the black community. Specifically, he has been attacking black youths for their poor grammar, lack of education, attachment to sports and promiscuous lifestyle.
Cosby’s intent is to bring into the open the dirty laundry of the black community in an effort to reverse some negative trends. While Cosby has received criticism for his actions, it is my belief that he is absolutely correct and his message is a healthy breath of fresh air for the black community.
I have a lot of experience with the black community. I was a police officer with the city of San Diego for six years. My first three years were spent working in a predominately black neighborhood.
I saw first hand the harsh conditions of street life for a black American. Poverty, gangs, violence and drugs were so commonplace that even I lost perspective on what was normal. I was fascinated with what made the black community different from all others in America. Being immersed in the black community gave me some insight about their hardships.
It is easy to pigeonhole the black community as lazy, dumb or incompotent based on historical stereotypes. Saying so not only shows a narrow-minded view, but is pretty damn racist as well. I can say from my observations that there are two primary factors working against the black community.
First, there has been a complete breakdown of leadership within the community. People like Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson and Louis Farrakhan do not have the best interests of the black community in their agenda. These so-called black ‘leaders’ only have one goal: to gain and keep as much power and money as possible.
How do they do it? They use racism and the white man as their scapegoat. They have spent the past 20 years telling the black community that their problems are due to the white man keeping them down. So while black youths kill black youths, impregnate young black women and go about life without a good education or job, Sharpton, Jackson and Farrakhan sit back in their multimillion dollar homes and enjoy the good life.
When was the last time you heard any of those three men offer a solution to the black community? When was the last time any of those men looked within the black community and said there is a problem? Never, and you will never hear them offer a solution. A solution means an end to their monopoly of power and money.
The second factor is the U.S. government. Since the Great Society of Lyndon Johnson and Affirmative Action was put into effect, the black community has been told by the government that they are special.
They do not have to work as hard to get the same job as the rest of America. They have a special place assigned to them wherever they go. They have special protections afforded only to them because of the color of their skin.
What do you think this does to the psyche of a culture? Let me try and conceptualize this for you. You had to work pretty hard to get into UCI. You studied hard in high school, performed well on the SAT, engaged in some type of extracurricular activity in order to make you the most attractive candidate to the school. When you got accepted you felt pretty good about yourself. Now, imagine that the government told you that no matter what you do, either nothing or something, you will get into UCI just because the color of your skin is correct. Would you put the same amount of effort into getting into UCI? And when you got in would you feel like you had a sense of accomplishment?
That is what the government has taken away from the black community: a sense of accomplishment. When you tell two generations of people that they get a free ride, what do you think happens? They loose their drive, their thirst for achievement, their hunger for accomplishment.
As we pull away from Affirmative Action and reduce government handouts, how would you expect a community that has come to depend on those things to react?
Cosby recognizes this and rather than be counterproductive by using scapegoats and racism as an excuse, he is trying to point out the real problems that the ‘leaders’ have ignored.
Cosby is trying to transcend the failed policies of the U.S. government. Cosby is not only talking; he is working to solve the problems by starting an organization to help blacks achieve their goals.
I think we shall see that Bill Cosby and others like him will do more for the black community in the near future than any of the ‘leaders’ or the U.S. government has been able to do since LBJ. Cosby is right on and I applaud his efforts.

Cameron Jackson is a political science graduating senior. You can email him at jacksonc@uci.edu.

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