Bill Cosby: Just-Us and the Burden of Proof

“I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against.”  — Malcom X

I thought I had said or written all that I had to say or write about Bill Cosby and his foolishness, but just when I thought I was out of the conversation, they pull me back in.

A portion of Bill Cosby’s deposition in a 2005 civil suit brought by a woman who claimed the comedian gave her Quaaludes in order to sexually assault her suddenly surfaced a week or so ago, reopening and reigniting arguments as to his guilt or innocence. I didn’t even bother to read it or any of the heated commentary surrounding it because I had already made up my mind about Cosby during the first round of this argument.

Many considered this Cosby deposition to be the proverbial smoking gun, the most damning piece of evidence to be presented thus far and conclusive proof of his guilt. However, expectedly, #randomhotepnegroes, conspiracy theorists, and Bill Cosby defenders, not entirely mutually exclusive groups, took an exact opposite stance.  And enough of them guilted me into going back and reading the document myself using that whole, “If you are really interested in the truth…” thing.

These #randomhotepnegroes, conspiracy theorists, and Bill Cosby defenders apprised me of the fact that in this deposition Cosby did not admit to drugging women and then having sex with them against their will; rather, he only copped to procuring Quaaludes for the purpose of seducing them. Evidently, Quaaludes were a big part of his seduction game.

And much to my chagrin, after reading through the portion of the deposition released online, I could but only admit that they were indeed correct. This deposition alone can in no way be read as an admission of guilt.

Actor Bill Cosby speaks at the National Action Network's 20th annual Keepers of the Dream Awards gala in New York April 6, 2011.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS HEADSHOT) - RTR2KWH7
Actor Bill Cosby speaks at the National Action Network’s 20th annual Keepers of the Dream Awards gala in New York April 6, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS HEADSHOT) – RTR2KWH7

In fact, as it was pointed out to me, if we were to use this confession by Cosby as a measure of his guilt, we would then have to go back and arrest most of the male population because who has not shown up at some woman’s house with a fifth of cognac and a dream?

To be completely honest, most decisions men make between the ages of about fourteen to twenty-six, depending on an individual’s rate of maturity, are predicated almost entirely on the possibility of the decision resulting in sex. So if this is the smoking gun people claim it to be, practically all men are guilty to some degree.

But that in no way changes my opinion of Cosby.

A good friend who is a lawyer brought to my attention the fact that in most criminal cases in which the defendant is found guilty that go to trial, no such smoking gun even exists. In fact, most of these cases are decided simply on the basis of the evidence presented. And based on the evidence presented thus far, the accusations of a now almost innumerable number of women—they just seem to keep coming out of the woodwork—Cosby, in my reasoned but humble opinion, is dead guilty. Admittedly, some of these women may have ulterior motives; however, every one of them cannot be telling the same lie.

Not only that, and most importantly, just how high is our threshold of the acceptable burden of proof? What would these #randomhotepnegroes, conspiracy theorists, and Bill Cosby defenders actually accept as the proverbial smoking gun because as evinced by history, no amount of evidence, whatever the quality or form, is ever enough.

Remember the case of one R & B artist, R. Kelly? Remember that even amid repeated allegations and reports of him preying on young, black girls, a videotape surfaced of him peeing on somebody’s child. In other words, there was video evidence of his malfeasance, his pedophilia. His foolishness was caught on tape and in living color; nevertheless, for many even this videotape, this visual evidence, still was not enough of a smoking gun.

#randomhotepnegroes, conspiracy theorists, and Bill Cosby defenders insisted that we had no way of knowing if that was actually R. Kelly on that video or not, and furthermore that video and the allegations and investigations dogging R. Kelly were just more attempts to bring a good brother down, and now that renegade negro R. Kelly is still running around wearing a mask, dressed like somebody’s uncle who just touched down after going to jail during the 1980’s, talking about he is the pied piper of R & B.

And I have no way of proving it, so it is more or less completely conjecture on my part, but more than likely, part 2 of his pedophilic rampage jumped off as soon as he was acquitted of the charges and progresses even at this very moment. If you are so sure of R. Kelly’s innocence, why not send your underage daughters or nieces to spend a week or so with him at his estate?

And who could forget the O.J. Simpson case, The Trial of the Century? Remember that one? Even in the face of overwhelming evidence of his guilt, some folks still claim that he did not stab up those white folk, curiously despite the fact that at the time he stabbed up those white folk, he had all but cut his ties to and disavowed the black community many years previous to that incident. Yet, many black folk defended him, and continue to do so, nonetheless.

It is amazing what a bit of police incompetence, a stack of money, and the power that stack of money accords can do. It can get you off even in the face of the most overwhelming evidence, and in some cases, it may even frighten and intimidate the victims of crimes, no matter how heinous, from even coming forward.

Meanwhile, between there and here, many of the pre-hotep #randomhotepnegroes stepped to some random white women’s house with a fifth of cognac and a dream, and when the liquor ran out but their dream was deferred and they left without having accomplished anything, in their embarrassment they read almost the whole first chapter and/or the back cover blurb of a hand full of books, at least enough to consider themselves experts, and immediately went on Twitter and got to hotep-ing.

Please forgive those last few lines. They were non-sequitur and completely inappropriate. But sometimes I say or write stuff just to amuse myself. I will endeavor to delete them from the final draft. Again, forgive me.

Nevertheless, we must get past this whole false black good-white bad dichotomy. Evil is not exclusively the trait of any one race or group but is sprinkled indiscriminately throughout the whole of humanity. If you array yourself in the armor of truth and claim the complete eradication of even the slightest hint of unequal treatment as your cause, if you claim truth to be the means and justice to be the end, you must necessarily be truthful and insist on justice no matter who it is for or against, lest you become merely a chocolate version of the vanilla you find so distasteful.

Truth and justice cannot be the purview of just us, for as Martin Luther the King so eloquently reminded us in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” the very existence of injustice anywhere threatens the presence of justice everywhere; justice must necessarily be for all or for none.