At this point, I am certain that most readers of this blog have heard of Monday’s revelations of Bill Cosby admitting that he obtained Quaaludes to give to women he wanted to have sex with. Now, as the fall out continues, and businesses and individuals who backed him are pulling away, we have damning confirmation that points to a pattern of behavior.
The first thing I must say, is that it is tragic that it took this much for people to truly believe the allegations. Apparently, the word of about 40 women was not enough. Imagine how that must feel, to have your accounts thoroughly dismissed as part of a “conspiracy” to “tear a Black man down” The silencing that comes along with the tacit support of rape culture finds many ways to marginalize its victims. A false notion of racial solidarity in this case, is one of them.
Given that Cosby has made a second career of publicly bashing the Black working class with his pound cake harangues, he set himself up as the face of respectability politics. He even went so far as to co-author a book with psychiatrist Alvin Poussaint to drive the point home. While his credibility is shot, one of the unfortunate things is that these sort of notions will find new spokespeople. It must, since respectability politics is a key ideological component that justifies Black oppression in this country. It will probably prefer a cacophony of voices, rather than a sole figure, given this will lend the notion more legitimacy. Others will pick up the mantle, despite this flawed ideology. But, facile arguments in service of power should have no lasting suasion over critically thinking people.
I turn my attention to those who went at me for going after Cosby strictly on his politics. Those who have deemed me a “statist”, and a person blind to individual responsibility. It’s deep when you get hate emails from white conservatives for taking a Black man to task for his respectability politics. What do you have to say now? There are people that tie themselves into knots and make all sorts of justifications defending the wealthy and well off. I just wish many of us would ride as hard for those of us who are the most vulnerable. It is unwise to defend people who would not defend you. We spend way too much energy genuflecting to celebrities.
This post may give the impression that I am rubbing it in, or being petty. At the risk of seeming so, I still opt to put this up. In addressing Bill Cosby, I was accused of having a “personal vendetta” against him. This is yet another way of silencing people. Try again.
One last point. For those of you who are raising the “distraction” thing, come on son. The reason we found out about this now, is because Cosby’s lawyers lost the battle against the Associated Press to keep this information sealed. Long money protects people. It is possible to think and write about this situation, and the rejection of austerity in Greece, and the rebuilding of Black churches with the help of those of Islamic faith. Don’t assume that everyone has limited faculties.