So, since I've lighted such a flame, I figure I'll continue to pour oil on it by stating in clear language why I have absolutely no respect for Bill Cosby. I know the entire issue with him is a distraction, but I also struggle with that because I'm also aware that many Africans in particular feel that anytime an African appears to be under attack, that its a part of the conspiracy to beat us down as a people. More important than that, I'm sensitive to the suffering of women who are abused. So, for those reasons, I am putting my analysis about Cosby out there.
With all our people have endured for hundreds of years, I'm not surprised or confused about how we feel subjugated. Anyone in our shoes would feel the same. We are persecuted as a people and there is ample evidence to support that claim. The problem I have is we are not very sophisticated in how we choose to pick our martyrs. Our tendency is to focus on those who are front and center in the capitalist world i.e. people like Bill Cosby, Kobe Bryant, O.J. Simpson, Ray Rice, R. Kelly, etc. Our reasons for choosing to support these people is rooted in the fact those entertainers and athletes are constantly projected to us as leaders of our community. The foundation for that is laid out by the fact these people make us laugh, cry, and get through the day with their comedy, athletic skills, and singing/performing which speaks directly to our own specific needs. For an oppressed people, the value of this cannot be overstated. Plus, the capitalist media provides us with every aspect of their lives. How and where they live. What they eat. How they party. Then, on top of that, the same capitalist media consistently seeks them out to comment on everything from white supremacy to global warming. So, it's not surprising that we hold strong emotional ties to these people, but the fact is we don't know them and we don't know what they do when no one is looking. All we have is our emotionally created perception of them which is often so strong that it substitutes for concrete information about these people in our minds.
On that note, we look at sexual assault. As I mentioned, many people in our community believe Cosby is being "set up" for the sexual assault allegations being levied against him. In fact, I just listened to a legal commentary about Cosby on the Al Sharpton show from a criminal defense attorney who talked about the allegations against Cosby as if it was a foregone conclusion that they were false. The most shameful aspect of this is people who apparently know very little about sexual assault are talking about it in ways that are very harmful to past, current, and future survivors. I'm talking about the constant reference to the amount of time it has taken women accusing Cosby to make their allegations against him. People are suggesting that there is no good reason that women would wait that long unless the allegations were false (meaning their intention is to use the occasion to make money off of Cosby). Anyone who has experienced any type of trauma knows that it often takes a long time for the survivor to come to terms with the attack. Being the victim of several physical assaults, I can attest to this. Also, the notion that a woman who spends any volunteer time with a man at late hours is not capable of being raped is absolute ignorance. As a proud father of a daughter I'll say to any man that even if a woman comes to your place naked at 4am hollering about her desire to have sex with you, at anytime that she decides she isn't down for it, and she lets you know that, either verbally, or any other way, and you don't stop, that then becomes rape at that point. Period. Regardless of what happened up to that point or what you think happened. Period. These types of pronouncements about sexual assault expose more about the persistent anti-women sentiment in this society than anything else.
As for Cosby, some of us point to his efforts to raise money and bring awareness to the historically African Universities and colleges as proof of his commitment to African people. As someone who shelled out thousands for my daughter to graduate from Tuskegee University in Alabama, I can say that at best, Cosby's work in this area is the minimum someone in his position of influence should provide to our community, and at worst, it doesn't do anything to advance the collective condition of our people. We have hundreds of thousands of degreed African women and men, but without a collective consciousness to use their education to advance our people, what do we have to show for their degrees? So, Cosby gets no points from me for that work besides the point that even if he had paid for thousands to finish college out of his pocket, that still wouldn't mean that he isn't a rapist.
Without knowing any further facts than I do right now, I'm clear on my position on Cosby just based on what we already know. Here is a man who I saw as a hero in my youth. His participation in movies like "Uptown Saturday Night" were highly influential to me growing up in the 70s at a time when those movies were our only opportunities to see people who looked like us on the screen. I loved Bill Cosby at that time. I wasn't a fan of the 80s "Cosby Show" because I saw it as an effort to tame the African spirit away from the resistance that we need to survive and move forward in this society. The resistance that has sustained us for 500 years. Still, I watched it out of respect for him, until he came to Sacramento to speak to the African community in 1984, shortly after the show started airing. I'll never forget how he corrected an elderly African woman by admonishing her repeatedly that his show was an "American show, not an African or Black show." He then went on a tirade about how we need to stop complaining about racism and just embrace America. I left there finished with Bill Cosby on all levels and I didn't agree with anything he had to say after that. Still, I could stomach his backward views expressed about working class African people as ignorance (a lot of people share his backward views), but the fact he could claim in such a public way that we lack character as a people while he was drugging women against their knowledge (documented in his own deposition words), is the primary reason why my disrespect for him is confirmed. How dare he condemn and judge our people while he is engaging in the most unprincipled and criminal behavior against women!
Finally, I understand the role of the state and how it goes about persecuting the forces who rise up against it. People who have no knowledge or concern about what's happening to Mumia Abu Jamal or Jamil Abdullah al Amin, or Sundiata Acoli, or Assata Shakur are skipping over their persecution to trumpet the case of Bill Cosby? Those Africans are definitely being persecuted on every level by the capitalist forces that be because of their righteous resistance to capitalist oppression against our people. They join the ranks of many others from Garvey to Malcolm to Kwame Ture and Angela Davis who endured the same persecution. These are our legitimate soldiers and I refuse to let their legacies be soiled by trash like Bill Cosby who the capitalist system would never persecute. They don't persecute those who play by all their rules. And if you claim this is happening because of Cosby's business dealings and aspirations, you need a basic lesson in capitalism 101. Capitalism will open its doors to anyone who will play by it's tune e.g. Barack Obama, and the 54 presidents in Africa along with the countless African multi national businesses in Africa and throughout the African world. So, the claim that the capitalist system is framing Bill Cosby because he wants a small piece of the business pie is baseless. If you studied the Ford Foundation efforts to expand capitalism to include Africans as a way of creating an "African middle class" in the 1960s, you would know how silly those allegations are.
No, Cosby doesn't need anyone to persecute him. He proved a long time ago that he isn't interested in advancing African people and now that his character is being questioned, I've had several decades to decide that he isn't worth my time of day.