updated 7/2/2004 8:59:18 PM ET 2004-07-03T00:59:18

Bill Cosby went off on another tirade against the black community Thursday, telling a room full of activists that too many black men are beating their wives while their children run around not knowing how to read or write.

Cosby made headlines in May when he upbraided some poor blacks for their grammar and accused them of squandering opportunities the civil rights movement gave them. He shot back Thursday, saying his detractors were trying in vain to hide the black community’s “dirty laundry.”

“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,” Cosby said during an appearance at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition & Citizenship Education Fund’s annual conference.

“They think they’re hip,” the entertainer said. “They can’t read; they can’t write. They’re laughing and giggling, and they’re going nowhere.”

He also had harsh words for black men who don’t have jobs and are angry about their lives.

‘Stop beating up your women’
“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,” Cosby said. “You should have thought more of yourself when you were in high school, when you had an opportunity.”

In his remarks in May at a commemoration of the anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education desegregation decision, Cosby denounced some blacks’ grammar and said those who commit crimes and wind up behind bars “are not political prisoners.”

“I can’t even talk the way these people talk, ‘Why you ain’t,’ ‘Where you is’ ... and I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk,” Cosby said then. “And then I heard the father talk ... Everybody knows it’s important to speak English except these knuckleheads. You can’t be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth.”

Cosby elaborated Thursday on his previous comments in a talk interrupted several times by applause. He castigated some blacks, saying that they cannot simply blame whites for problems such as teen pregnancy and high school dropout rates.

‘Turn the mirror around’
“For me there is a time ... when we have to turn the mirror around,” he said. “Because for me it is almost analgesic to talk about what the white man is doing against us. And it keeps a person frozen in their seat, it keeps you frozen in your hole you’re sitting in.”

Cosby lamented that the racial slurs once used by those who lynched blacks are now a favorite expression of black children. And he blamed parents.

“When you put on a record and that record is yelling n----- and you’ve got your little 6-year-old, 7-year-old sitting in the back seat of the car, those children hear that,” he said.

Cosby appeared Thursday with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder and president of the education fund, who defended the entertainer’s statements.

“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.”

Failing to honor civil rights heroes
Cosby also said many young people are failing to honor the sacrifices made by those who struggled and died during the civil rights movement.

“Dogs, water hoses that tear the bark off trees, Emmett Till,” he said, naming the black youth who was tortured and murdered in Mississippi in 1955, allegedly for whistling at a white woman. “And you’re going to tell me you’re going to drop out of school? You’re going to tell me you’re going to steal from a store?”

Cosby also said he wasn’t concerned that some whites took his comments and turned them “against our people.”

“Let them talk,” he said.

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