Helping America's Youth
Bill doesn't deny that he was airing some dirty laundry—but that was the point. "Have you ever seen dirty laundry? We have to clean it, don't we?" he says. "These people who talked about the dirty laundry somehow only cared about the laundry. They didn't care about the children. I said in my speech, 'Our children are trying to tell us something and we're not listening.'"
Despite the uproar, Bill says he does not regret the things he said, but he admits his comments only pertain to some members of the communitynot all. "With the drugs in the neighborhood, how can you excuse a drug dealer?" he says. "If you look at the domino effect of, [someone sells] you crack cocaine. You become an addict. You give up your body for some money to some man who has AIDS. You get pregnant. Your child is infected. It starts to domino."
Since making his speech, Bill has been on a mission to help people think about raising children with more integrity. He has traveled from city to city, lecturing about education, parenting and responsibility. In October 2007, he released a book called Come On People: On the Path from Victims to Victors, which explains the causes of the problem and gives parents advice on how to address it.
"I never said there's no such thing as systemic or institutional racism. I also never said that we've got some people of our own that happen to be on the side of the racists. I'm saying we've got to dig in and fight. The same way that you and I were protected by our grandparents," Bill says. "We need to see the problem the same way and protect our children."