Nina Ruff offers further commentary regarding rape allegations against actor, comedian Bill Cosby.
(Editor’s Note: The views in this editorial do not necessarily represent the views and beliefs of the The Hive Society, Inc.)
Quietly, many of us have been mulling over all that we’ve been hearing and reading about Bill Cosby’s rape allegations over the last few months. We may bring it up in our smaller circles and let “what ifs” creep into our minds concerning the truth in these allegations. What looks like the truth is shocking. In response to an article I posted about his then thirteen allegations (now 15), I was asked what I thought about them. The reality is, we’re only just now talking about something Cosby’s victims & others have been talking about for decades. A comedy bit from a Hannibal Buress show seemed to be the catalyst that really launched us into having real conversations about what these allegations, & Cosby’s silence, mean.
I haven’t always agreed with Bill as he’s become more vocal about his respectability point of view concerning racism and whatnot, so it’s been an intentional thing for me to separate his personal views from his “TV’s greatest dad” image I had grown to love. As far as the rape allegations, I think I read about them for the first time over the summer/earlier this year. I didn’t want to believe them, obviously. But then I kept seeing articles about it with victim accounts and more information started coming to the surface. I’ve seen information talking about 15 accusers, and I don’t think that’s a fluke or a conspiracy. So it’s tough to come to grips with the (most likely) fact that the producer/creator of shows that absolutely changed my life, like The Cosby Show & A Different World, is a rapist. It’s hard to face these multiple accounts of him drugging women, some of whom had grown to trust him as a mentor.
It’s easier to kind of wave him away as your old uncle when he launches into his rants in favor of respectability politics– the “pull your pants & this, that & the other won’t happen” bit. I can somewhat consolidate those thoughts & opinions to the generation he comes from— a lot of our parents and grandparents come from that school as well. Even though he lived through the times before and after the Civil Rights Movement, when “decently dressed” men and women of all ages were attacked, murdered, hanged, etc., it’s not uncommon for folks his age to hold these same opinions. Unfortunately, that’s typical from many Blacks in his age bracket.
But there are too many accusations against him on this one, in addition to the above clip from 1969– a disgusting bit on date rape. I find it hard to believe 15 women got together and conspired against Bill Cosby, especially after listening to that clip. As I comb the internet, and more women come to the surface, reports of his many out-of-court settlements come up for air too. People that worked closely with him come up for air as well. What’s just as unsettling is the fact that what’s taking women decades to seek justice for was made more believable coming from a man (through no fault of his own). It becomes increasingly difficult to act like Bill Cosby is still “America’s Dad,” and hopefully there will be some kind of relief for his victims even in exposing Bill Cosby for the creep that he is and has been.
But this definitely needs to be talked about. It’s hard to see a “hero” that created a relatable space for “middle class” Blacks that encouraged career longevity & college & family time & fun, fall or be revealed. As hard is that is, however, for me it would be made worse if we didn’t stand with these women who are finally being given some space to be heard and believed.
The bottom line is, we can’t keep letting people slide with vile things just because they do other things really well (see R. Kelly). So I think now’s a good a time as ever to 1) show rape victims we believe them and 2) hold our community figures responsible for their actions. With everything going on socially, it’s imperative that we take these moments to be good & do what’s right.
Our pillars don’t get immunity. If these are the facts, then we have to face them. Period. Or else, what kind of people are we?