The timing of last Sunday's appearance on NBC's Meet the Press show of comedian and activist Bill Cosby and Havard University Professor Alvin F. Poussaint to talk about their new book, "Come on, People: On the Path from Victims to Victors," could not have been better for the Mahoning Valley. Host Tim Russert, a veteran television journalist, asked questions of Cosby and Poussaint that went to the heart of the crisis in the black community, especially with regard to young people.
Schools in the Valley with a large percentage of black students would do well to make the program required watching. An hour out of the school day would be well spent. Indeed, parents or guardians should be invited to participate, since a lot of what Cosby and Poussaint said had to do with adults.
Here's a sampling:
"Dr. Poussaint: ... But I think, you know, right now that figure cited is 70 percent of black babies born to single mothers in the United States each year, and a lot of them are living in poverty because of that. And the boys and girls don't have fathers, and every study indictes that the involvement of fathers with their family, and particularly with their children, is very important to their good and healthy development. But that's not happening. And many of these fathers don't even know what to do as a father because many of them grew up in homes that were fatherless. So what's the model for a, a two-parent home or for a family?"
"Mr. Cosby: Or what is the model for corrective behavior? If you have this generational, fatherless situation, unwed father or whatever, but the male is not there, then it, it registers on another person, on, on the child as abandonment."
Inner city schools have first-hand experience with the phenomenon of children with no father in the home, which is why the districts must begin a discussion about the problems and the solutions.
With regard to solutions, here's food for thought: What if members of the pro-life movement who are using this month to herald the sanctity of life made a commitment to adopt every child in the Valley born without a father present? A physical adoption may not be possible, but a financial commitment to ensure that the baby (and the mother) have adequate care shelter, food, health care and an education fund for a quality education would go a long way toward proving that members of the pro-life movement aren't just against abortion, but recognize that the sanctity of life also means providing the living with a quality life.
Meet the Press with Tim Russert is aired each Sunday at 9 a.m. on WFMJ-TV Channel 21.
Last Sunday's show can be accessed using the following address: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032608