Pop Culture The Word 3 minute read

Cosby: Convicted. . . . Me: Conflicted.

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Sometimes I don’t want to write about certain things; even those things that I feel that I should write about.  For instance, the Bill Cosby conviction is BIG in the Black world; and what I do is write about BIG things in Black America.

Yet, I have hesitated writing about Cosby all day.  Truth is, sometimes I’m just not in the mood for getting “told” (as in told-off, read, checked).  It’s part of the gig: if you put your opinion out there, you have to be prepared for people to disagree with you (some will do it intelligently and respectfully and some will act as if you stole their last dollar from them).  Usually, I’m cool with it; but I know that the Bill Cosby conviction is a particularly sensitive topic.

It seems like there are two camps:  the people want to classify Cosby as a monster; and the people who want to classify him as a victim of a racist system.  Can’t both be true?

I am a woman.  I have thought that Bill Cosby was guilty from the beginning.  Did a few of the accuser’s stories have inconsistencies?  Maybe.  But when 60 women accuse you of rape; you are a rapist.  That he used his power (and sedatives) to victimize woman after woman disgusts me.  I am a friend and relative to many who have been sexually abused.  I have sat, with my stomach in tight knots, as victims have shared gut-wrenching stories about assaults that have caused them permanent trauma.  Bill Cosby is rightfully in jail.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Uncredited/AP/REX/Shutterstock (9894778a)
This image provided by the Montgomery County Correctional Facility shows Bill Cosby, after he was sentenced to three-to 10-years for sexual assault
Cosby mug – 25 Sep 2018

I am Black.  In the same news-cycle that I learned of Cosby’s conviction, I watched our sitting President (who himself has been accused of sexual crimes by 19 women) defend his nominee for the Supreme Court, Bret Kavanaugh, who somehow remains under consideration despite the fact that three women have accused him of sexual abuse.  I can’t help but wonder why Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, Charlie Rose, Steven Seagall, James Levine, Bill O’Reilly and countless Catholic Priests have not been similarly charged and convicted like Cosby.

I am an American.  The Cosby Show was the #1 show in America for many of my formative years.  He was, in some ways, my surrogate Dad, the man from whom I avidly listened to for advice and guidance every Thursday night.  Of course, we never truly “know” our stars.  And while I know that the real man and the character he played are two different people, I can’t help but to have some nostalgia for the Cliff Huxtable I knew.

All of these facets are part of me.  And the discordant feelings stemming from these different parts of my identity can co-exist.  All can be valid – even when in conflict.  I pray that Cosby’s conviction in some way provides some comfort to the victimized women and their wounds.  I hope that all sexual predators are indicted, prosecuted and convicted — not just the Black ones.  Justice should be served, but justice is also supposed to be blind (to race and to color).  Unless and until that day comes, my conflicted feelings will remain.

 

 

My intention is for Black people to love themselves and each other. It sounds somewhat silly, I guess; but oftentimes my people are overwhelmed with negative images, bad news, and stereotyped characters about us. I’d like to flip that script. I’d like to remind us, as often as I can, how incredible we are. Read more

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