No one wants to admit that someone they love and admire is possibly a monster.
Especially not “America’s Dad,” a title that Bill Cosby has held for many years after he rising to cultural icon status portraying Dr. Healthcliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show. Cliff may have been fictional, but the social mores of right and wrong he represented bled into the fabric of everyday life, and not just for African-Americans. The Cosby’s had crossover appeal, a trait that was upheld by its patriarch. Cosby’s moral authority just might’ve created a Jedi mind trick in which many of us became bots. How else do you explain that it’s only now that the sexual allegations that have haunted Cosby are now returning to the public sphere with a vengeance?
As recent as 2005, Cosby stood accused of molesting Andrea Constand. Another woman also came forward to allege that Cosby similarly drugged and raped her but charges weren’t filed. The prosecutor has now gone on record stating that he felt Cosby did something “inappropriate”, but the matter of Cosby’s guilt and professed innocence again faded from the headlines as settlements were reached. The dynamics of race, class and gender were assigned to others such as R. Kelly and Chris who were caught red handed with their flavors of pound cake.
16 women alleging that Cosby violated their bodies could not put a dent in his Teflon armor. Not until a man, Hannibal Buress, called him out for being a rapist. The clip went viral, and social media did what the mainstream media couldn’t before 140 characters: put enough dents in the armor of Cosby to where it could openly be discussed if Cosby was mixing pudding with roofies.
Still, there’s a strain of resistance. Ever since Cosby’s infamous “Pound Cake” speech in May 2004 at an event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, it’s been a long held belief that Cosby was a marked man. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that a lot of folks are savoring the sweet satisfaction of the anointed one crashing back down to earth; it’s now his dirty laundry being aired out after he’s lectured for years that Blacks are complicit in their own destruction because some of us like rap, give our kids unusual names and don’t pull up our sagging pants. In other words, not enough of us were wading deep enough in the respectability waters despite the fact that in the 1950’s, those who fought for civil rights were articulated and dressed in perfect form, but were still spat upon and hosed down, but I digress. He painted the majority of Blacks with one broad brush, discounting that many of us have defied stereotypes and were raised in loving homes that promoted excellence. We weren’t all headed to jail and bathed in dysfunction and looking for excuses to justify our less than stellar existences. Michael Eric Dyson addressed his screeds.
However, the pushback wasn’t enough and this current circular firing squad is a conspiratorial payback in the minds of his supporters. We’re now getting our pound of flesh through these rehashed rumors and crimes he has repeatedly denied. All of the women who are now coming forward are being questioned. Cosby is feeling the heat and they’re suffering the residual burns. “Why did she wait so long to say something? Show me the receipts. Show them to me. Do you know? Do you know, Diane?” the skeptics insist. Don Lemon even asked one of Cosby’s accusers why she didn’t just shut the whole rape thing down, placing the responsibility on the alleged victim rather than the accused rapist by declaring that “there are ways not to perform oral sex if you don’t want do it.”
Well, just maybe, there are more folks who believe in unicorns than rape victims. I’m quite sure green men wouldn’t automatically be branded liars. Janice Dickinson is the latest person the chopper is spraying, because she told Entertainment Tonight in an interview broadcast on November 18, that Cosby assaulted her in 1982. The former supermodel is accused of being a “has been,” and an “attention whore” and that her money must be running low. Amnesia is common when it comes to our favorites but Janice has been telling the same story for years. Cosby’s lawyers prevented her from including this allegation in her 2002 memoir, No Lifeguard on Duty: The Accidental Life of the World’s First Supermodel. As for the other women who are now saying “Me too” according to the cynics, I blamed myself for my own assault. I blocked it out and just wanted to go on with my life. I’m still trying to find peace with the fact that I didn’t tell my family until I was 19 that my cousin and family friends molested me. I haven’t gone to the courts or sought retribution in other ways. The only closure I can ever have is acknowledging what happened. It’s not always easy to speak the truth to yourself, much less a world that idolizes your attacker. But a delay in doing so is not an admission of lying.
If you spare the rod, you spoil the child. It could be argued that Cosby was just being America’s dad in recent years, showing tough love to a generation gone astray by taking the belt to us. But let’s not assume that his current scandal is just merely a taste for his blood. He just may have been the one to inflict this gaping wound in his character and the scabs can no longer be ignored. Cosby is no longer different from the others he put out there on front street and just may be worse.