It’s been a weird year, to say the least, for Bill Cosby.
From being called on stage by comedian Hannibal Buress as a “rapist” to dozens of women coming forward with date-rape allegations, it’s not what’s expected for an accomplished actor, comedian, and social commentator in what should be the retirement period of his life.
Amidst all the he said, she said — there still has been no proof. Nobody ever reported a crime to the police, nobody has produced any concrete evidence — all just decades-old allegations fueled by a media thirsty for coverage and lawyers like Gloria Allred even thirstier to be on the lens end of their cameras.
please lean closer into the dozen microphones, dear
A consistent campaign of negative media coverage began against Bill Cosby in 2004 when the comedian gave a rousing speech at the 50th Anniversary ceremony of the Brown v. Board of Education decision and stated the following:
Are you not paying attention, people with their hat on backwards, pants down around the crack. Isn’t that a sign of something, or are you waiting for Jesus to pull his pants up? Isn’t it a sign of something when she’s got her dress all the way up to the crack…and got all kinds of needles and things going through her body. What part of Africa did this come from? (laughter). We are not Africans. Those people are not Africans, they don’t know a damned thing about Africa. With names like Shaniqua, Shaligua, Mohammed and all that crap and all of them are in jail. (When we give these kinds names to our children, we give them the strength and inspiration in the meaning of those names. What’s the point of giving them strong names if there is not parenting and values backing it up)?
Can anyone find any fault with what he actually said?
Of course not, because it’s actually true.
Self-respect and self-determination started the Civil Rights Movement. It was a movement founded by those who were unafraid to say what’s wrong, to say “we are equal” because we are separated from you only by skin color. We have families, we have jobs, we pay taxes, we contribute to society, we respect ourselves and our communities.
Rosa Parks sat in that seat on the way back from her job, where she worked to earn an honest wage.
Brother King channeled his anger at an unfair childhood and society into a passion for oratory — he skipped grades in high school.
The leaders of the Civil Rights Movement were not unemployed dropouts — they were hardworking achievers who came from a line of hardworking achievers who loved and respected their country and its values.
The leaders of the Civil Rights Movement did not hate America — they worked to make it better.
They hated individuals who worked against American interests in excluding real Americans from opportunity. The fight was not for equality in outcome, it was for equality in opportunity.
When Dr. Cosby chided the African-American community for squandering that legacy, he came from a position consistent with the aims of the Civil Rights Movement.
But the Civil Rights Movement is no longer what it was.
In the past 50 years, the only voices that continue to gain oxygen are the more radical elements, those who disagreed with making America a better place and instead embraced pan-African nationalism.
Those are the same voices who roundly criticized Bill Cosby and continue to do so. As his TV wife and good friend Phylicia Rashad stated, “what you’re seeing is the destruction of a legacy”.
always and forever queen
Case in point — Bill Cosby recently gave a Good Morning America interview to discuss his new Alabama education initiative.
He was asked a strange, off the wall question regarding “what he would say to child who asks him about the numerous women who have accused him of sexual assault.”
How the hell do you expect someone to answer that question? YOLO?
Here’s his response:
I am prepared to tell this young person the truth about life. I’m not sure that they will come like that. I think that many of them say, well, “You’re a hypocrite. You say one thing, you say the other.” My point is, okay, listen to me carefully. I’m telling you where the road is out. I’m telling you where, as you’re driving, you’re gonna go into water, and it looks like it might only be three inches deep, but you and your car are gonna go down. Now you wanna go here? Or you wanna be concerned about who’s giving you the message?
Allie Jones of Defamer called it “rambling”, saying he “[evaded] rape questions” and “struggled to put a coherent thought together”.
When further pressed about the allegations, Cosby responded:
I’ve been in this business 52 years. I’ve never seen anything like this. And reality is the situation. And I, I can’t speak.
In his response to the rambling question about the young person, Cosby stated that he’s an adult who has a great deal of life experience that he can offer to the young person that shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand just because of some media allegations against the person delivering the message. He’s telling the young person “I’ve been here before, I know what I’m talking about”.
What’s so difficult about that?
Furthermore, when asked directly about the allegations, he remarks about how unprecedented they are and how, with all the legal problems involved, he’s been essentially forced into silence.
Put yourself in that position — people can say whatever they want about you and you literally cannot respond.
You can’t deny horrific allegations, you can’t try to reclaim your character, you can only smile and get through it. And media, the same media who has despised you for a decade and is actively taking one side against you, still finds a way to criticize you when you respond in the smallest.
Is this what the African-American community wants?
To cage and muzzle one of their brightest achievers?
Is that the path to success?