If you haven’t heard of the Bill Cosby scandal and the allegations that are against him, read more here on Time. I am not here to emphasize what he allegedly did, but rather give my honest opinion on the issue and shed light on some important points on each side of this case.
In the black community Bill Cosby is looked up to as Dr. Huxtable on The Cosby Show, the funny prosperous doctor raising a black family in the 1980s. Although not having growing up during that time, I could relate and still can relate to at least one of the characters on the show– as most could. The Huxtables were a household family that we all admired during its airtime and routine re-runs that the younger generation fell in love with.
Fast forward a few decades and Bill Cosby was not very present in the media, until recently when he was prepared to work on a project with NBC. Soon after this deal surfaced, several allegations spread of Cosby sexually assaulting multiple women. The responses have been both shocking and eye opening.
On one hand we have a group (mostly blacks) who grew up on The Cosby Show and Bill Cosby’s funny and warm persona has brought on some defenses. This group sees Cosby as a part of their own family– a father or grandfather. They feel mainly that the media is attacking Cosby because of the deal he was preparing to sign with NBC. I’ve read everything online from, “They don’t want the black man to prosper” to “They’re trying to tarnish his name before he dies.” Each of these responses is emotional and a very valid opinion to have, considering the injustices the black community has faced over the years. The group also raises question on, “Why now, why did the women wait so long to tell?” And I have to admit the timing that these allegations were made is too much of a coincidence not to question.
On the other hand we have a group who is pro- women’s rights and could care less about Cosby’s image, age or NBC deal. They are less concerned with the conspiracy and more about the women involved and what brought them to this point of confession and transparency. They too are entitled to their feelings, given that we fail to acknowledge the women in this case, and the siding with Cosby appears to be mainly backed up by anger, conspiracy and a childhood image crushed.
I lie somewhere in between each group. As someone who loved to tune into The Cosby Show and Kids Say the Darndest Things growing up, I have to admit that my heart was broken to hear that Cosby could be facing some time, especially toward the end of his life– his whole legacy down the drain. And why would the women speak up at this point of time in his life? Did this new claim to success with NBC suddenly spark old emotions and they couldn’t bear to see their assailant get away with such a deal?
As news set in however, I had to stop myself. I don’t know these women and out of all the women who spoke up, I’m certain at least one of them endured some suffering. I mean what if that was me or my mother, grandmother or friend? I would no longer care about The Cosby Show or childhood memory, but I’d be concerned about that loved one and how it must’ve felt to recall painful memories of sexual assault and hold it in for all of these years. Maybe that deal did ignite some resentment. But why does it matter? The courage to speak up about something that happened to you years ago rather than taking it to the grave is brave. It is said that most rape victims do not speak because they fear the very reactions that they’ve received from their confessions. However It shouldn’t matter if its Bill Cosby or the president himself. If someone violated you, there is nothing wrong with coming forward at the time you feel compelled, ready and comfortable (always encouraged to speak sooner than later). The time they decided to speak up however makes it hard to convict Cosby because of the lack of evidence present.
Now whether these women are seeking money, attention or if a few of them are even speaking the truth is a definite possibility, and I don’t doubt that a handful of them are opportunists. However we cannot control, what we cannot control. And I am a strong believer in what goes around comes around and while this is an elementary concept, these women will have to live with the divine consequences of their own deception.
We need to take into account both sides of the story. We are bias human beings, but we must also be fair. While our justice system has not always worked in the name of fairness. We cannot allow it to tarnish our perception of human compassion and the suffering of others. All this does is create more division. We must challenge ourselves in the case of Bill Cosby to make sure we are putting ourselves in the shoes of the women who may have been assaulted by Cosby as well as those who not only see Cosby as a father figure, but are angry by the perpetual double standards in the United States justice system.
by Demyah Jackson