Saturday, December 06, 2014

What to Make of Bill Cosby

I honestly do not know what to make of all the accusations being hurled at Bill Cosby by women who claim he sexually assaulted them. On the one hand, I guess I do not want to believe that it is true, as I grew up with Cliff Huxtable and the Cosby Show and his hysterical "Noah" routine from way back. I got to hear him live doing stand up comedy some years back, and I remember him meticulously stating in his routine about being a clean comedian and family values and all that. He seemed sincere about it. These accusations just seem to have materialized out of nowhere and seem to go against the very grain of everything the man has taught or portrayed in the last 30+ years.

Now, looking at it objectively, I can see how such a persona could have been the perfect cover for a perpetrator of this type. "Hey, it's Bill Cosby; Bill Cosby wouldn't be doing things like this." I guess that is why I do not want to believe it. Cosby seemed like one of the good guys that tried to stand up for descent morals in an ever increasingly out of control moral culture. I always admired black guys that could be moral exemplars for their communities, as the family unit has almost completely broken down in inner city black communities. I was reading just the other day that in New York City, there were more black babies killed by abortion (31,328) than were born there (24,758), and the black children killed comprised 42.4% of the total number of abortions, when African Americans make up a little over 25% of the population there according to the 2010 census. It is a real tragedy. So, it makes my heart heavy that Cosby, if the allegations are true, the African American community is losing one of its few shining lights of moral guidance.

Now, the charges might very well be true. I am not saying they aren't. I really don't know. But, my reservation about all this is that it is the oldest Racist trick in the book if a black man gets too rich or uppity or starts getting political ideas above his station that you start making sexual allegations. That's usually how lynchings went down, some black guy says the wrong thing to a white lady and...well, sadly, you know the ending all too often. Just do a Google image search on that if you have the stomach for it. It was quite popular to have one's picture taken with the body of the lynched black man the following day and turned into postcards you could mail to friends or whatever. It was really sick. And this was not localized to the American South, lest Yankees get too self righteous. The most heinous picture of a lynching (or just about anything) I have ever seen was from Omaha in the early 20th Century with the body still smoldering in the back ground and kids smiling. It was pure evil.

But, this sort of lynch mob mentality did not end in the 1920s. I can think of several well placed African American men who got accused of sexual misconduct, some legitimately, some not. The whole Senate campaign to take down Clarence Thomas from being affirmed as a justice on the Supreme Court comes to mind (No physical evidence was ever produced). When Herman Cain was running for the GOP nomination for president this sort of thing came up, and suddenly when he bowed out of the race, all the allegations went away overnight. He claims never to have made any settlements. But, it is not just a Republican thing. J. Edgar Hoover made allegations about having some sex tape on Martin Luther King, Jr., back in the civil rights movement when King was being suspected of being a subversive Communist sympathizer (which ironically was true in terms of his writings quoting Marx). The list goes on and on, but I can stop there.

So, old game, same tactics. I don't know why all the allegations seem to be coming out now, as Bill Cosby is getting old and not running for any political office. It seems random, so I am inclined to believe there might be some truth to the allegations, but extortion is not out of the question. I think we have to be careful not to jump to conclusions, but look at evidence (which, granted, in 40+ year old allegations is awfully hard to produce.)

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