Causing an uproar for the second time in two months, the entertainer says black children are "going nowhere"

By Rachel Elson
Updated July 02, 2004 08:00 AM

The onetime all-American TV dad, who provoked an uproar in May by telling poorly spoken African-Americans that they were squandering the achievements of the civil-rights movement, told a room of activists Thursday in Chicago that black children were “going nowhere.”

Responding to accusations that he was airing the community’s “dirty laundry,” Cosby said: “Let me tell you something, your dirty laundry gets out of school at 2:30 every day, it’s cursing and calling each other n—— as they’re walking up and down the street,” the Associated Press reports.

“They can’t read; they can’t write,” he continued in his speech – punctuated by applause – at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition & Citizenship Education Fund’s annual conference. “They’re laughing and giggling, and they’re going nowhere.”

The entertainer first drew the spotlight at a Brown v. Board of Education anniversary celebration in May when he chastised the poor grammar used by some young African-Americans. “Everybody knows it’s important to speak English except these knuckleheads,” he said at the time. “You can’t be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth.”

On Thursday, he lashed out at African-Americans who simply blame whites for troubles in the black community, castigating parents and black men who abuse their wives and girlfriends. “You’ve got to stop beating up your women because you can’t find a job, because you didn’t want to get an education and now you’re (earning) minimum wage,” the AP reports Cosby as saying.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who founded the education fund, backed up Cosby. “Bill is saying let’s fight the right fight, let’s level the playing field,” Jackson said. “Drunk people can’t do that. Illiterate people can’t do that.”