Black Folks -- Let go of Bill Cosby.
Let him die in shame.
This blog is my outlet for the world. I don’t really have a theme although I know I don’t want to focus too much on dark topics like I will do today. A warning in advance that the subject matter is grim.
Bill Cosby has been convicted in a civil trial of sexually assaulting a minor in the 1970s. Since it’s a civil matter and he has evaded justice on his criminal case, he will likely not face any real consequences. The woman involved is one of the dozens who has come forward about his prolific sexual assault. It’s sad that their testimonies aren’t enough but beyond them, there are many witnesses who say that Cosby prolifically abused women. Cosby himself admitted this abuse himself. While the overall consensus now is that Cosby is done, according to some YouGov polls a little over half of Black Americans still believe that Cosby is innocent or rather he shouldn’t be convicted. I keep a Facebook account with only people from my small town in Michigan. While this isn’t hard data, I know plenty of people who still scream and shout about Cosby being innocent. (insert stereotypical group) just didn’t want him to buy NBC(among other conspiracy theories).
What the actual fuck.
The sad part is, that this isn’t that shocking. Cosby is not alone. Like R. Kelly, Michael Jackson, and OJ Simpson, he’s a part of a small class of powerful Black men who use wealth and fame to harm those around them. When caught, they weaponize the legacy of racism. Before his abuses were exposed, Cosby was infamous for his Pound Cake speech. A rant where he blamed single Black mothers and their naming choices, for the state of poverty (amongst other things). Even though I was a kid, I remember a good majority of working-class folks finding him elitist. Only a few decades later he and his legal team evoke the imagery of Black men’s lynchings to his rapes being exposed. And a portion of the Black community stands behind him.
It’s true – America has a historic and systemic legacy of oppressing Black people. This oppression is seen in our prisons, schools, and shelters. Every time I pass a Black man on the streets of San Francisco without anyone to care for him I meet eyes with him and wonder how many people failed him. It’s important that we humanize Black men. However, a part of humanization is holding them accountable when/if they cause harm.
This isn’t just about celebrity gossip. Black women and girls are regularly told to stay quiet about instances of abuse in our community in order to maintain harmony. Every single time at graduations, cookouts, and baby showers that we hear Aunties yell R Kelly’s or Cosby’s innocence – we know it means that we too should just be quiet.