I really wanted my first blog posting of 2016 to be something positive and inspiring. But this is an issue I really can't ignore. It's all over the news and I'm hearing some immensely disturbing things.
Since Bill Cosby's formal arrest on December 30 many people have gone well out of their way to defend him. They have used all manner of terrible excuses and some of the defenses used have be outright cringe worthy. I've heard writers, bloggers, entertainers, and every day brothers and sisters give sad and terrible commentary. I've heard people who seem to lack basic common sense offer outlandish reasons why Cosby might be innocent. To say I am disappointed, particularly in my people, is a massive understatement. I'm convinced people have no idea how they sound and it's time to break this down and lay it flat. So let's begin with shutting down some of the bullshit I continue to hear....
1. Why Did The Women Wait So Long?
This is the most popular and most frequent defense used. It's also the most basic and most ignorant. To ask this question is not only insulting to victims of rape and sexual assault but it also clearly displays an almost unforgivable level of ignorance. When people ask why did the women wait so long I always answer "Because of you". Naturally they act shocked and surprised, and ask me how they could possibly be responsible. I point out that along with the feelings of shame, pain, hurt, and even guilt, rape victims must also deal with a judgmental society who often makes them complicit in their own rape. Rape victims must often deal with the humiliation of being called liars, opportunists, gold diggers, whores, and other colorful dehumanizing adjectives. Couple that with the fact that rapists often get away with their crimes and it should come as no surprise why many rape victims are fearful to come forward. Oh and just for the record, many of Cosby's accusers DIDN'T wait to come forward. Cosby has been accused of rape for decades.
2. Why were They Drinking and Partying With Him?
This defense makes absolutely no sense. According to Cosby apologists, the fact that some of these women may have wanted to drink, party, and use recreational drugs meant they deserved to be raped. Or wanted to be raped. I've actually heard people use the nefarious "they wanted it" excuse(which is quite frankly disgusting) many times. You see in the minds of Cosby apologists, wanting to party and wanting to be raped are one and the same. Wanting to have a drink or a smoke and wanting to be raped are one and the same. Wanting to engage in CONSENSUAL sex and wanting to be raped are one and the same. Many low key rapists are unwittingly out themselves with this one.
3. This is a Conspiracy to Bring Cosby Down Because He Planned to Buy NBC
This defense is so absurd it barely merits attention. NBC Universal is worth somewhere between 23 and 32 billion dollars with an operating income of 4 billion dollars. Bill Cosby is worth 400 million dollars. Now I know math is hard but there is no way Cosby could possibly buy NBC Universal or the NBC Network. People based this nonsensical myth on a 23 year old story where Cosby along with a HALF DOZEN OTHER INVESTORS attempted to buy NBC in the early 90s. GE refused and that was that. There is no truth to this conspiracy. It's complete and utter nonsense.
4. They Are Attacking the Legacy of A Strong Black Man
This one bothers me. It bothers me because for the last two decades Bill Cosby has been shaming, belittling, and talking down to us as Black people. Cosby has been pummeling us with respectability politics and looking down his nose at us for a long time. Cosby has long abandoned his Pro-Black stance and has long embraced the kind of shaming and victim blaming that has stifled the upward mobility of Black people. On more than one occasion he has blamed US for our struggles in society and has been dismissive of important racial and social issues. He does not stand with us. In his own words:
"Looking at the incarcerated, these are not political criminals. These are people going around stealing Coca-Cola. People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake! And then we all run out and are outraged, 'The cops shouldn't have shot him.' What the hell was he doing with the pound cake in his hand?"
"Are you not paying attention, people with their hat on backwards, pants down around the crack. Isn’t that a sign of something, or are you waiting for Jesus to pull his pants up (laughter and clapping ). Isn’t it a sign of something when she’s got her dress all the way up to the crack…and got all kinds of needles and things going through her body. We are not Africans. With names like Shaniqua, Shaligua, Mohammed and all that crap and all of them are in jail"
-His words. Not mine. Why would racist whites want to bring him down? Here was a prominent Black icon shaming and degrading struggling brothers and sisters. He was saying exactly what they wanted him to say.
5. Cosby's No Different than Any Other Hollywood Actor
I'm not even sure how this is a defense. If your defense of Cosby is "Well look at Charlie Sheen, Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, etc" then you HAVE to know you're out of gas with no leg to stand on. If the best you can do to defend Cosby is compare him to other rapists, pedophiles, and drug users then you've got nothing.
At the end of the day we need to examine these and other terrible defenses of Bill Cosby and understand that this it is a part of a much bigger societal problem. Rape culture is real. Cosby and his apologists and defenders are living proof of this. We have a long way to go brothers and sisters. A very long way. Where we are right now is immensely troubling. What does it say about us when we will go so far out of our way to defend an obvious serial rapist?
Thank you for Reading
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