ATLANTA – A Georgia judge who kicked whites out of his courtroom while he lectured black defendants is getting a comedian's help in delivering his stern message.
Bill Cosby joined Judge Marvin Arrington at a forum Thursday night for at-risk youths from the Atlanta area. Both men are black, and Cosby himself has made waves by criticizing the black community.
The comedian spoke to the predominantly black audience at Benjamin Mays High School about the importance of education and family.
"Families: where old people put the rules out without profanity," Cosby told the invitation-only gathering of about 500 people, including teenagers judged by juvenile authorities as being "at risk."
Cosby lamented a culture of drugs and permissive sex.
"Let's get with these teenage children and their sex and having sex. I'm telling you, you've got to talk to your children," he said.
He dismissed critics of his approach who have said that he is airing dirty laundry.
"That's crazy," he said. "There are black people who have to walk around this dirty laundry."
Arrington recounted a litany of criminal defendants who come before him in court, including young men who kill during drug deals and a father who slept with his daughters.
"Somewhere, you can cannot tolerate this uncivilized conduct," Arrington said.
The judge has admitted he should not have made white people leave as he tried to scare straight some young black men at the March 27 court session. He said he wanted only to get the defendants' attention without dressing them down in front of whites.
Arrington said it was frustrating to see a stream of young criminals in his courtroom.
"You guys are destroying your lives," he told them in what he called a "fireside chat."
Arrington has drawn comparisons to Cosby, who has gotten praise and criticism for saying that some black adults are not providing proper guidance.
Most recently, the 70-year-old Cosby has recorded a hip-hop album with subject matter including the value of an education and self-respect.
The album is "the opposite of what I think is the profanity for no particular reason, the misogyny for no particular reason," he said last week. "It really looks at the frustration and the anger that a young man may have."