In his new sit-com on CBS, Cedric the Entertainer plays a Black version of an Archie Bunker-type character dealing with gentrification, race issues and basic family problems (unemployed son living with the family, etc.) Cedric is a very capable comedian who has had a long career, particularly pushed forward by the very popular “Kings of Comedy” movie of the early 21th century.

Overall, however, the jokes in the sit-com do not seem to rise to the level necessary to sustain this show beyond a handful of episodes, and so far the situations set up in the show for real dialogue on race and diversity in modern society have been wasted in the show’s first four episodes. The guillotine for this new show feels very close.

Cedric’s reputation never quite recovered from his nasty engagement with the civil rights icon, Rosa Parks, back in 2002. Then, in the popular movie, “Barbershop,” in what seemed to be some spur-of-the-moment ad libs in the dialogue, Cedric’s character, Eddie, had insulted the reputations of Dr. M.L. King and a then-still-living Rosa Parks. Rev. Jesse Jackson, who had had his time being poked in the script too, but didn’t seem to mind, said he had read the original movie script and hadn’t seen the nippy jokes about Dr. King and Mrs. Parks. Had he seen them, he said, he would have immediately demurred about the making of the movie. Rev. Jackson and Al Sharpton both threatened to boycott the NAACP Image Awards that year for applauding the movie.

What angered and irritated many in the Black community about the dust-up was that Mrs. Parks herself had publicly commented that she felt insulted by Cedric’s comments in the movie. This was a living cultural icon saying she felt disrespected. All Cedric had to do was to say he apologized, that it was just a movie, and that he meant no disrespect to this civil rights elder. He, in fact, was the Master of Ceremonies for the image Awards that year and had a grand stage with plenty of time to make that small gesture of humility, as was expected in the situation. He ignored the opportunity, never issued any kind of apology nor any acknowledgment that he owed anybody one.

Many, many people in the Black community never forgave him for that unnecessary slight. Mrs. Parks soon died without Cedric ever showing he had any decent home training.

This was beyond whether one agreed that the jokes weren’t that bad and that the words just fit Cedric’s character in the movie. This was about respecting one’s own cultural history and those who had made that history. This was about showing some deference and humility to one’s elders.

He did not do so. As a result, there are still many in the Black community who will not support any of his creative efforts and, in fact, want him to fail. Two things always considered egregious behavior in the community are Black people being taken for granted politically (Tom Bradley given that lesson when he ran for governor without engaging the Black community at all), and showing little to no respect for one’s elders. We are all just supposed to know better.

As for me, I hope Cedric does have some success with his new show. I can never wish bad luck on Black people, we seem to have too much of it coming anyway. But I too still remember the unnecessary disrespect given to Mrs. Parks, remember the ubiquitous danger thousands of Black folk put themselves in to give Cedric and many others the opportunities they now have to do well, and I remember there are some jokes which simply should not be told. Cedric, for example, would not have delivered any jokes making fun of the Holocaust or any of the heroes/sheroes connected with it. Of that we are sure.

If we don’t respect ourselves and our own stories, why should anyone else do so? Cedric could have easily taken 10 seconds or so to apologize to Rosa Parks (like Jesse Jackson’s “God is not through with me yet,” mea culpa over the Hymietown joke) when he had command of the stage and cameras. He chose not to do that.

That stain won’t come off, Cedric. But good luck, anyway!!!

Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.