This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 3, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.
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JOHN KASICH, GUEST HOST: Our top story tonight: Some very heated race rhetoric coming out of New Orleans. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton led a rally at the Convention Center on Saturday. The civil rights leaders are angry about voting rights for evacuees in an upcoming election.
Comedian Bill Cosby was there, too. As you know, he's gotten into a lot of trouble and gotten a lot of attention for his controversial criticisms of the African-American community. Well, he was at it again. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: Ladies and gentlemen, you had the highest murder rate unto each other. You were dealing drugs to each other. You were impregnating our 13, 12, 11-year-old children to each other. What kind of village was it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KASICH: Joining us now from Southfield, Michigan is legal analyst Lauren Lake.
Lauren, some very strong words out of Bill Cosby. He picks environments where, you know, it's straight talk from him. He thinks he's helping the African-American community by this straight talk. What do you think?
LAUREN LAKE, LEGAL ANALYST: Oh, no. Straight talk is real, and we need it. I mean, Bill is saying what's on his mind. And although he is right in some sense, there is still a larger picture which we need not forget as well.
When you ask why are blacks murdering each other, selling drugs, and impregnating one another, I submit that brown people and white people and all other kinds of people are doing the same things.
The question is why is it running rampant in our community? We have to look at the disenfranchisement, the continued racial oppression, and the systems that are in place now that have institutional racism floating in and through these systems that still affect African-Americans today, which leave us in the poorest position in our country. And we're one of the weakest cultures and the people that really need more than just the "pull up by the bootstraps" theory to get things done.
KASICH: Well, Lauren, you know, Cosby also says — and he's become a hero to me because he's willing to say very tough things to people when he's in a very difficult situation.
Let me give you an example: He said some young people unfairly blame whites for problems such as teen pregnancy and high dropout rates. Everybody is not a victim.
Now here he is down in New Orleans, telling people down there, look, you know, you got the highest murder rate, you're dealing drugs, and you're impregnating very young children. I mean, he's not — he's saying no more excuses. Just step up, look in the mirror, and figure out what we're doing to one another. To me, it's a very powerful message.
LAKE: Well, oh, I think it is powerful. And Bill Cosby is just not one of your heroes. He's an African-American hero. I mean, he's done amazing things in our culture, not to mention his show and how it affected all of us.
However, I will say this. As I have said before, just because he's your hero and you like what he says, that is not an excuse to excuse American culture at large for the way in which it is forgetting about, its poorest Americans.
KASICH: But Lauren, here's my point. You know, look, it's excuses, OK? When people develop excuses, and I'm going to tell you there is a problem — there's still a problem in America with racism, but to use that as an excuse for the kind of dropout rates, you know, you now have — you know, a statistic in The New York Times came out not long ago. Six in 10 black men who dropped out of high school have spent time in prison by their mid 30's.
I don't think that's my fault!
KASICH: I mean, it's not a white person's fault that this is happening.
LAKE: No, it is not.
KASICH: Cosby is saying, don't use an excuse.
LAKE: You did not hear me say it was a white person's fault. You heard me say that it was American cultural problem. And that's the problem. White people want to take everything...
KASICH: What does that mean, Lauren?
LAKE: If you give me a second, I'm going to let you know. What it means is, is that white people have to stop taking personally when we say that there are American systems in place that disenfranchise black people. It's not about you, white person, sitting at your home on the porch on Monday that's done something to a black person on Sunday that's affecting them.
It's about the entire society, institutional racism, things that are still going on that you don't have to understand, because you do not experience.
And let me say, these same...
KASICH: But Lauren, I think Bill Cosby is taking issue with you.
LAKE: Let me finish my point. No, Bill Cosby will not take an issue with me. And he really will not, because I am sure there are things that affected his life and his family that are very similar to the same things that affect the same families with Katrina.
KASICH: You know what it was with him? You know why he had credibility? He grew up in a family — he was abandoned by his father. His mother tried to raise a bunch of kids. He had to help raise his brothers and sisters. And he's saying, look at me. I'm a success.
LAKE: And yes.
KASICH: And he's saying, you know, what he's really saying, Lauren, is...
KASICH: Let me just make this point. See if you agree with this. When you make excuses, I don't care whether you're black, white, red, green, or blue. When you tell somebody who failed — who's failed, you give them a chance and an excuse — they'll usually take it.
And it doesn't put them in a — if they think — when you get into the excuse game, you're giving people a reason to drop out of school, to get people pregnant, to not be successful.
LAKE: We are not — this is not about making excuses. Let's keep it real here. Our government at large has got a problem with making excuses. So don't try to blame poor black people about an excuse, but I will talk about socio-...
KASICH: I'm not blaming anybody. I'm talking Bill Cosby to you.
LAKE: You have to.
KASICH: I'm not blaming — go ahead.
LAKE: You have to let me finish my statement.
KASICH: Go ahead, Lauren.
LAKE: ...if you're going to understand where I'm going with this.
KASICH: Go ahead, Lauren.
LAKE: It's not just about excuses. It's about socio-economic status. It's about schools. We're in the worst schools in the worst communities.
You can't blame this all on black people. They'll pull themselves up by their bootstraps. I'm a black person that you would claim would have "credibility" in your own words, but there are still times in my life that I experience racism, racism that you will never understand because you don't have to understand.
KASICH: Lauren, I'm not going to disagree with that. Look.
LAKE: ...because it's a coat you don't have to wear.
KASICH: Look, I'm not going to disagree with that. But let me.
LAKE: You can't disagree with it.
KASICH: ...let me show you — let me tell you, in our cities and public schools, we have a 50 percent dropout rate. No longer is a person embarrassed because they're pregnant without a husband. No longer is a boy considered an embarrassment if he tries to run away from being the father of an unmarried child. That's Cosby's words.
And you know what happens when Cosby shows up and says this stuff? People attack him. They criticize him.
KASICH: I'm not going to tell you that I understand what it's like to be a black man.
LAKE: ...if you heard what I said.
KASICH: ...I don't.
LAKE: No, you don't.
KASICH: But Cosby's saying let's stop with the excuses.
KASICH: ...and let's start looking at ourselves in the mirror and do better. That's what he's saying.
LAKE: And if you heard the first statement out of my mouth when I started speaking, it was Bill Cosby has a valid point, but it is not the entire picture. That's my whole point.
KASICH: All right.
LAKE: Does he have a point?
KASICH: Fair point.
LAKE: We do have to be accountable.
KASICH: Lauren, a fair point.
LAKE: But it is not the entire picture.
KASICH: And you know, it's always tough when you're white and you don't experience any of this to fully understand.
KASICH: But that's why Cosby's got my attention.
KASICH: ..because I think he's saying, you know, accountability matters.
But Lauren, it's good to have you here. Thanks for the discussion.
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