We lost Cliff Huxtable. We lost Bill Cosby. We lost a man who brought forth the positive image of black family life to American mainstream TV. And it looks like the person responsible is none other than Bill Cosby himself.
You might wanna get comfortable, because this may be a long and depressing article.
I used to love Bill Cosby. I remember watching his comedy special “Bill Cosby: Himself” when I was young. I even recorded it, and no matter how many times I watched it, I laughed my ass off.
I watched episodes of “The Cosby Show”. It was just as gut-busting when it came to humor, but it was positive, clean humor that only Cosby could give. Not only that, I saw something very few people saw on TV back in the day, a well-to-do black family with two career-driven, positive and professional parents and children who did not fit the negative stereotypes of black youth. It was amazing!
Bill Cosby was like a father-figure to most of his audiences. He even displayed that persona during his infamous Pound Cake Speech at the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education decision which drew mixed reviews. Some, like famed professor Michael Eric Dyson criticized his chastising of poor blacks for not holding up their end of “the deal”. Others thought he was being honest. He seemed to care about the direction poor black communities were heading. Whatever your opinion of him and his stance on the black working class, you still kinda admire him for all the contributions he gave to the media promoting positive black images from Fat Albert to Cliff Huxtable.
But all of that is crashing down as you read this. We could’ve been deceived by a man who’s not at all like Cliff Hustable in real life. Then again, some would say that he has done a lot for positive, black media imagery and black colleges. So, he certainly can’t be what over 20 women says he is. A rapist.
Cosby has been accused over the years of raping so many women. Alas, the media only reported this less than a few times since he became a household name. So, it was shocking to find out that he has been accused of sexual assault and rape before. After all, this is a man scolding poor black people to do better. Yet, he was accused of heinous crimes! Talk about hypocrisy. And it was another comedian, Hannibal Burress, who pointed that shit out in a comedy routine:
“Bill Cosby has the f***ing smuggest old black man public persona that I hate. Pull your pants up, black people. I was on TV in the ’80s. I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom. Yeah, but you raped women, Bill Cosby. So, brings you down a couple notches. I don’t curse on stage. Well, yeah, you’re a rapist,” Buress joked.
The video that recorded that piece went viral. And it was all downhill from there for Cosby. From that point on, one by one and counting, women have come out speaking that Cosby raped them, all sharing one theme. Cosby drugged them somehow. took advantage of them while they were out and they felt sexually violated in some way. The once famed and beloved comedian morphed into America’s infamous serial rapists in the news, tabloid and social media outlets in a firestorm of accusation after accusation.
Immediately, Cosby was tried and convicted by a court of public opinion. His future plans for a comeback have been virtually demolished. “The Cosby Show” is no longer on the air. And his comedy tour has been scrapped. It’s safe to say that the Cosby legacy is in ruins and possibly unsalvageable.
As expected, this has crossed issues from sexism into racism as people are strongly divided over this scandal. Many people side with the accusers, stating that the culture of rape and sexual assault must be stopped. It is definitely a case in Tinsel Town where it holds many ugly secrets. While others question how could a black man of any status get away with so many rapes during a time when racial overtness was still in style. After all, almost all of the accusers are white women. The ghost of Willie Norton haunts us again like he did with Herman Cain.
But then, you have the ones who suspect that the women are after Cosby’s money as they plan to sue him as oppose to try to put his behind in prison. They question why it took them so long for them to do anything. They wonder why nothing was done to stop this man. In the end, they suspect something’s rotten in Denmark. Conspiracy theories were born from there. One, of which, included a plot to bring down a highly powerful black man as that’s an American no-no.
Those who support Cosby, from what I’ve seen, are mostly black folks. Does that mean something’s wrong with them? Hell no! It just means that they’re no different from the mostly white people who still support Woody Allen, Roman Polanski and the latest embattled white celebrity Stephen Collins who confessed to molesting three girls during his earlier days. So, the message is simply this: if you can support your heroes who obviously have faults, why can’t we, assuming Cosby is guilty? Is it right? No, but who are white people to say they’re experts in ethics and morality in the first place, especially when they’ve violently demanded that we embrace their “civility”? In other words, we learned that shit from them.
It’s one thing to discuss the issue of rape in the Cosby case. It’s another when certain men are singled out for the discussion to be brought. It seems like certain societal problems are never mentioned unless a black person is in the spotlight. Domestic violence was an issue when Chris Brown and Ray Rice were in the news, not Charlie Sheen or Mel Gibson. This is why the issue of sexual assault will be discussed due to Bill Cosby’s alleged actions and not those of Jerry Sandusky or even Jimmy Savile (Google him and be shocked). People should not piggyback off certain celebs while ignoring others when discussing these important topics that involve all who’s guilty.
Some have even said that this scandal helped to influence public opinion on black men during a time when black men are under attack by the police and have been screwed by grand juries. The face of domestic violence has been a black male’s face. The face of thuggery is a black male’s face. And now, thanks to Cosby, the face of rape has – as it has been since slavery – a black male’s face. Race is likely not out of the question in this whole mess.
As we see this scandal unravel with possibly more women coming forward, all we can do is watch Cosby’s pristine image die slowly, but surely. We must not demonize the women, however, as it will be counterproductive. All in all, the lesson is that those we worship are humans with faults and flaws. And it looks like Bill has a lot of them. We are witnessing a slow and painful death that could be the result of a years-long career self-destruction that we’ve ignored far too long.