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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Come On, People! The Review

Come On People: On the Path from Victims to Victors

"In 1950, five out of every six black children were born into a two-parent home. Today, that number is less than two out of six."

The above quote comes from Drs. Bill Cosby and Alvin Poussaint's latest treatise, Come On People: On the Path from Victims to Victors-a must read for a community that despite immeasurable success also possesses grave failings that must be addressed with the greatest urgency. This harrowing quotation (which is just one of a number alarming statistics the book highlights) encapsulates the crux of what Cosby has been exclaiming since he gave his now infamous NAACP gala speech in 2004.

It is perhaps no secret that this writer owes a great deal of gratitude to Dr. Cosby for being bold enough to expose and analyze the rampant dysfunctionalism (colloquially known as "dirty laundry") that currently plagues the African-American underclass. Suffice it say, Afronerd.com gets its "bite" from the seed that the Cos planted three years ago. Come On People is essentially a codified version of Cosby's call-outs (townhall-esque forums hosted by Dr. Cosby and held in the troubled communities/cities in question) that reads like a doctor's manual for the socio-economically infirm. The book also allows Cosby to bluntly address his critics who have lambasted the educator/comedian for either being "out of touch" or elitist-simply for stating irrefutable evidence that factions within the Black community are failing-resulting in societal exclusion and death.

Within Come On People's 265 pages, the reader gets an opportunity to not only attend Dr. Cosby's nationwide call-outs (in a virtual sense, courtesy of the authors' narrative prose) but also hear from some of the "at-risk" citizens themselves. Case in point, check out this excerpt from Come On in which Krystal Gary, a young woman on track for college studying cardiac nursing tells her story:

"I did not have my mother. My mother was incarcerated. She was on crack cocaine. So I chose the streets. The streets were there for me. It was everything that I couldn't find in parents. It was people who were there to listen. I skipped school. I did drugs, alcohol, shoplifting, gangbanging, hustling, everything. I was in and out of jail for long periods of time. I didn't have any goals for myself. I didn't see myself graduating from high school."

Ms. Gary further opines:

"You can't expect to change just by yourself. You need somebody there, especially when you're young. These young kids need you. Even though I am twenty years old, and just now graduating from high school, I'm proud because I did not in a million years think I would graduate. I thought that I was going to be dead somewhere. I thought that I was going to be nothing. I thought that I was going to be a crackhead out on the streets. And I'm doing it."

Both Cosby and Pousssaint have painted a literary picture that is both dire and triumphant. Their tract contains a plethora of stories like Krystal's where our youth are in need of discipline, love and instruction. Ultimately, the good doctors have provided the African-American community with their best diagnosis-tough love, hard facts and honesty. It's time to clean up that dirty laundry folks. Come, On People!

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