October 21, 2004
MILWAUKEE - Bill Cosby won cheers as he carried a serious message to the city's black community, urging parents to take up the responsibility of educating and raising their children.
"It is not all right for your 15-year-old daughter to have a child," the comedian said Wednesday night. "I'm 67 years old. I'm not talking to you any different from a grandfather who would say, `I wouldn't do that if I were you.'"
Cosby was warmly received by a crowd of about 2,400 people at North Division High School in Milwaukee's inner city.
He asked parents to talk with their children, spend time with them and encourage them to study hard and prevent teen pregnancy. He said parents shouldn't leave the responsibility of raising their children to television and CDs.
"These are your children," Cosby said. "You're supposed to raise them."
Cosby said he decided to come after speaking with Eugene Kane, columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and learning about the city's high rate of high school dropouts, its high teen pregnancy rate and its murder rate.
Cosby has become known for talking tough about problems of blacks and challenging parents to be more accountable for their children.
Kane had been critical of the comedian's comments before he attended a community rally Cosby held in Newark, N.J. Kane praised the event in a later column.