I read this article – http://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/bill-cosby-dilemma-black-men-n286181 – about the allegations against Bill Cosby and how it’s supposedly affecting Black men and all I can do is shake my head over the matter because, unless I woke up this morning in another country, he – like anyone else suspected of a crime – is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law… not the court of public opinion and certainly not by this country’s press.
I grew up listening to Bill Cosby who, at least to me, ranks right up there with the greatest comedians of all time; his ability to take everyday kind of things and make you laugh so hard you might have to change your underwear – and without being vulgar about it – makes him a special kind of storyteller. That he turned out to be very outspoken on a few hot-button topics regarding Blacks, admittedly, didn’t make him a lot of friends… and now there are women coming out of the woodwork accusing him of date rape and sexual abuse… but no charges have been filed, he hasn’t been arrested in connection with any of these allegations, and he hasn’t had his day in court before a jury of his peers.
In the court of public opinion, driven by the media’s penchant for glorifying celebrities one moment and vilifying them two breaths later, says that because Bill refuses to say anything about these allegations, well, he must be guilty. Now, as a Black man, does this situation create a dilemma for me? No, not really because for one, I’m not surprised that yet another celebrities is being accused of some sexual wrongdoings – and we know the media just eats this kind of stuff like the finest caviar – and, for the other, what you suspect is one thing… but what you can prove in court is something entirely different. His media silence on the allegations doesn’t cause me any difficulties as a Black man and one who still thinks he’s one of the funniest people who has ever lived; I’m not saying he did the things he’s being accused of nor am I saying that he didn’t do them and, as such, I don’t blame him for not speaking about these things because if he comes out and refutes the allegations, then he’s a liar… and I’m fairly sure his lawyers have advised him to not say a damned thing about this because anything he does say isn’t exactly going to help him and especially if and when he’s arrested and charged with a crime.
That there have been celebrities whose sexual behaviors have been exposed to the public isn’t surprising; I read today that a linebacker for the Indianapolis Colts got arrested for rape today (or maybe yesterday – I didn’t read the whole thing). Athletes, politicians, and entertainment stars have all been exposed for their exploits, some have had their day in court, some haven’t; some have been found innocent of their alleged crimes, some have been found guilty. That we, as a society, need to do something about shit like this is evident… but that’s why we have courts of law. Yes, yes, I know; history has also shown that if you have a shit load of money and the best lawyers money can buy, justice, as we understand it, isn’t always served… but not everyone manages to dodge the pursuit of justice, either.
Arrest the man; charge him with whatever crimes he’s being accused of; let him have his day in court and let the system do what it was designed to do. It makes me wonder if all the publicity surrounding this would allow Bill to have a fair trial anywhere but that’s not for me or the media to decide. Innocent until proven guilty is one of the principles of our society… but so is guilty until proven innocent, it seems…