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Monday, August 21, 2006 | 8:05 PM

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Juan Williams had an editorial in today's Post decrying "bling-bling" culture:
Have we taken our eyes off the prize? The civil rights movement continues, but the struggle today is not so much in the streets as in the home -- and with our children. If systemic racism remains a reality, there is also a far more sinister obstacle facing African American young people today: a culture steeped in bitterness and nihilism, a culture that is a virtual blueprint for failure.
He contrasts that with the approach taken by Bill Cosby:
Cosby asked the chilling question: "What good is Brown " and all the victories of the civil rights era if nobody wants them? A generation after those major civil rights victories, black America is experiencing alarming dropout rates, shocking numbers of children born to single mothers and a frightening acceptance of criminal behavior that has too many black people filling up the jails. Where is the focus on taking advantage of new opportunities to advance and to close the racial gap in educational and economic achievement?

Incredibly, Cosby's critics don't see the desperate need to pull a generational fire alarm to warn people about a culture of failure that is sabotaging any chance for black people in poverty to move up and help their children reach the security of economic and educational achievement. Not one mainstream civil rights group picked up on his call for marches and protests against bad parenting, drug dealers, hate-filled rap music and failing schools.
While this is all good advice, Williams doesn't see to note the irony in pointing people away from one brand of pop stars to another. That's what Bill Cosby is: whatever activism he does on the side, acting is why they pay him the big bucks. The real question is why we can't get anybody more substantial than pop stars to care about issues related to poverty. I think we limit ourselves when they seem to be the only people who have anything productive to say on the subject.

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