By Lavern Merriweather
I have to admit. I’m very conflicted about this whole Bill Cosby rape scandal. I, like a number of black people, grew up watching and enjoying his groundbreaking smash comedy “The Cosby Show” in the 80’s. I also remember fondly sitting in front of the TV every Saturday morning for “Fat Albert”. However, I can’t get pass the ugly and expanding list of women that are accusing him of being a rapist.
Those who were pissed off at Mr. Cosby for his inflammatory words about poor people at a charity dinner are now probably gloating. They will say “I told you so” and claim that it’s always the ones who are first to criticize others that have the biggest skeletons in their closet. I don’t know if that’s true, and I don’t find fault with those people either. Bill brought a lot of this negativity on himself with his haughty, arrogant and judgmental comments. Although I did, and still do, agree with him about taking some accountability for your actions, I refuse to get past many of his inconsistencies.
When Mr. Cosby had to face critics of his own like noted activist and author Michael Eric Dyson instead of defending what he spoke, he backtracked. Cosby said that he didn’t want it to seem that he was letting white people off the hook. Come again?
White people had nothing to do with his angry rant, and he said as much. Then he tries to play the CYA game by saying that he meant all poor people and not just black folks. Well, that’s interesting considering that black people were the only ones he mentioned. If his feelings and ideals weren’t worth him defending, then I sure as hell ain’t going to protect them, especially not now that these allegations are gaining steam and women are coming out left and right.
Of course, there are some black people who still believe in Mr. Cosby and have attacked these women for coming forward now. Some are saying that they should have spoken up years ago, particularly the 63 year-old woman who is in jail and claims that Cosby raped her four decades ago when she was just 19. This is the part where I am having the most trouble. Regardless of what you think about Mr. Cosby, this is still America. And I find it impossible to believe that a black man, even one that is rich and famous, could get away with raping a young white woman 44 years ago. A black man that is a celebrity in this day and age can’t expect that their celebrity would prevent them from facing either scrutiny or prosecution.
I also have a major problem with the way this story is being handled by a very racially biased media. Any time the accused is a black male, the word accuser is treated with the utmost respect. The accuser gets the complete benefit of the doubt and her credibility, no matter how shaky it is, never called into question. Think about for a minute how that scenario is played out when the accused is a white male. When the accused is white, it’s the absolute opposite. Her reputation is immediately dragged through the mud and every last little detail of her personal life is put on display in an attempt to discredit her. She is judged harshly with very few people wondering if she just might actually be telling the truth. No, she is forever out to make a quick buck. A concept that has yet to be entertained in the case against Bill Cosby. I guess being rich and black means that nobody wants to ever take monetary advantage of your troubles.
Granted, I can to some extent understand why a lot of black people are using this as a chance to point fingers, because they are apt to hold grudges for what Cosby said at the fundraiser dinner. Yet, I would remind those people that whatever your feelings about him, don’t forget the double standards of arrogance that continue to linger anytime there is a salacious scandal involving a black man, even if the man in this situation is somebody that rub a bunch of people the wrong way with his scathing commentary on the less fortunate.
Trust me when I say that white folks in the media and public hurrying to persecute him don’t give a rat’s ass about the issue of rape. This is nothing more than yet another opportunity to act self-righteous by proclaiming how horrible and wicked them evil Negroes is. Never mind the many times that white males have been accused of rape particularly against minors [cough Stephen Collins cough]. However, the main problem I have with what he said was about black people and the police that appears very fitting at the moment. One could easily say that his comments about police being justified in shooting and thus killing a black person, because they were running down the street with a loaf of bread or pound cake are currently coming back to haunt him. He was so quick to vilify the black folks in a much dire financial predicament than himself.
Don’t forget this is the same man that for decades has flat out refused to get involved in the debate on race in America. While other famous, well known black men like Dick Gregory, Harry Belafonte and Paul Robeson were taking up the cause of civil rights, Cosby stayed far away from the fight. So, for those that wonder why it is that these women are coming forward only now, I would say what the hell took him so long to make a statement on the state of black folks’ lives in the USA. And when he finally did get around to saying something, it was just to look down his nose on others he considered beneath him. Anybody that didn’t hear an inferiority/superiority complex in what he spoke is either crazy or going deaf.
The great and spectacular intellectualist Tariq Naheed made some very fitting comments about what is happening to Cosby. Mr. Naheed pointed out and rightfully so that when Cosby chastised the white Osbourne family the media rushed to get their opinion on what he said. I certainly don’t recall white people praising his ‘honesty’ or thanking him for telling it like it is while complaining about his detractors and telling them to back off. Then, he was a mouthy Negro that didn’t know his place by talking shit about some rich white folks, something that is a big fat no-no in America. He had his n**ger moment then, and he is definitely having one now. Turns out throwing other black folks under the bus to save his own skin wasn’t the guarantee that he thought it would be to keep them from attacking him. Perhaps offering them a couple of free cases of Jell-O pudding pops will do the trick.