Actor Bill Cosby told several hundred people Thursday that African Americans need to take responsibility for their own problems.
Speaking at a conference of community associations in Newark, N.J., he told the audience that black Americans need to "stop looking for someone to blame."
Cosby has a long track record of angering black leaders with his criticisms. He said he was being "blunt, but not harsh," and called his critics "intellectual panhandlers" who are part of the problem because they enable destructive behavior by blaming racism.
"You've got these idiots who've got these degrees and some of them are ordained ministers and they say, `Bill, you're picking on the poor,"' he said.
"Well, so did Jesus then," he said. "Jesus was always telling someone, `Go ye.' Jesus was always telling people to go somewhere. And 'don't do this again or don't do that again."'
Cosby also criticized radio stations that play music he called "pro-murder and anti-women." He said adults are equally responsible for speaking out.
"I haven't seen the demonstrations saying, 'I'm not allowing my children to listen to this," he said. "It's killing us. We're not talking about it, and we're not beating it down."
Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker called Cosby "a critical voice right now in the American context." He praised his willingness to speak out on issues without bowing to political correctness.
"This is a time for candor - we can't beat around the bush," Booker said. "We've got large percentages of our population that are underachieving. He's speaking to the heart of the matter, and he speaks to the realities of what a lot of folks are experiencing."
Booker is founder of Family Intervention Services which hosted the event.
Source: The Associated Press, CBN News