Bill Cosby: Fallen Legacy

Bill Cosby Dr Huxtable

Well, the verdict is in and Bill Cosby has been found guilty of sexual assault so, hang onto your hats, because mine is not a popular stance on the issue. You might remember that back in late 2014, I wrote about this case as women (white and black) continued to step forward with allegations against him.  I cautioned against making judgements until this case played itself out in court. While this verdict saddens me, it also infuriates me because he threw away his legacy

Bill Cosby is a genius. He’s a prolific speaker, writer, entertainer, and businessman.  The things he managed to accomplish in racist America speaks volumes to the accolades he’s achieved and the pride he’s instilled in the Black Community.  There is a great divide among blacks because Cosby has also been viewed as an elitist who is out of touch with the lives of poor people.  But the truth of the matter is this: Cosby is a predator and a rapist, and the Black community should take a breath and stop defending the indefensible.

We can continue with the “war of the memes” and go down memory lane with Dr. Huxtable, but it doesn’t erase the fact that Bill Cosby drugged and preyed on women- whether it was 10, 20, or 30 years ago is irrelevant. He violated someone’s body, mind, and sense of safety- often without them being aware of it.  He, like many rich and powerful men, attempted to cover it up.  So, let’s go through some of the reasons we use to defend Cosby and why we should stop:

  1. He admitted to giving Quaaludes to women without their knowledge.
  • Seriously, if you personally knew someone like that, would you be so quick to make excuses for them?
  1. This is punishment due to his attempt to purchase NBC.
  • I’m pretty sure we can say this is a possibility. However, that is a huge stretch of the imagination when there were at least two allegations made against him (one recorded but never published) as early as the 80s. Not only that, but NBC was worth over 4 billion dollars at the time.  Cosby was not looking to purchase NBC by himself- he needed partners/investors/loans to accomplish this. Regardless of that, when it fell through, he had the same option as Oprah: start his own network. She did it with far less capital than what he supposedly was attempting to do.
  1. Historical rape of black women by white men
  • This is the most disturbing of all the excuses. Rape is rape no matter who perpetrates it.  It’s not news that black women have been raped by white men.  We’ve been raped by black men too. I would rather see a movement to bring the Weinsteins, Trumps, Collins (Steve) of the world to justice instead of using this as a defense. Remember, he assaulted or sexually harassed black women too.
  1. “Steve Collins admitted to molesting children – not raping GROWN WHITE WOMEN” / Woody Allen got a pass because he’s white…
  • Both rape and pedophilia are heinous crimes. So… are we suggesting that Cosby gets a pass because the victims are ADULTS (and white)?? If molesting children is disgusting to an individual, then raping anyone should be just as vile and unacceptable.
  1. It’s a distraction because it directs us away from more important issues going on in the black community.
  • No, it doesn’t. Its difficult to be distracted by Cosby when we’re constantly immersed by reports of black people being killed by police, arrested in restaurants, or forced off golf courses and trains.  This man raped women – both black and white. He was found out, tried, and convicted (of one but lets face it, he got lucky).  I believe that energy should be best delegated to those other issues instead of fiercely defending a sexual predator.
  1. Some of the women lied about the rapes.
  • Yes, they did. But he also admitted securing drugs, he’s made jokes about Spanish Fly, and he settled with Constrand. His pattern of behavior has been established. Any women who lies about rape is a sick opportunist but that is still not a defense for what he’s done.  Hasn’t Trump’s pattern of behavior as a racist, liar, and sexual predator been established? Well, so has Cosby’s. The only difference between the two is that Bill Cosby had a solid reputation as a person of character and, an enduring legacy and the other one…

Here’s the thing… I’m most angry because Bill Cosby did this to himself.  Phylicia Rashad is quoted as saying “What you’re seeing is the destruction of a legacy. And I think it’s orchestrated. I don’t know why or who’s doing it, but it’s the legacy. And it’s a legacy that is so important to the culture,” she said. “This show represented America to the outside world. This was the American family. And now you’re seeing it being destroyed. Why?”  Why? Well, sadly, because he couldn’t keep it in his pants.  He’s not Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, or Philando Castille.  He wasn’t minding his own business when along came the police or ‘the system’ to ruin his life.  HE THREW IT ALL AWAY. He literally gave it away.

Bill Cosby built a legacy that should’ve produced accolades speaking highly of his laurels.  Instead, he allowed his ego to catapult him into a perverted abuse of his wealth and power.  It doesn’t matter the race of the victims because every sexual predator has a type.  People love to forget that. His type was white women and light-skinned black women who could almost pass for white.  He knew what he was doing when he made the comment about Spanish Fly just as Donald Trump knew and understood that “grabbing her by the pussy” was something to be proud of.  The look of perverted glee on Cosby’s face when he said it tells us what his mindset is.  Cosby provided his enemies with the ammunition they needed to destroy him.  He, of all people should’ve known that White America would not give him a pass. That, eventually, the bill would become due.

We keep forgetting that this is a highly educated and intelligent man- emphasis on man– prone to human errors and frailty of character. He’s not perfect – none of us are. Cosby never imagined he would ever be called out or, that it would take such a tragic turn.  But… here we are, fighting among ourselves about “them destroying him because he wanted NBC”. To be honest, I think that he stepped on the wrong toes and someone set out to get a devastating revenge.  But he still committed a crime.

Bill Cosby was once quoted as saying The lower economic people,” he said, “are not holding up their end in this deal. These people are not parenting. They are buying things for their kids — $500 sneakers for what? And won’t spend $200 for “Hooked on Phonics!”  Well, Bill Cosby, you did not hold up your end in this deal.  You allowed your misogynistic and egotistical personality to blind your judgement.  Now, at 80 years old, you have left us with a new legacy – one of sadness and anger. You allowed for the evidence and destruction of your legacy- one that was to be a beacon of endurance to our culture.  You’ve created a new space of dissension among black people – including “the lower economic people” as they argue among themselves to make sense of what you’ve done. Lastly, rape victims are being victimized because they were ashamed to come forward earlier and future victims will remember this. That is what you’ve left us.

Black people, please – let us mourn the loss of the icon he used to be and, accept the fact that he is a disappointment to the people he claimed to represent- you. There is no washing over the fact that he is a rapist and a sexual predator.  There aren’t enough news stories you can share or memes you can post (pointing out the unfairness of him not getting away with it as white men have done) to cover up what Bill Cosby has done to himself, his wife, his children, and Black Americans.

So, when you post those memes to juxtaposition the crime he’s been convicted of vs the free pass that those white celebrities have enjoyed, be honest and call it what it is.  Try this “It is unjust that Bill Cosby, a convicted rapist, was rightfully convicted for his crime while Steve Collins, a pedophile, hasn’t been charged or punished for molesting children. They both violated the safe space of people and should both be punished.”  Say that. But let’s stop trying to rehabilitate Cosby’s image.  He put it in a shredder. It’s gone. That, is the biggest and most painful tragedy that we must comprehend.

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