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December 20, 2008 / JV

Revisiting Bill Cosby’s "Pound Cake Speech" Pt. I


The speech deserves an entire post to itself.

Selected Quotes:

Ladies and gentlemen, the lower economic and lower middle economic people are not holding their end in this deal.

God is tired of you.

We cannot blame white people. White people — white people don’t live over there. They close up the shop early. The Korean ones still don’t know us as well — they stay open 24 hours.

Looking at the incarcerated, these are not political criminals. These are people going around stealing Coca Cola. People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake! Then we all run out and are outraged: “The cops shouldn’t have shot him.” What the hell was he doing with the pound cake in his hand?

Isn’t it a sign of something when she’s got her dress all the way up to the crack — and got all kinds of needles and things going through her body. What part of Africa did this come from? We are not Africans. Those people are not Africans; they don’t know a damned thing about Africa. With names like Shaniqua, Shaligua, Mohammed and all that crap and all of them are in jail.

Hey, you have a baby when you’re twelve. Your baby turns thirteen and has a baby, how old are you? Huh? Grandmother. By the time you’re twelve, you could have sex with your grandmother, you keep those numbers coming. I’m just predicting.

I can’t even talk the way these people talk. “Why you ain’t where you is go, ra.” I don’t know who these people are.

Look, we’re raising our own ingrown immigrants.

Oh God, they’re angry and they have pistols and they shoot and they do stupid things. And after they kill somebody, they don’t have a plan. Just murder somebody. Boom. Over what? A pizza? And then run to the poor cousin’s house.

When you want to clear your neighborhood out, first thing you do is go get the Black Muslims, bean pies and all.

These people are not funny anymore. And that‘s not my brother. And that’s not my sister. They’re faking and they’re dragging me way down because the state, the city, and all these people have to pick up the tab on them because they don’t want to accept that they have to study to get an education.

They’ve got a drink called the “Pimp-something.” You all wonder what that’s about, don’t you? Well, you’re probably going to let Jesus figure it out for you. Well, I’ve got something to tell you about Jesus. When you go to the church, look at the stained glass things of Jesus. Look at them. Is Jesus smiling? Not in one picture. So, tell your friends. Let’s try to do something. Let’s try to make Jesus smile. Let’s start parenting. Thank you, thank you.

Read the whole thing here. You can also hear excerpts. But I suggest reading it first. Trust me, it’s worth it. Part II coming soon.



Leave a Comment
  1. Naima / Jan 28 2009 11:33 am

    Damn, after the Cosby show, I tuned out on him.

    what the hell is he thinking? this is one of the most classist and ignorant things I’ve read in awhile. I swear if I did not read the title first, I’d think it was Sean Hannity or Limbaugh on FOX news.

  2. nails / Jan 29 2009 2:35 pm

    The parts that got quoted sound like generic disgruntled old man talk about younger people. I do not think he is right but I can understand why he said this stuff when I see what his life was like. in the part not quoted he says

    “I want to thank you for the award — and giving me an opportunity to speak because, I mean, this is the future, and all of these people who lined up and done — they’ve got to be wondering what the hell happened. Brown V. Board of Education — these people who marched and were hit in the face with rocks and punched in the face to get an education and we got these knuckleheads walking around who don’t want to learn English.”

    yeah i can see why hes a little pissy after working so hard to get an education. the stuff with his son dying certainly had a lot to do with his whole attitude currently im sure. He is ignoring a lot of problems (like how underfunded and overcrowded schools for way too many kids, and how it is kind of hard to care about studying when youre poor and people dont treat you like you could do well) but i dont think hes a bad person. Certainly not on the level of limbaugh or hannity.

    • the black scientist / Jan 30 2009 12:38 pm

      i’m not trying to make a character judgment about cosby (whether or not he’s a good or bad person) but this speech is absolutely ridiculous. no amount of moral triumph or failure, personal circumstance, or historical grievance, can excuse the nature of his approach to the supposed topic of education, among other things. i mean, its not only about young/old although that’s definitely part of it, but it’s also about clinging onto this idea of the ‘pathology’ and culture of poor people, and the idea that black people, in particular, somehow want to be poor, or are wholly responsible for getting themselves in that position.

  3. Jazzmanblues / Oct 8 2009 9:03 pm

    This is a great speech and I’m puzzled when people take offense to something that bespeaks of truth. There’s an old saying that I heard once that goes something like, “the truth shall set you free, but it’ll piss you off first.”

    • the black scientist / Oct 12 2009 2:55 pm

      what’s great about this speech?


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