MLK Day

I have a few short thoughts today. No 1000 word dissertations on nonsense I’ve seen:

1) Martin Luther King Jr (MLK) was a socialist
2) MLK was not a passive, color-blind reverend from the south
3) He was an activist. He made demands.
4) He spoke out against the Vietnam War. Vehemently.
5) He was assassinated by the U.S. Government.
6) He would support BLM today. I believe that.
7) He would not say “All Lives Matter”.
8) He had much more to say than “I have a dream…”
9) Quoting that small portion of his speech to use for your agenda is disingenuous and ahistorical.
10) Even if he was a soft spoken weak pacifist, all of his beliefs are not universally bestowed on all black people. He isn’t our Jesus.
11) Happy Belated Birthday to an important figure in my and our history as Americans.

“No apology, I walk with a boulder on my shoulder, it’s a Cold War – I’m a colder soldier, hold the same fight that made Martin Luther the King.”
-Common, I Have a Dream

Dr. WIlliam H . Cosby Part 2

Does the evidence defend, or condemn him?

First, the total number of women who have accused Bill Cosby is over 50. Various sites report various amounts, but it is consistently above 50. That alone is staggering. Some say it is so many, some must be lying. I agree. There’s a good chance not all of the 50+ are telling the truth, some no doubt looking to gain exposure or money from this situation. Whether that applies to 1 or 49, does it matter though? 1 rape makes a rapist. 50 makes a serial rapist. The numbers matter. But I don’t assume 49 women are lying. I will not deny their right to be heard. Some may be lying, but that is not for me to discern when the evidence is stacked against Cosby.

In seeing opinions fly across the internet, I kept seeing people reference a deposition* from 2005 when Cosby stood accused by the same Andrea Constand of sexual assault. Our courts are open to the public for a reason, things go on record for a reason. A deposition isn’t hearsay, it isn’t blind accusations. It is the exact questions and answers given by Cosby, on the stand, under oath. I’ll be blunt, this deposition was damning. In it, Cosby acknowledged getting a prescription for Quaaludes, but that he did not intend to use them for himself. He said the drugs “made him sleepy”, and that he gave them to women he intended to sleep with. He likened it to buying a drink for a woman.

Buying a drink for a woman is a normal social act, however intentionally trying to get a woman drunk so that she cannot consent, then having sex with her is rape. Cosby acknowledged that the drugs made him “sleepy”, then gave them to women he wanted to have sex with. Sleepy from drugs, of course, is not the same as sleepy from exhaustion. The women claim he would offer them medicine for a headache, or other ailment, then woke up after having been sexually assaulted, not having given consent, and even if they had they were no longer conscious. He goes on in the deposition to say he only gave Andrea Constand Benadryll, then offered to pay for grad school for her, after she said all she wanted was an apology, and the name of the drug she was given.

That is a damning circumstance, multiple women with similar stories, and Bill Cosby’s own words stating he bought drugs and gave them to women he wanted to have sex with. The stories are not verbatim, but they carry dangerous similarities. Accusations aside, the predatory nature of giving women drugs to sleep with them is very questionable.  I have yet to see Dr. Cosby defend these actions, or deny them. Until then, I cannot stand behind him. The evidence is there to support their stories. We can watch how it plays out in court, but the deposition speaks volumes for me. Cosby has done nothing to prove the accusations wrong. I hope he does, but he has not and until then, I can only make logical conclusions based on the evidence presented.

 

Who is Bill Cosby, beyond his art?

            I planned on writing more about who Bill Cosby is as a person, in my eyes. About the Pound Cake Speech and his stereotypical patriarchal views. But we have Google. I’ll leave the personal opinions of him to you. The case against Cosby is about rape, not his disagreeable conservatism.

 

However, a man standing accused of drugging women to sleep with them, admitted to buying drugs to sleep with women on record in 2005. That speaks volumes. How we interpret the information, that speaks volumes as well.

 

“Even the sun goes down, heroes eventually die, horoscopes often lie, and sometimes why, nothing is for sure, nothing is for certain, nothing lasts forever.”

-Outkast, Aquemini

 

 

 

*http://deadspin.com/here-are-the-documents-bill-cosby-didnt-want-you-to-rea-1716083975

Dr. William H. Cosby Part 1

I’ve been meaning to write this for a while, but life. Dr. William H. Cosby has been charged with aggravated indecent assault in relation to sexual assault allegations from Andrea Constand*.  These recent allegations have been a point of dissention, as many are conflicted as to whether or not they are true. Various rumors have surfaced as to why these allegations are being made now. Some argue it is to destroy Cosby’s legacy, to tear down a hero of sorts in the black community. Others say it was to stop him from making a bid to purchase NBC** and others believe he committed the crimes.

When I first heard about this, I was shocked and defensive like we all were. I loved A Different World. The Cosby Show meant a lot to many (personally, I was more of a Fresh Prince, Bernie Mac, My Wife and Kids fan in regards to black family sitcoms). However, I was asked a few tough questions in regards to why I was defending him. Why did I want him to be innocent? Did the evidence defend or condemn him? Who is Bill Cosby, aside from his art?

Think about those questions, adequately research them. The answers weren’t pretty for me.

Why do I want Bill Cosby to be innocent?

I wanted Bill Cosby to be innocent because he was the creator of so much important art, an innovator in comedy and an important figure to the generation above me. Because Dr. Cliff Huxtable was a doctor on television, and Dr. Bill Cosby was a doctor in real life, which meant I could be one too. Because Bill Cosby created a space for black people on television where previously they only made shows to mock us. It may not have all been realistic, but neither was anything else on TV, so why not get to see people who look like me (although not like my family lol) exist in a fantasy world like everybody else.

I wanted Bill Cosby to be innocent because they can’t have him. They can’t tear down another black man with accusations of being a monster, a rapist (see Kobe Bryant, Michael Jackson, etc), a narrative that has been used to do a lot of evil historically. But, historical narrative aside, sometimes black people can do evil too. Sometimes the criminal justice system is right and sometimes its wrong. I don’t believe Kobe did it, but I think (know) R. Kelly did. Michael is innocent, but OJ was not. I don’t trust the American justice system to adequately accuse and charge minorities in this country, so I don’t look to its verdicts to make my judgement. Every accusation against a black man isn’t true, but each isn’t a lie either.

His legacy is being tarnished, conviction or not he is a rapist in the minds of many to this point. He never will be to others. But his legacy does not determine whether or not his art was important and a display of Black Excellence. The art stands for itself. But the art and artist have to be separated, most of our favorite musicians, actors, artists etc. have done bad, terrible, and sometimes evil things. They’re human like us. Their art still stands.

What about the women? Why now?

In a culture like ours, where women’s sexuality is treated like it’s not rooted in their own choices, coming forward about rape is difficult. Statistics say many rapes go unreported, followed up with questions of were you drinking?” and “what were you wearing? Did you lead him on?” as we look to absolve men of sex without consent, because consent is debatable (its not, consent is very clear but our culture denies it). I have never experienced such a pain, but that doesn’t mean I can flippantly dismiss those who have. If you know anybody who is comfortable talking about a sexual assault experience, let me know because most are damaged from it, those who do speak about their experiences will cite how hard it was to acknowledge it. As we all debate and discuss why they were drinking with him if they didn’t have sexual intentions, some even calling a few of the women “un-rapeable” (ignoring the fact that rape is often about power, not physical attraction), calling these women sluts and liars and whores and all kinds of terrible things, it becomes painfully evident why they didn’t come forward before. Why it took one women to open those floodgates. If they’re being attacked and dismissed now, imagine in the 70’s and 80’s.

To be objective in this case, Bill Cosby cannot be placed on a pedestal, nor these women placed in the mud. Bill Cosby stands accused. Money and legacy aside, he stand accused. These women are his accusers, race, color and narrative aside, their experiences count. Now that both sides are addressed and have been given even playing field, let’s look at the evidence.

 

 

*As of the time I am writing this, there has been a hearing set for February 2nd to dismiss the charges due to a deal made in 2005 with the District Attorney.

**I have yet to find any documentation that this is true. If you have anything with cited sources let me know.