The Bottom Line
- Written in an engaging style that is 100% Bill Cosby
- Offers poignant stories of committed fathers and families
- Easy to read for almost any man
- Offers concrete examples of next steps for helping fathers
- The book is located in political science section at the bookstore, not in family section
- Catalogs the challenges faced by black families in modern culture
- Takes a "no excuses" approach to addressing the challenges
- Offers "call-outs" of family experts giving advice on effective fathering
- Shares specific success stories of fathers who made a difference
Guide Review - Come on People
In one sense, the difficulties facing black American families today are staggering. Consider the following from Come on People:
- Homicide is the number one cause of death for black men between fifteen and twenty-nine years of age
- In some cities, black males have high school drop-out rates of more than 50 percent
- At any given time, as many as one in four of all young black men are in the criminal justice system - in prison or jail, on probation, or on parole
With these incredibly negative odds, it is not unexpected that black families are often fatherless. Consider that in 1950, five out of every six black children were born into a two-parent home; today, that number is less than two in six.
Cosby and Poussaint don't just lament such statistics. Instead, they share success stories and offer prescriptions for government, community and families to turn the tide and get black fathers to become positive role models again. In Come on People, the authors encourage communities to get involved and to engage education, the police and other community assets. They offer solutions for young black fathers who didn't have a male role model at home as to what they can do to be great dads. Carefully choosing media messages that are positive and avoiding media that send sometimes violent messages about women and children can help young black fathers stay more connected at home. And Cosby and Poussaint also make recommendations about choices that lead to improved health in families like avoidance of drugs and focus on nutrition and exercise. This is no "woe is me" book from society's victims but a true call to all segments of society, including the black community, to step up to responsibility.
Come on People is not only chock full of specific steps to improve family life, but it offers hope as the authors share success stories from black families who made good choices. The book shares the stories of Wynton Marsalis, Guion Bluford, Oprah Winfrey and Gwendolyn Brooks, among others, who overcame serious obstacles in life and became success stories in their communities and fields of labor.
While ostensibly all about overcoming challenges in black America, Come on People is a message for all fathers to step up and take responsibility for their actions and their families. Returning to traditional values of human dignity, family and personal responsibility is call we all need to heed in today's anchorless society. I recommend Come on People for all fathers, and particularly those who work and serve in the black community.