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Come on, People: On the Path from Victims to Victors Hardcover – October 9, 2007

4 out of 5 stars 127 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With his at-times controversial social commentary fresh in the public mind, legendary comedian Cosby (Fatherhood) teams up with psychiatrist Poussaint (Lay my Burden Down) to take a hard look at the state of black America, bearer of "more than their share of poverty," and present ways to overcome the "deep-rooted" challenges of the poor-including crime, lack of education and broken families. While aimed at a specific group, the authors' advice is broad and largely unsurprising-stay in school, work your way up, be independent, parent your children, stay out of debt, be a voice for change-but the context is genuine concern and hope for the community: "black strength lies in our resolve to keep on keeping on... never yielding to the role of cooperative victim." The authors are particularly concerned about young black males, who they say are relinquishing family responsibilities in increasing numbers, largely for lack of proper role models: "A house without a father is a challenge. A neighborhood without fathers is a catastrophe." Taking a long view of black Americans' struggle, Cosby and Poussaint draw cogent and historically-minded arguments against the excesses of gangsta rap, but prove even more vehement on the destructive influence of corporal punishment on kids. This tough, thoughtful guide to life will prove valuable not just for its target audience, but for the activists, social workers, clergy and teachers able to "provide our youth with the love and guidance that keeps them strong and on that positive path."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Bill Cosby is one of the most influential performers of the last half century. From a poor Philadelphia neighborhood, he rose to dominate the airwaves through shows like I Spy and The Cosby Show; become the all-time bestselling comedian on records; and author several blockbuster books, including Fatherhood, which became the fastest-selling hardcover book of all time and spent 54 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. A crusader throughout his career, his success is complemented by involvement with a host of charitable, education, and civil rights organizations.

Alvin F. Poussaint, M.D., grew up in a family of eight children in East Harlem, New York. He is a veteran of the civil rights movement, serving as Southern Field Director of the Medical Committee for Human Rights in Jackson, Mississippi, in the 1960s. He is currently a Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Judge Baker Children's Center. Dr. Poussaint is coauthor of Raising Black Children and Lay My Burden Down.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 265 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; 1 edition (October 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595550925
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595550927
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (127 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,245,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Black activists can get thousands to march on Jena, but you never hear of them getting thousands to march on Baltimore or Compton where daily you hear of blacks being victimized by other blacks. It is as though the infrequent white on black attacks are all that troubles the black community rather than an epidemic of black on black crime. One can not really blame Sharpton or Jesse Jackson as the media are obsessed with only certain aspects of the black community, mostly when they are victims of whites. But those thousands who march have to then have to head home and hide behind locked doors and you can be sure the doors are locked not because they fear cops or Lacrosse players. It is a sick situation that boggles the mind.

Finally we have some very respected black leaders coming out and saying that simply thinking of yourself as a victim does nothing but keep you down. The old methods of protesting to prop up the images of celebrity activists have clearly not worked. Unless the authors' advice is taken, we will see another generation of black americans live in poverty and hopelessness while their few celebrity leaders are wined and dined by the power elite who seem content with the current situation as long as they continue to get free votes. This book is very powerful and also very couragious. You will likely see both authors attacked because they have the nerve to not follow the party line. Well ask yourself, who benefits from the party line? Only those who get political advantage from it.
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Format: Hardcover
As a white native of the Appalachian coalfields, an area plagued with the same problems that are destroying inner-city black families, I hear in Cosby's words advice that many of my friends and family members also need to hear. Cosby speaks about the need for positive male role models, the abandonment of the community, the price of violence and personal foundations (either good or bad) built during childhood. With staggering statistics and clear, rational arguments, Cosby presents an undeniable thesis that points a finger directly at irresponsible behavior as the root of most of our problems.

Cosby's greatest frustration with black America comes from embracing the "victim" label and the continuation of self-defeating (and often stereotypical) behavior. As examples, he sites the use of the n-word, self loathing parents who spew hatred for their own race in front of their children, and support for criminals.

The biggest credit paid to Cosby should be the high road he takes in this book, which comes directly on the heels of a three year stretch where he has routinely been mocked and attacked for his beliefs. One would expect others like Bill O'Reilly or Michael Moore in a similar situation to spend the first few chapters railing against their critics and answering any counter points against their arguments. But Cosby seems more interested in getting out his message than protecting his image, so he's all business in this work, even it provides more fodder for his critics to use against him.
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Format: Hardcover
I saw the Cos and Dr. Poussant yesterday on "Meet the Press" speak truth to power with limited commercial interruption just before church and headed to Boox-A-Million right after services to get this for myself.

This is a much-needed modern manifesto on the internal probelsm of Black America (and to a large extent, America as a whole);

Drs. Poussant and Cosby not only talk about the problems we all know about, but also some solutions and examples of people who have overcome these things. The story about the boy casually coming home to a shack to find his mother dead and going to fix himself some lunch unfazed is astonishing.

They debunk the current bunk about the "n word" being a term of "endearment," noting that when these same fools who say "what's up my (n word)" also use that same term when shooting at each other.

They also talk about something I've discussed frequently when I was a newspaper and radio commentator, the hateful slavery-bred practice of Black parents making uneccesarily negative statements about the Black race in the presence of their children, thus instilling and continuing the inferiority complex.

They do not deny the need of the fight against external forces. I've never understood why so many people feel that that it's an "either or" fight for Black self-improvement or against white racism. I've always felt we needed BOTH the "Booker T and the WEB" approaches, and the Cos and Dr. Pouissant acknowledge this.

In the past, too many African-Americans feared that candid discussions of such matters would give ammunition for white racists to destroy us (as if other races were prefect angels).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dr. Bill Cosby and Dr. Alvin Poussaint have penned an instant classic that every American, regardless of race should race out to purchase, read, and apply. As a middle-age white male, I fondly remember listening to the wit, wisdom, and humor of Bill Cosby on a 78 (a record for those too young to know). The joy he brought me as a youth is nothing compared to the joy he is bringing a race and a nation today as he and his co-author definitively address the "Path from Victims to Victors."

In 288 pages of tightly-written, well-crafted material, Cosby and Poussaint address, in turn, the topics of: "What's Going on with Black Men," "It Takes a Community," "We All Start Out As Children," The Media You Deserve," "Healthy Hearts and Minds," "The High Price of Violence," and "From Poverty to Prosperity." Simply reading these chapter titles demonstrates that "Come on People" holistically addresses the social ills of a people, wisely looking both at individual responsibility and societal/cultural influences.

From the very beginning, their words are riveting. "For the last generation or two, as our communities dissolved and our parenting skills broke down, no one has suffered more than our young black men. Your authors have been around long enough and traveled widely enough to, to think we understand something about the problem. And we're hopeful enough--or desperate enough--to think that with all of us working together we might find a solution" (p. 1).

Indeed, "Come on People: On the Path from Victims to Victors" is the single best modern book providing a solution to the problems facing a race and a nation. While an honest book, it is not a negative book.
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