Remembering Where Cliff Huxtable Ends, And Bill Cosby Begins » VSB

Pop Culture, Race & Politics

Remembering Where Cliff Huxtable Ends, And Bill Cosby Begins

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Some time around high school, I realized that I’ve never liked anyone who tried to make me like them. Someone who is so insistent that they’re likeable that it gets heavy handed and inauthentic and tactical. The type of person who turns on you when they realize you’re not buying into their bullshit.

Some time around college is when I started to feel this way about Bill Cosby.

We all love(d) The Cosby Show and there have been lots of #CosbyThinkPieces written that elucidate how important the sitcom was in terms of getting Black faces on prime time and helping White folks feel more at ease. Ain’t a brown skinned girl alive who hasn’t had someone tell her she looks like Rudy in her baby pictures. And the entire Urban Outfitters franchise and the pilgrims of urban music summer festivals are forever indebted to the iconography of Lisa Bonet, the original blipster.

But there’s something weird about Bill Cosby and his commitment to perfection, his scripting of the perfect family, the way he proudly wears the insignia of academic distinction during commencement ceremonies and on his collegiate sweats. Cosby, a child of Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood, criticizes working poor Black Americans, and says little of his own history as a college drop out and diploma-equivalency student – albeit a talented one.

Talent has been the saving grace of many a man who fell short. See also: Woody Allen, Robert Sylvester Kelly and Kobe Bryant, just to name a few. There is a simple system of checks and balances we make as a culture: The human sin can be overlooked if the art he creates is God’s work.

For many of us, it’s hard to see where Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable ends and Cosby begins, despite how accessible the sordid details of his sexual improprieties have been throughout his career. Whether or not you believe the latest in the series of sex-related scandals (including the $100,000 in hush money he paid to Shawn Upshaw to keep their affair under wraps), there’s something disturbing about his need to be perfect – and for all of us to be respectable, too.

It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable and William H. Cosby are not one in the same; the Cosby brand has grown almost entirely around the idea of responsibility pragmatism, and fatherhood. It’s not so much that sex corrupts or endangers him – greater legacies have been squandered for less – but its lurid, and often criminal nature according to the complaints against him. A closer reading reveals that it’s not so much that Cosby is infallible, it’s that he uses his money and influence to hide his real problems.

Cosby’s got an issue with mess. Especially the kind you can see.

In the last 10 years, Cosby’s legacy as a race-man has been fluxed with a more staunch conservatism that has been joked about as a type of senior moment senility that makes it easy to forget how complicated Cosby really is. With reports for Cosby to come back to NBC, it’s worth thinking more about the man known as America’s Dad and the allegations against him, even if the picture isn’t a perfect one.

Maya Francis

Maya K. Francis is a culture writer and communications strategy consultant. When not holding down the Black Girl Beat for VSB, she is a weekly columnist for Philadelphia Magazine's "The Philly Post" and contributes to other digital publications including xoJane, Esquire, and EBONY.com. Sometimes TV and radio producers are crazy enough to let her talk on-air, and she helped write a book once. She cites her mother and Whitley Gilbert as inspirations.

  • Fivegirl

    But can you really separate the man from the art in good conscience? That is arguably what people were doing when Woody Allen won that achievement award, but I was joining the masses with my virtual pitchfork about how unfair it was to support someone like that when we know he really is a horrible person. It felt like celebrating his achievements was saying that his sins did not matter. And now I have to confront the reality that when the content is something I cherish and enjoy, I become like those same people I was judging last month.

    I can easily say that I look at Bill Cosby and Cliff Huxtable as two separate entities, but I would be lying. The show was called “The Cosby Show” not “The Huxtables” or “The Huxtable Show”. Whether consciously or subconsciously, we all look at Cliff and Bill as part and parcel, and I really struggle with what that means for me as a fan of the show. I honestly did not know of any of these allegations until a couple weeks ago, but it really rocked my brain and I Still don’t know what to make of it without feeling like a hypocrite.

    • Ironically, the same people who went after Woody Allen over his issue had no problem with defending R. Kelly at all costs. Not saying they did the same things, but a person who gets to define what is reprehensible behavior does so on the basis of how much they like the celebrity.

    • esa

      ~ It felt like celebrating his achievements was saying that his sins did not matter.

      in a capitalist society, achievements = profit. certain sins are profitable, but only when they support the agenda of the prison industrial complex, ie. legalized slavery as written clearly in the 13th Amendment.

      • Personally, I’d rather cash than social approval for my achievements. At least I can protect the former. The latter can disappear at whim.

        • esa

          the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, passed under Obama, ensures any American citizen can be disappeared, achievements notwithstanding.

          • But notice that is fundamentally about social approval. :) And yet somehow the libertarian movement is stereotyped as extreme and cruel. Say what you will (and keeping it real, plenty can be said), but the libertarians have the sense to be against dumb ish like that. :)

            • Epsilonicus

              Libertarians have other issues. While I know you hate appealing to morals and etc, libertarianism can come off as very socially Darwinistic, which unhinges people based on past experience.

  • My problem with Bill Cosby is a case of the messenger as opposed to the message. I had no problem with the things he said, but it was the motive and intent that bothered me. You see, I was getting the feeling that he was a person that didn’t practice what he preached. In other words, he was operating like he was a man of the cloth without actually being one.

    My primary issue with him trying to be the morality police is the things he criticized others about he didn’t do in his personal life. When he was openly outspoken about the problems facing the Black community a while back, it seemed like he was having a guilty conscience. He critiqued Black men for having children out of wedlock and sleeping around while still being in a committed relationship, yet he did and was doing the same thing.

    He was harsh about Black men not taking education seriously, but it was well-known that he was a high school dropout who got no farther than the tenth grade. And when he finally did go to college, all of his studies were centered around sports and athletics- this from the same guy who made it known about his dislike for young Black men to focus on sports and entertainment rather than academics.

    He was also the same guy who hated Black people who blamed the White man for anything, but had no problem supporting his wife when she all but blamed their son’s carjacking on White supremacy. I respect him as a legend and a pioneer in television, but I cannot get behind him for everything else. What’s even worse is that he’s blind to his own hypocrisy.

    • Freebird

      excellent comment and spot on.

    • weethomas

      So, if after living my life and screwing up, I have a better sense of what not to do, I should keep my mouth shut? That makes me a hypocrite? If that’s the case, nobody should be giving advice.

      • Val

        If that is the case it would seem that the advice should also include compassion and empathy. Two things which Cosby’s message seriously lacks.

        • esa

          people tend to react viscerally against the most despised qualities they already possess. it takes a very honest person to have compassion for their own sins, let alone someone else’s ..

        • Obsidian Files

          Ms. Val:
          Hmm…does your own “compassion” and “empathy” include living among those whom Mr. Cosby referenced in his now (in)famous “Poundcake Speech”? Because by all accounts, Bougie Black folks like you do NOT live where such other Black folk live.

          “Compassion” and “Empathy” from a distance – hmm?

          O.

          • Val

            Straw-man argument.

            • Obsidian Files

              @Ms. Val:
              LOL – yea, I thought so. So quick are we to rise up in pseudo righteous indignation at Mr. Cosby (all the while proclaiming a “Only God can judge me” line of unreason), but when the searing light of truth comes calling at our own footsteps, then al of a sudden such questions are “straw men”. Thank you for reminding me of just how and why so many of your ilk are so utterly vapid.

              :)

              O.

              • Val

                One doesn’t have to starve to understand how it feels to starve. Saying middle class Black folks have to live with poor Black folks to understand their situation is just a case of you really having nothing to say but saying something anyway.

                • Obsidian Files

                  @Ms. Val:
                  LOL – yup, keep right on digging a bigger and deeper hole for yourself. See, it’s very easy to wax eloquent about “compassion” and “empathy” WHEN YOUR BUTT AIN’T IN THE LINE OF FIRE – and Black Flight has been going for a good long minute now. And for good reason – because of precisely the things Cosby said in his Poundcake Speech. Bougies like you mouth all the platitudes, but when push comes to shove, they get the heck outta Dodge with the quickness – leaving their lessers to have to deal with the things Cosby talked about.

                  Like I said – thanks for being the gift that keeps right on giving..

                  O.

                  • John Shannon

                    That’s a bit harsh, O. Being a “sell out” isn’t the same as Being Born Better Off in the 1st Place. At ONE Point there were SOME ppl that were born Struggling; it’s when they Diss those Left Behind that makes them a Sellout, like Clarence Thomas and others. I get what Val was saying- when you never Been Well Off or Rich or Wealthy, trying to tell folks what they Should do comes off as Whining or “entitled” like some GOP like to say

                    • Val

                      Thing is, John, it really didn’t matter what I said, he would have disagreed with it and then claimed victory. He doesn’t know how to have a conversation. He’s just trying to get a win in his own mind.

                    • Val

                      Thing is, John, it really didn’t matter what I said, he would have disagreed with it and then claimed victory. He doesn’t know how to have a conversation. He’s just trying to get a win in his own mind.

                    • Obsidian Files

                      @Ms. Val:
                      Oh, please get over yourself. Don’t get mad at me becausse I caught you coldbusted. Like I said, and I maintain: it is very easy to wax eloquent about “compassion” and “empathy” WHEN YOUR BUTT AIN’T ON THE LINE. There’s a reason why Black folk like you head for the Oak Parks (right outside of Chitown) of the world and don’t want to reside in the West Sides of the world, and you know it, and that was what Cosby, who grew up in places like Richard Allen projects(!) and went to public schools in Philly, was talking about.

                      But, oh yea, “quality of life for me, but not for thee…”

                      Keep it up, Ms. Val…I got your number!

                      O.

                    • John Shannon

                      1) Clever on the Women’s Value Diss- That was a Low Blow, but it was Clever nonetheless
                      2) Seriously, Obsidian tends to speak Broad and not with laser-focused points. I get what he is talking about as well.
                      Eugene Robinson’s Disintegration is a book everyone should read because Cosby is a focal person referenced in it

                    • Val

                      “Clever on the Women’s Value Diss- That was a Low Blow, but it was Clever nonetheless”

                      Huh?

                    • Obsidian Files

                      @John:
                      If I’ve referenced Robinson’s “Disintegration” in this very forum a dozen times, I’ve referenced it a hundred, and indeed, many of the points he raises is right in line with what Cosby was talking about – and his section on “the Abandoned” goes right to the points I’m making with regard to the likes of Ms. Val.

                      Nor is my writing “broad and not with laser-focused points”; indeed, my writing is quite pointed, often to a fault. There was nothing amorphous or vague about what I’ve said in today’s discussion about Cosby; indeed, if anything, it’s others, the guest lady blogger included, who seems enamoured with this exercise in Obtuseness.

                      As for Ms. Val herself – she’s a “Who? Whom?” Woman, not a fact-finding, truth-seeking Woman – and it shows…

                      O.

                    • Obsidian Files

                      @John:
                      Actually, since we’re talking about who is and who is not a “sellout”, it woould behoove those so inclined to checkout Randall Kennedy’s book of the same name; my views on the matter mirror his own.

                      I did not accuse anyone here of being a “sellout” – what I am doing is applying the same yardstick to those who wish to apply it to Mr. Cosby, to themselves; and in so doing, we see that quite a few come up short as well. Perhaps there is something to be learned in this, hmm?

                      Nor do I accept the argument Ms. Val is proferring, per your interpretation (which she seems to endorse) – the notion that one has to “be” thus and so (or not, as it were) before one’s observations can be weighed on their own merits. That’s a “Who, Whom?” argument; not a logical one; it is a “feelings” argument, not a search-for-truth one.

                      I am for the latter, no matter where it comes from, no matter who says it, no matter the circumstances; the Truth, Uber Alles.

                      Period.

                      What, say you?

                      O.

                  • Epsilonicus

                    1. I think it is perfectly fine that someone does not want to live in a dangerous community. It is asking a lot to ask someone to put their personal safety on the line.

                    2. I think we need to realize that the majority of Black folks live in communities that are moderately safe. Using my own city as an example. It is 70% Black and while there are swaths of East and West Baltimore that are hood and can be considered “dangerous”, the majority of neighborhoods are decent and safe.

                    • Obsidian Files

                      @Eps:
                      1. I don’t have any problem with anyone who wants to live someplace safe either; what I DO have a problem with, is excoriating a Man on the basis of his “personal credibility” but when that same criteria is applied to THEM, they suddenly want to balk. Let he or she, who has Streed Cred, cast the first stone.

                      2. The issue isn’t solely about relatively safety, Eps, and you know it – since you’re down in B’More, you know as well as I do about “County N*ggas”, don’t you? It’s a little thing called “quality of life” and that was what Cosby was directly speaking to in his Poundcake Speech, and is something I think some of us have confused with being the sole preserve of only some of us. Well, I for one do not think you have to engage in Black Flight to live in dignity and peace and safety, and not be mired in Ratchet foolishness and Knuckleheadism.

                      Philly and B’More share a lot in common, I’ve been there many times, and I can tell you, that things have gotten worse since even when Cosby made his historic address a decade ago. And yet, here we are, skewering the messenger, instead of looking unblinkingly at the things he actually talked about.

                      You just cannot make this up…

                      O.

      • Here’s the problem with Cosby. Even after having a better sense of what not to do, he still screwed up and has yet to learn his lesson- all while trying to make himself out to be a moral compass of some sort. Bad idea.

        • Obsidian Files

          @PA:
          My question for you, and those who agree with your positions, to say nothing of the authoress of this post, is simply this:

          Is what Mr. Cosby said during his “Poundcake Speech”, flat out wrong? And if so, how? Why?

          For me, Mr. Cosby’s personal life is irrelevant. Why? Because, it isn’t Mr. Cosby who’s hollowing out Black America from the inside. It isn’t Mr. Cosby, who’s kiling each other at a rate that not even the Klan could accomplish. It isn’t Mr. Cosby who’s “Twerkin’ at the Wal-Mart”. It isn’t Mr. Cosby who takes being “ghetto” as a badge of honor. And it isn’t Mr. Cosby who literally trashes what was once decent places to live in Black America.

          Mr. Cosby’s persoonal problems are no more or less personal than Mr. Clinton’s, and my response is the same: if Mrs. Cosby/Clinton were good with it, then so am I.

          Instead of attemting to kill the messenger, perhaps it would be wise for us to deal with the message, no matter how much we may not like it…or him…

          O.

          • Here’s where I’m going with this, Obsidian.

            Cosby- whether his words are true or not- has taken upon himself to enact the “Do as I say, not as I do approach. You see, he wants to demand other people to change, but as the old saying goes “Change has to start from within”.

            It’s hard to take him seriously on his criticisms when he is doing the same things that he is criticizing other people for. Not only does it look disingenuous, but it reeks of insincerity.

            • Obsidian Files

              @PA:
              Oh, you have gotta be kidding me – are we seriously going to go down the road of taking arguments seriously, based on the Boy Scout rating of the one making the argument?

              Really?

              Come on, PA. You’re better than that.

              I want you to point out to me in Mr. Cosby’s Poundcake Speech, what is utterly WRONG. What was utterly INACCURATE. I don’t care about Mr. Cosby’s personal life – again, if it were only that easy to make Mr. Cosby’s personal life the sole reason as to why Black America has been circling the comode over the past few decades. Cosby is the least of our problems, PA, and you know it, but you won’t squarely confront it. And this explains how and why NO ONE else in America takes Black folks seriusly – its a sick and demented take on the Emperors New Clothes – and we’re fooling no one…

              O.

              • It’s easy to address the problems in the black community, but having a person like Cosby speaking on the ills? No thanks. And to make matters even worse, he is a celebrity. As you may know, no one takes a celebrity seriously- especially if it concerns their views on political topics. I know this, you know this and everyone else know this.

                I find it funny however that you claim that I won’t squarely confront the issues plaguing the Black community when I have gotten into countless battles on it here. You had to see them- I know you did. The problem was you were too busy being concerned about the low market value of Black women to pay attention to anything I said at that time.

                • afronica

                  Thank you. That is all.

                • Obsidian Files

                  @PA:
                  Touche’!-NOT. LOl, PA, are you saying that what I said with regard to Black Women overall, is NOT true? Because, I’d like to see the evidence of that one. Anytime you’re ready, please by all means, present the evidence…

                  And Cosby’s remarks touched off a national conversationabout these issues; frankly, White folks breathed a sigh of relief, because finally there was a Black person off some stature who wasn’t afraid to tell the truth about things that have been afoot in Black America for a goood long minute. Again: knock yourself out pointing out the speck in Bill’s eye, while willfully ignoring the boat oar in Black America’s…

                  O.

    • Epsilonicus

      Good points. My thoughts exactly!

      • I hated going after him like this, but he was asking for it. You can’t make yourself out to be a perfect person especially when your imperfections are obvious to everyone.

        • Obsidian Files

          @PA:
          Uh, pardon my pointing this inconvenient factoid out, but…I do not recall Mr. Cosby ever holding himself out as some paragon of virtue – and I for one find it fascinating that “we” seem to bend over backwards doing anything and everything NOT to squarely confront the things Mr. Cosby has pointed out. It tells me, that what he said struck a very raw nerve of Truth.

          The real question is: what will it take for us to confront it?

          O.

          • Uh, pardon my pointing this inconvenient factoid out, but…I do not recall Mr. Cosby ever holding himself out as some paragon of virtue – and I for one find it fascinating that “we” seem to bend over backwards doing anything and everything NOT to squarely confront the things Mr. Cosby has pointed out.”

            Uh…but he did though…and has done so numerous times. It’s been that way with him since the late 70’s to mid 80’s.

            “It tells me, that what he said struck a very raw nerve of Truth.”

            It only struck a raw nerve for the people who were participating in the things he was railing against. Outside of that, he just looked like a hypocrite to many others.

            “The real question is: what will it take for us to confront it?”

            Any issue can be confronted, but it all depends on the hidden agenda of the person bringing up the issue. In his case, what is the real reason he brought up the issue? Years later, he has yet to address that question- no matter how many times he’s been asked.

            • Obsidian Files

              @PA:
              Direct quotes please, or it didn’t happen. I’lll wait…

              It seems to me that there are those among the Bougie Crowd that want to find ANY reason to discredit the messenger here, probably because they too have a few skeletons in their own closets. Personally, I could care less about the picadilloes of Cosby or anyone else – but I AM very concerned about the very real problems he gave voice to a decade ago, and to which Black folk as a whole have yet to take seriously. Yea PA, go on making weaksauce excuses for not taking them on…I’m all ears!

              O.

              • It seems as if you are coming with the weak arguments here. I’ve laid it out where I refuse to accept his message. Once again, he loses credibility with he when he goes after people for doing the exact same thing he did- and is still doing.

                • Obsidian Files

                  @PA:
                  I am looking at the transcript of Mr. Cosby’s “Poundcake Speech” as I write this; please tell me where and how he is “going after people for doing the exact same thing he did, and is still doing”?

                  He discusses the failure of lower class Blacks to parent – something that is relatively recent in Black American life, I might add. Please explain to me – are you saying that Mr. Cosby has failed to parent?

                  He discusses the Black highscool dropout rate. Are you saying that Cosby is a highscool dropout?

                  He discusses Black Women having children by, and I quote, “five, six different Men”. Are you saying that Mr. Cosby’s wife has done this?

                  He discusses the failure of these Black parents from lower and working class Black America, to educate their children – for example, purchasing tools for them such as “Hooked on Phonics”. Are you saying that Mr. Cosby has also failed to educate his children?

                  Mr. Cosby, in this same address, discusses the trend of Black males wearing their pants, and I quote, “around the crack” – are you saying that Mr. Cosby also wears his pant down around the crack, PA?

                  He says that these people are, and I quote, “fighting hard to be ignorant”. Are you saying that Mr. Cosby is also fighting, or has fought, hard to be ignorant, PA?

                  I mean, per his “Poundcake Speech”, please explain to me how and why Mr. Cosby is being a hypocrite?

                  Thanks

                  O.

  • So people get antsy about Bill Cosby cheating on his wife and I stay catching hayle for bringing up the bevy of women Martin Luther King Jr. was out smashing behind Coretta’s back. In order for you to get away with chexual infidelity and harassment all you have to do is make sure that your contributions to humanity are big enough to blot out your sullied past or that your celebrity is big enough for people to justify you being a good person who “is human and makes mistakes”. Mahatma Ghandi was sleeping with teenaged (sometimes younger) girls to prove his “chastity” and to this day, people won’t speak on that or his obvious distaste for Africans. Darren Sharper’s ish hit the fan recently as well but of course people are victim blaming the women who have come forward. Some of these people are just trash but we allow their other accomplishments to be their Hail Mary. It’s deplorable.

    • Msdebbs

      Okay so MLK liked to smash byotches….does that negate all his works during the civil rights movement??
      Clinton was a pretty good president and his freaktivity didn’t keep him from doing his job. Meh I really didn’t know Bill Cosby had all that going on but to speak out against very same activity you participate in is a bit hypocritical.

      • Like I said, people like to explain away indiscretions as long as you have enough clout. Is Dr. King being a minister who actively cheated on his wife not hypocritical either? I mean, if that’s what’s hot among the clergy then I’ll just be wrong but last I checked Christians were supposed to be faithful wives and husbands. Maybe Dr. King gets a pass because of all the marching, and arrests, and speeches. Silly me. Vows become null and void then.

        • Msdebbs

          I’m not completely disagreeing with you. MLK’s sexual activity had nothing to do with is works as far as the civil rights movement imo. Now on the minster end yea he was wrong according to the bible but that’s between him and God I have no place to judge. Great people make mistakes too….we’re all human.

          • Shy Fran

            Reoccurring “mistakes” are choices (not mistakes).

            • You need to copyright that!

            • LMNOP

              Lol right, like you tripped and landed with your d!ck in someone’s pvssy because you’re clumsy or some ish

          • Disagree. His treatment of his wife, ethics and marriage is directly in line with his politics and what he did and did not preach about (hint: there’s a reason there is little to nothing MLK said about Black women and was supremely focused on solely elevating the status of the Black man).

            • You could say that about pretty much every male progressive leader in the 60s, save for maybe Huey Newton. And even he kind of kept his support for women’s causes sotto voce.

              • As a progressive female leader of 2014 can Hilary Clinton have an assistant on the side who makes sure her kitty is being petted? If the general public found out would they be so quick to forgive and look at it as something that comes with power?

                • Shamira

                  I don’t understand how on this argument makes sense seeing as how neither would a white man. We’ve seen multiple careers toppled over this in the 21st century.

                  • I’m attaching the stigma with it though. The women in the equation are seen as these insatiable wh0r3s who just couldn’t keep away from a man in power. I’ve never seen it displayed any other way when a man in power cheats on his wife. I know double standards prevail but I’m proving my point that men in power have their indiscretions swept under the rug because people assume it’s normal for men to cheat.

                    • Shamira

                      No you’re not. You’re talking about people who are dead vs people who are currently trying to move forward in their careers. You really think that in the social media age King would’ve gotten away with this? You’re comparing apples to oranges and its making your argument very muddled.

                      The fact remains that in the past two years alone we have seen more than a few white men whos careers have been totally ruined by infidelity. No one was getting up and saying “it was part of the package.” When youre in a politics game you don’t get breaks…at all. Now is the ceiling even harder for women? Yes. But I don’t understand what point it serves here.

                    • I agree. Bringing up Hilary was a moot point. I’m not sure which living man you’re talking about since I mentioned both Cosby and Darren Shaper. I don’t either party is trying to push their current careers to some higher mountain top at this stage in their lives. Also what does Dr. King being dead have to do with his indiscretions? They don’t just get erased because he died. I’m taking into account that Cosby and Dr. King both were out of line by cheating on their wives. I suppose I could have explained this thought but that’s essentially where they both connect for me. They both cheated and they both were representatives of black bodies who were striving towards different end goals but the common goals of showing that black bodies are equal and should be viewed as people who are capable of great things.

                    • Shamira

                      Well let me say that I’ve never seen it for Bill Cosby, ever. and Darren Sharper can go ahead and be buried under the jail.

                      What I meant with King is that how he’s viewed post mortem is always going to be glorified vs how it was in the moment, as it is with all dead people who aren’t viewed as straight up villains. Kennedy, Malcolm X, FDR and so many more had serious character failings that have been glossed over in favor of their “legacy.” That is what happens to most big names that had a generally positive historical impact.

                      My issue with putting King and Cosby in the same discussion is that Cosby was preaching respectability politics to a level that King didn’t. King wasn’t speaking on how to be a good black person in a white-dominated world. Cosby is. and that’s what makes his highmindedness even more absurd.

                      Personally speaking, infidelity does not have a bearing on whether or not you can be a good leader, male, female, or otherwise. Can you do proper service to the people you claim to represent? Can you hear the community’s goals and actively work to help accomplish them? You breaking the covenant with your partner is something you have to address with your partner and whatever God you choose to pray to.

                    • Noted

                    • Epsilonicus

                      “My issue with putting King and Cosby in the same discussion is that
                      Cosby was preaching respectability politics to a level that King didn’t.
                      King wasn’t speaking on how to be a good black person in a
                      white-dominated world. Cosby is. and that’s what makes his
                      highmindedness even more absurd.”

                      Church

                    • h.h.h.

                      I’m not sure which living man you’re talking about since I mentioned both Cosby and Darren Shaper

                      Anthony Weiner, Elliot Spitzer are two off the top, but there are NY politicians, both lost their positions due to chexual indescretions (Weiner sending d***pics, Spitzer utilizing escort services), and in Weiner’s case, cost him a realistic shot of being NYC Mayor.

                      Due to the instantaneous nature of today’s information systems/media…’secrets’ are very hard to stay…’secret’. if any famous figure from the past was doing anything… it would come out in this day and age way sooner than later.

                    • h.h.h.

                      I know double standards prevail but I’m proving my point that men in power have their indiscretions swept under the rug because people assume it’s normal for men to cheat.

                      Sorry i’m late, but have you ever heard of Anthony Weiner? interesting case study.

            • Freebird

              if we hold everyone to this line we lose a lot of heroes….sheroes too.

              • Not me. Just that they are flawed and human No shame in that. Just that we know where we need too do better than them.

                • Freebird

                  right on. agreed.

                • KKay

                  I agree. When a celebrity or politician screws up they first thing out of their mouths (and their fans) is they are only human. That’s true. They are human and should be treated as flawed human beings not idols above criticism.

                  I can admire someone’s accomplishments and contributions, and at the same time view them as very troubled or a piece of excrement depending on their particular sin.

                  I can also admit that someone is very successful at their particular craft and at the same time not support said craft because I feel my dollars would be supporting views that I don’t agree with.

        • Hollywood Cole

          I’m not sure where you’re going with this. Are you saying that in the measure of King’s worth his contributions to society weigh a little heavier than his marital indiscretions? Or that having extra-marital affairs (which only common knowledge because of highly questionable FBI spying) should be more than a footnote in a legacy that helped end years of legal discrimination? If so, I hope you’re without sin on the relationship front.

        • Shy Fran

          On a slightly different tangent, I always wonder why there is so much backlash surrounding Al Sharpton & Jesse Jackson. They both came from the MLK error were wrongs like infidelity were the norm but we’re never spoken about. Basically it’s so weird to me that people give them the side eye for their hypocrisy but not MLK, who can realistically be viewed as a pimp in the pulpit. This really shows our hypocrisy in how we view scandals differently depending on the accused.

          • esa

            ~ MLK, who can realistically be viewed as a pimp in the pulpit

            pimp: a man who controls prostitutes and arranges clients for them, taking part of their earnings in return.

            • Freebird

              I agree.

            • Shy Fran

              My “pimps in the pulpit” was used to describe preachers that use their clout to have sex with multiple women. Kinda like Bishop Long, who used his clout to sex up barely legal males.

          • h.h.h.

            On a slightly different tangent, I always wonder why there is so much backlash surrounding Al Sharpton & Jesse Jackson.

            black males leading the community for more than 30 years.

            there’s your backlash.

            sorry, on my obito.

            • JayIzUrGod

              Word, they were out there for so long that they stepped on their own toes.

          • As I said above, it’s all about clout. Jackson and Sharpton weren’t as well liked as Dr. King. Therefore, their indiscretions were something else to hate them for in the event that one disliked them. Being a celebrity/household name will get you SO many passes in life.

          • JayIzUrGod

            Jesse and Al managed to get in their own way. Add that to the powers that be that wanted them out of the way, and you get a perfect chance to make them look foolish.
            If you ever watch House of Cards, in Season 1, episode 6, the CNN debate is probably the perfect example of how someone who wants to take control of a situation puts their own foot in their mouth and helps inspire people to not like them.

            • Tentpole

              Can’t say it any better than that.

              • JayIzUrGod

                * fist pumps*

      • JayIzUrGod

        That’s a question of morality, yet its also a question of human sensibility. Whatever King did with other women and his wife is his business, but we, the mass public, allowed history to paint King as an almighty figure. Come to find out, even he didn’t want to be pained that way.
        It’s not always about denying the good someone does because of the bad they did as well, but rather getting other human beings to be rationale about WHAT HUMAN BEINGS ARE. We will never be perfect in any shape or form, but mandate that anyone who gets to a level that most people can’t get to exemplify perfection. It’s unrealistic and destructive to do that, not just to the famous person, but to the rest of us as well.

    • Hollywood Cole

      I (think) I agree with your point about men in power, but I don’t think this is the same as with king. Cosby is different because he condemned on the basis of things he did. Ghandi and King may have fallen short of the personas of the human ideals they represented, but falling short of perfection is different than hypocritical condemnation. Besides, the message is usually flawed when you accuse with broad strokesm non-violence and basic human rights for all, not so much. Also, there’s the little difference between infidelity and sexual assault. Lastly, I don’t think Darren Sharper should ever be mentioned in the same breath as King , Ghandi and even Cosby, especially in a conversation about contributions to humanity. A few dumb groupies is not proof that people are overlooking his crime at all, in fact I think the opposite is true for a black male football player. That just speaks to how dumb groupies are, even Tsarnev got some after the Boston Marathon bombing.

      • Guest

        How are we so sure he wasn’t forcing these women to bed though? Is it so illogical to think that women won’t come forward about people in power who have assaulted them? Especially women in the 50’s/60’s?

        I wonder why we immediately assume women in these situations = ho3s, groupies, etc. Men = able to make choices about the women they sleep with and the women in the equation = loose jezebels with zero morals.

      • How are we so sure he wasn’t forcing these women to bed though? Is it so illogical to think that women won’t come forward about people in power who have assaulted them? Especially women in the 50’s/60’s?

        I wonder why we immediately assume women in these situations = ho3s, groupies, etc. Men = able to make choices about the women they sleep with and the women in the equation = loose jezebels with zero morals.

        • Hollywood Cole

          1. I called them dumb groupies because they were defending a rapist.

          2. I will not assume king was raping women as a default. Especially white women in the 60s. What’s wrong with you?

          • I didn’t flat out assume it, I was bringing it up as a strong possibility. There’s nothing wrong with me. I understand Dr. King to be a voice of reason in a time where voice were crushed with violence. He still isn’t above reproach. Neither am I and neither are you.

            • JayIzUrGod

              Indeed. No one is infallible.

            • Hollywood Cole

              I’m sorry, a conversation about the “strong possibilty” of a man, let alone MLK, being a rapist with no accusations or even the hint of proof iis where I get off.

              • You say that like Dr. King is some pristine man I can’t have doubts about lol I don’t care about whatever marble pedestal you have Dr. King up on. I’m not discrediting his work. I’m glad he did what he did. He still was dropping his dyck off in women that weren’t Coretta. I don’t put it past him to have forced their hand. If someone ever uncovered evidence proving this I wouldn’t be surprised. You can feel the way you want to about my speculations. You aren’t losing sleep or money from anything being said on VSB.

                • Epsilonicus

                  You gotta agree though, putting anyone’s name in the same sentence as rape can be dangerous. Even if you only talking about the possibility, it will set folks on edge.

    • TheOtherJerome

      Actually Dr King gave his life for the cause of equality knowing full well that it may cost him his life.

      The fact that white people are no logger able to terrorize us…. on a regular basis…. without penalty….. is a direct result of Dr King’s actions.

      He also cheated on his wife multiple times. An awful thing to do.

      The fact is many people reading this d@nm near owe that man our lives. His infidelity is between him and Coretta. We’re humans. We can hold multiple concepts in our heads at the same time, no?

      And uh, comparing Dr King to Darren Sharper? Perspective much?

      • The fact that white people are no longer able to terrorize us is a result of over a hundred years of Black activism by thousands of Black people. Not solely or even more importantly Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The fact that you’re so immediately defensive of the fact that he cheated and want to brush it to the side ultimately proves afropetite’s point. When you gain enough clout and all indiscretions and faults become footnotes.

        • TheOtherJerome

          “The fact that you’re so immediately defensive of the fact that he cheated and want to brush it to the side”

          In reply to

          “He also cheated on his wife multiple times. An awful thing to do….. We’re humans. We can hold multiple concepts in our heads at the same time, no?”

          Does not compute gringo.

          This article (which has been posted here before i believe) makes my point of what Dr King did, better than i can:

          http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/08/29/1011562/-Most-of-you-have-no-idea-what-Martin-Luther-King-actually-did#

          Also the woman lumped Ghandi, Dr King and Darren Sharper in the same group (What, Flavor Flav wasn’t available?). Anyway, um, no. But thanks for playing Ricky :-)

          As to the point of the article: I suppose i’m the only guy here who knows any regular old person whom at the end of their lives, people just remember them for the good and down play the bad. Not anyone famous. Just a regular person. No? I’m the only one?

          Golly!!

          And here i thought that was the norm around these parts :-/

          • TheOtherJerome

            And of course that’s not to down play the achievements of those that came before Dr King, we’re all standing on the shoulders of our ancestors obviously. But he was the one, propped up on those shoulders, who gave the villainy of segregation and racial terrorism that final push. He didn’t end it, but he sure pushed it down from it’s mountain top.

          • Why are y’all so dead set on me being “wrong” about comparing people who are heralded as deities on Earth who coicidentally made some poor personal decisions? Get over it. I brought up Darren Sharper to address the fact that he’s a celebrity who’s being defended by the general public for drugging and raping multiple women.

            • TheOtherJerome

              We’ve basically reached the official VSB “next day cut off point” for replies, however i will say this:

              Its not that you pointed out the mistakes and failings of these men, it’s that you roped them in with Darren sharper to prove your hypothosis. Who exactly is this person defending Sharper? OJ Simpson???

              King, Ghandi and Darren Sharper have nothing in common.

              My other point was that we’re all adults here. We can hold the idea that Dr King put in some serious work for the black community, while still acknowledging that he was a phalanderer. But again, that was between him as his wife. She may have simply accepted it. Or perhaps their marriage was basically over and they agreed to stay married for image reasons. Or perhaps she felt thats just what men do, and thats part of the bargain.

              Again, we don’t know.

              We’re all adults. I’m sure you know and know of, more than a few people who’s marriage is a complex weave of spoken and unspoken agreements. BTW that would be ALL marriages.

              Hence i see no “sweeping under the rug” of his “Misdeeds”. Too many can relate and so they forgive. You know what they can’t forgive. Drugging women and assaulting them. If you equate that, with your perceived problems with their marriage, then you in for a long life of disappointment.

    • LMNOP

      I can overlook sleeping around a lot easier than assault. They seem in entire different categories to me. I never heard that about Gandhi before. It’s confusing when people have done both great things and terrible things.

      • Word. Those aren’t even in the same zip code, forget ballpark.

      • Ghandi and Mother Theresa are hailed as two of the greatest humanitarians of the past century. Both were just as twisted as ever.

    • I see your point, but there’s levels to this ish. Say what you will about MLK and Clinton’s commitment to their spouses, but they weren’t forcing women into anything. Throwing them in the same boat as, say, Darren Sharper is something else. It’s one thing to have a chick or two on the side, and it’s another to start $exually assaulting women and girls.

      • LMNOP

        Exactly.

      • Tx10inch

        I’m shocked…shocked I say, that this Darren Sharper story isn’t bigger than what it is. Possibly 11 sexual assaults?!? How is this not running 24 hrs a day?!? The guy was a legit HOF’er! I mean, it’s right up there to me with Aaron Hernandez to me.

        • BreezyX2

          *sobs quietly* I can’t handle seeing or hearing the details 24 hrs a day. Darren was my everything…the original baby Daddy/McNukka/Boo Thang. I am so….*runs away dramatically*

          • Tx10inch

            *Hands drink* Here baby, this’ll make you feel better. — Darren Sharper

            • Too soon dude. WAY too soon.

              • Tx10inch

                Lol. To hell w/him. I could see if it were one, maybe 2 instances where you wait for the truth to come out…but 11!! 11 different times?!? Dude was a good looking millionaire HOF’er with a coveted tv job yet he preferred to knock em out and shoplift the putty?!? He gets NO time sensitivity from me brah…

            • BreezyX2

              *Toss back the drink* You always know how to make me fe………………………….*passes out on floor*

              • both of ya’ll are going to heyl with gasoline drawls on lol

          • He’s so pretty. And apparently disgusting.

        • Word. Dude was caught with the drugs that he used to knock women out. Then again, the whole thing about Dave Meggett and his track record of r@ping chicks didn’t blow up in the media either. Go figure.

          • Tx10inch

            Damn, Meggett was “Swiper no swiping” too? Neva heard about that.

            • Here’s the scoop: http://www.sbnation.com/longform/2014/1/21/5320000/david-meggett-criminal-history-profile

              I found out about it because it made the social media rounds among Giants fans. Read it when you get a half-hour. Dude is doing 35 years over his stuff.

              • I’ve met people who know him from the street and have said stuff about him much worse than what’s in that article.

            • Dave Meggett is from here in Charleston and dude’s rep is jacked. Numerous charges of criminal domestic violence and sexual assault.

              • Tx10inch

                I just read the article. Dude had serious issues.

        • The Champ

          Couple things. He had a good, but not hall of fame-worthy, career. Also, he has been in the news quite a bit. In the last week, I’ve read pieces about him in Slate, Gawker, EBONY, etc. So this story is getting talked about. But, what separates him from Hernandez in terms of TV coverage is the fact that he’s not an active player.

          Interestingly enough, the piece I wrote a few weeks ago about “douche detection” was inspired by Darren Sharper. I remember back when he was one of the guys on everyone’s “Best Looking Athletes” lists. And while other guys who’d always be on those types of lists (Reggie Bush, D. Wade, etc) never gave off this vibe, the first time I saw Sharper in an interview back in 2007 or something I immediately thought to myself “this dude is f*cking dangerous.”

          I don’t know what it was about him that did it. But, whatever it was gave me an immediate gut feeling, like a dog in a horror movie realizing a character is a vampire before anyone else does. I know guts can be misleading. But this time, it seems to have been on point.

          • 321mena123

            I never heard of him until this story broke.

          • Tx10inch

            Never really thought about him in that light until now. I mean, who would think that a good looking millionaire football star would need to drug women to for fill his need for power? Gotta disagree with you on the HOF career though. I believe he’s the NFL career leader in picks returned for TD’s. He had a great career.

            • 321mena123

              He probably started in college or high school (i’m speculating here), got a taste for it and a high and continued doing it. He didn’t just start doing this as an NFL player. I bet if they dig back far enough, more will come to light.

              • I always assume [dangerously] by the time the public finds out about something like this it’s habitual.

                • 321mena123

                  Agreed. You don’t just jump to this level unless you have had enough practice. 11 have come forward. There are many more that he did this to. He is a serial rapist.

            • I’m of the opinion that the NFL wasn’t his first time doing something like this. People are creatures of habit.

            • MPM

              I think you pointed out one of the main problems in figuring out what really happened in sexual assault situations with famous people. People automatically assume that because someone is wealthy, famous, and good looking, that women will automatically go to bed with them. Then when the young woman contends that she said stop halfway through and the dude continued on, nobody believes her (see Kobe Bryant). People say, “she’s just trying to get money…” or whatever. But the reality is that is works both ways; not only does the public have a hard time believing that celebrities would NEED to do that, but the celebrities themselves probably don’t think that this woman with them is actually denying them, she’s just playing hard to get or something. Because with egos like most celebrities have, I can’t imagine them actually rationalizing the fact that maybe this woman got to a certain point and simply realized she didn’t want to sleep with him.

              • THANK YOU!

              • Epsilonicus

                “People automatically assume that because someone is wealthy, famous, and
                good looking, that women will automatically go to bed with them”

                The assumption is not every woman, but that there are enough that one should not have to drug and rape people.

                • MPM

                  Yeah, you’re right. Thank you for making that distinction.

            • Aly

              “I mean, who would think that a good looking millionaire football star would need to drug women to for fill his need for power?”

              Rapists aren’t interested in consensual sex, they want to rape.

          • Brother Mouzone

            He’s a Kappa…lol

        • It’s horrible. A few of the radio hosts on ESPN were talking about how disgusted they were with some of their listeners because they wouldn’t shut up about why Michael Sam shouldn’t play but didn’t hear a peep from any listener about how repulsive Darren Sharper and Ray Rice’s actions against women are. That too says a lot.

      • I said that in Darren Sharper’s particular case people are blaming his victims. I never said that he was on par with Dr. King in accomplishments. My overachieving point is that People (read men) in power are able to go through life and have their indiscretion swept under the rug or defended because of their celebrity. Darren Sharper’s victims have been called ho3s and such by people in this thread today. It says a lot about how we view people who aren’t “mortal” so to speak. We see the people who get close to them as opportunists, especially women that get close.

        So, people have been saying the women bringing up the fact that they had been tricked into having chex with him are stupid, opportunistic wh0r3s. Actually any man from any social standing can rape women and be defended because of the way that society views s.exuality.

    • BreezyX2

      But affairs and rape are not the same.

    • Tentpole

      MLK private life was private. If it wasn’t for the fact the Ralph Abernathy was trying to promote his book, you would have never know that fact. It is a also know fact that all great men who have made the world a better place have had vices and you would have never known about this if somebody else wasn’t trying to make a buck off of it.

      • So when the average men cheat then that’s just them being no good men? But a great man can have his vices because he is great? Well let me beef up my resume so I can have some better vices, or does it not work with great women? Can women in power even have vices? What if Hilary Clinton cheated? What if Michelle Obama cheated. Can we at least be real with ourselves and say that women CANNOT have vices? Ever?

        • esa

          ~ Can we at least be real with ourselves and say that women CANNOT have vices? Ever?

          it goes against the propaganda that elevates the moral purity of womanhood that is critical to the false dichotomy of mother/wh*re made most famous by Mary, mother of Christ, and Mary Magdalene.

          i’m not going to argue for equality in an immoral realm, but i will say to deny that it exists will definitely backfire on those who think it so.

          • I’m arguing for immoral equality. I need to know that I will be defended of my Goddess status in the event that any of my kept men decides to act like I didn’t give them the best chex of their lives in an attempt to bring me down.

            I know everyone will hate me for this but I have to say it. Beyonce is reaching this point in life where she could slip up and have the masses defending said mistake due to her celebrity.

        • Tentpole

          Great leaders hold not only their life but the lives of others in the hand. The pressure on them is immense to achieve. History has shown that all great leaders had vices. It is part of what makes them great. The average man doesn’t have to carry that burden so society doesn’t allow him that out.

          • So as I said, I’m allowed vices as long as I’m out here doing great things for society in the lime light. Got it.

    • John Shannon

      Comparing MLK to Cosby is like Nikki Minaj using Malcolm X’s pcture for cover art on her Dumbass song…………

  • .

  • Geneva Girl

    If I’m not mistaken, Bill Cosby is, in fact, from North Philly, not Germantown. (It’s too early to call my dad, who knew him as a teenager, to confirm. ) I point this out because North Philly is more down market than Germantown, at least at that time. (North Philly folks please don’t take offense.)

    His sexcapades and the hush money have been covered years ago, especially in Philadelphia Magazine. Knowing this, I am always shocked when he is called out to be the representative of black American culture. Every time he appears on Meet the Press I want to scream. Shouldn’t these controversies disqualify him to talk about pretty much anything? Is the mainstream media so hard up to find a black talking head that they resort to a person of such questionable morals?

    • The thing is that for whatever reason, those controversies never went national. The fact they made the local Philly press means that they didn’t get completely squashed, but someone has to pick up the story and roll with it. I get the feeling we won’t know the story until Bill Cosby has passed.

  • Hollywood Cole

    Great post with a lot of substance. The Cosby show was great because it presented a black family in a positive light in a time where society needed to see that image and more importantly we needed positive role models fictional or not. But I personally don’t think Huxtable and Cosby can or need to be separated. Let’s be real, what the Huxtables didn’t say sent the same message as Cosby in his senility and much more effectively. The show didn’t address any of the systemic issues with racism at the time. It didn’t tackle any of the struggles in the black community, or even with being a black professional and the show spanned the entire Reagen presidency. The Huxtable’s successful assimilation into the American dream was the result of hard work and educational avenues available to all blacks, uninhibited by any social or economic barriers presented by the color of their skin. The exception that proved the rule, nationally televised proof of the old racist trope that black condition was a result of laziness and inborn mental dullness. Sometimes what isn’t said is more powerful that what is.

    And I have no problem with a positive black TV show that presents black people in a positive light, but if Cosby is going to have the balls to take the black community to task for it’s responsibility to uplift as a people, he better be prepared to look in the mirror and ask what he has done. Cosby’s later message to the black community just confirms the message behind the omissions. As positive as it was, the Cosby show reminds me of the more insidious gentleman’s racism where not speaking at all of the problem allows you to paint the perpetrators in an idyllic light. A black version of the Andy Griffith show.

    • JayIzUrGod

      Why was the Cosby Show supposed to tackle the entirety of the Black American struggle? It did what it was supposed to do, provide a template for Black Americans to believe they didn’t all have to be McDonald’s employees, but rather could see a day where they could be working professionals in decent homes, making decent money and raising a family in a decent manner. No one TV show ever took on the full sum of the racial or cultural issues the audience faced. That’s impossible.
      Lets be realistic. We can call Bill a hypocrite all we want, but that same hypocrite is in the box with so many other famous hypocrites that helped pave the way for us to be where we stand. Win, lose or draw, WE NEEDED a Bill Cosby. We still do. Not the monster that lies within him, but someone who literally, despite all his bull sh it can say “look, if this is best you have to offer, then go home. Otherwise, get it together and move forward”.

      • Hollywood Cole

        If the cure to the institutional and systemic issues that ail us as a people is crotchety old black men telling the young’ ns how much they are F’ing up, that they are solely the problem, and that old timers have all the answers, I’m pretty sure we would have “overcome” a long time ago.

        I think I addressed the good and bad aspects of the show in my original comment.

        • JayIzUrGod

          That same crotchy old guy telling young people how they aint sh it is a template for the future, believe it or not. For some people, they will say “I never want to be like him” and actually pay attention to the things they do or say to defy a reality where they can be as bitter as Bill. Others will ignore what he says, think he is full of it, and continue to do whatever they want. Lastly, some will actually listen to Bill, and recognize there is a problem with the youth, and actively find a way to do something about it. They may not believe everything he says or agree with how he said it, but will know there is truth to his words.
          Point blank, it isn’t written in stone that his methods are WRONG.
          And yes, you did state the pros and cons of the show, but also posed an unrealistic question by asking why it never dealt with the fundamental racism of that era.

          • ratchet d-Ibaka

            Tabernacle!

          • Hollywood Cole

            Well I gave an answer to why he never addressed fundamental racism, I didn’t ask why. And I don’t understand why that question on it’s face is unrealistic. It isn’t outside the realm of possibilities that the Cosby show could have taken on some social issues and that not doing so could have had consequences. Unless Cliff Huxtable is beyond reproach, which would be a weird hierarchy because you said elsewhere king was when he was accused of being rapist.

            • JayIzUrGod

              I didn’t feel like you were asking if it was beyond circumstances for the Cosby Show to deal with racism, or at least that’s not how i read what you wrote. It instead looked like you were condemning the show for not doing it.

              My point to you is, if you understand the stages it takes to make a show, a revolutionary one on top of it, then you know there is a very thin line Cosby could walk on. 20+ years later, its easy to ask why the show dealt wirh some issues and ignored others, but the show was meant to embrace all and give a glimpse into what could be, not to tell people what they should be. The only fight the show seemed to really have for it is the idea that Black families could be wholesome. So why did it need to fight further than that, when other media forms at the time were doing that instead?

      • ratchet d-Ibaka

        Thank you so DAMN fucking much for that response! Brilliant to say the least! It irrrrrrrrrrks me to the highest heavens when folks talk about Cosby having not mirrored the realities of black America, and only served to push them under the rug, or some variation thereof.
        Do folks not realize the international POSITIVE impact that show had in representing black America to the world??

        And you are very, absofuckinglutely correct in stating the impossibilities of any one show, then and even today, being able to tackle racial/cultural issues in totality.

        • JayIzUrGod

          Exactly. I’m just saying we have to take the good with the bad, can’t be picky with it, because they are tied together.

          • Hollywood Cole

            “I’m just saying we have to take the good with the bad”

            Except when you’re not.

            • JayIzUrGod

              How so?

      • Epsilonicus

        Maybe I am wrong so let me know

        From what I remember of the Cosby Show, they very very rarely talked about racism, which can be seen as unrealistic. I know he was a middle class professional and all. However, I am sure it is an issue that comes up frequently (I guess I am middle class and can say I experience it almost weekly). To rarely-never discuss it is a bit unrealistic.

        • JayIzUrGod

          I feel like that’s pushing an expectation on the show to be more realistic than it was. It also didn’t talk about Reaganomics, crack, gang violence, and the degredation of minority neighborhoods in the 80s. It wasn’t supposed. It was pure fluff. Closest they came to hard hitting topics was Rudy drinking. That just wasn’t his intention, the show clearly points it out by being the first comedy of its kind to be a Black show that wasn’t “in your face”.

          Family Matters dealt with racism, but nobody is mentioning that. Know why? Because the Cosby Show paved the way for it.

          • Epsilonicus

            The thing is though it is something that would have affected their lives very directly. Something that would have touched him and Claire and they never talked about it?

            I could see them not touching on those other areas bc they lived in a middle class area. They may not have had crack, rising gang violence, etc in their community. But I am sure someone would have said something off the hook to either one of them and they would have discussed it.

    • 321mena123

      “The show didn’t address any of the systemic issues with racism at the
      time. It didn’t tackle any of the struggles in the black community, or
      even with being a black professional and the show spanned the entire
      Reagen presidency.”

      A Different World did and without the Cosby Show, A Different World would not exist. Your statement is extremely short sighted.

      • afronica

        I’d say that A Different World tried to address these issues and that the more it did, the less I liked the show. I’m a pretty shallow person, I suppose. The Cosby Show was a half hour sitcom, not a drama. It was meant to be amusing and Cosby managed to shoehorn in some positive black imagery and uplift. I am sure he had to fight really hard for the show to have any of those aspects. But it wasn’t meant to be The Wire or anything like it.

        Cosby seemed to want to inject more social commentary with A Different World and in my opinion, the show suffered a bit for it. The more preaching it did, the less I enjoyed the show. It’s a fine line is what I guess I’m saying. And please remember, this was back in the day, before edgier fare was greenlit on cable (never mind broadcast) tv.

        • Val

          Unfortunately Black orientated TV sitcoms have a long history of really being dramadies.

      • Hollywood Cole

        Funny how perspective works, from my vantage point you choosing to bring in an entirely different show into a conversation expressly about the separation of Cosby and Huxtable and a comment addressing that very issue is a stretch. But feel free to add something relevant to the conversation about Huxtable and Cosby. Or, you know, continue to make snippy remarks with off topic information.

        • 321mena123

          Entirely different? The show was a spin off of their daughter going to college. He and Debbie Allen did with A Different World what they couldn’t do with the Cosby Show. The Cosby Show opened the door wide open for A Different World.

          Also, you may want to grow a thicker skin when it comes to the comments. I wasn’t being snippy.

          • Hollywood Cole

            Yes, they were entirely different shows. And the topic was about separating Huxtable and Cosby, why is a show where Cosby was not a character but happened to be a producer for relevant to a comment that linked his behavior in real life to the character on the show that bears his name? And yes, giving a (specious) qualitative judgement of an opinion is snippy.

  • h.h.h.

    i think this article is off, on a few points, mainly to bring someone down, that wants us all to do better.

    if he is guilty of crimes, may he do the punishment that is warranted, but i would hope that as we get older, we understand where our elders f**ked up, and where they were trying to exhort us to do better, to be better.

    i see why most peo….nvm. #NoShotsMonday

    • I see exactly where you’re coming from. I think where Cosby’s method fails is that he did not incorporate his own failures into his message. I despise it when elders condemn and demonize young people for doing something they did years ago; it’s a common theme (at least in my community) for them to ignore their past sins. I only wish they would be honest about their failings AND exhort “us” to do better–it feels less hypocritical.

      • JayIzUrGod

        Bill wasn’t born after 1980. Keep in mind this fact if nothing else…you get to read books, articles, and watch videos about people who lived before us, and exposed their critical flaws. Do you think people of his generation were granted the same thing? Most people Bill could learn from when he was our age saw nothing wrong with their actions or beliefs. Its only in our era now that we get to look back at history and nitpick at how awful people used to be.

        • I have to disagree with you. The wrongness of sexual assault and infidelity weren’t invented after 1980, either. Secrets go back years and years in some families…side children, hidden away mistresses. They didn’t keep it under wraps because it was kosher; they knew they were wrong and didn’t CARE. Like you alluded, they had the benefit of no Google and no Internet, but I don’t think people “saw nothing wrong” with the dirt they did. You just had to work hard to maintain a cover of respectability.

          • JayIzUrGod

            Yea but in our era, you don’t have to work hard to keep up the façade. Its almost expected that people can live a double life, but only because back in the day, people always wanted to pretend everything was ok. Our moral bar today is very low, so when people do horrible things, even if we don’t like it, we have somehow accepted some things like cheating, children out of wedlock, etc as the norm. That’s simply because it has happened so often, for so long, that the lies can only go on before the walls break down and the truth comes flooding out.
            So I’m sticking to what I said, because we still have a very clear advantage on honesty and being responsible for our actions that our elders NEVER had because society told them to stick to the script or else.

            • “…we still have a very clear advantage on honesty and being responsible for our actions that our elders NEVER had…”

              Perhaps, but it doesn’t seem to have helped us much. lol. Folk still get caught out there knowing that it’s easier to find out.

              • JayIzUrGod

                True but change for people is always slow. Except for technology, that always speeds up

    • JayIzUrGod

      We are basically the first generation that gets to look at our forefathers, not in awe, but in comparison and understanding, to recognize what decisions we are being faced to make. With that said, its not surprising that someone like Bill Cosby can wag his finger at us for baggy jeans and welfare checks, but forget he used to tag team chicks with Richard Pryor and do a hefty amount of cocaine. But when he was our age, his elders were doing the same finger wagging without being honest of some of the horrible things they used to do in their day.
      So nah, fire them shots homie. We need to be realistic and stop expecting people to be on our level when they weren’t given the same circumstances to learn from like we have.

      • h.h.h.

        We are basically the first generation that gets to look at our forefathers, not in awe, but in comparison and understanding, to recognize what decisions we are being faced to make

        nah, this is the first generation that does its best to eliminate ‘heroes’.

        and as cynical as i can get, i have no idea where this came from, and i have no interest in participating. i’ll go back to being naive and working on my pendulum plan.

        • JayIzUrGod

          Is the moon going to be looking funny when this plan is done?

  • CandieLady

    I think Cliff Huxtable is Cosby’s representative. Everyone presents a representative: the illusion that we want others to accept about us while our flawed selves stay under wraps. So, how disgusted can we get with Cosby when he is a direct reflection of what is wrong with us. Not justifying his despicable indiscretions, but still…don’t we all have a checkered past (or present), yet we want to be remembered for what we did well rather than our weaknesses. I think that is why many of the people we’ve admired most work so hard to take giant steps-they know their weaknesses are huge and reputation-destroying. In an ideal world, people would not be so hypocritical. But, our world is not ideal. And neither is Cosby. Or us.

    And for the record, Cosby does need professional help regardless of what image he is trying to show everyone else…

    • The Champ

      “…don’t we all have a checkered past (or present), yet we want to be remembered for what we did well rather than our weaknesses.”

      We do. But the issue here is chastising people for behavior that’s not as bad as the behavior you’re (allegedly) participating in

      • CandieLady

        Agreed. And it’s sad that America funds hypocrisy (and at some level, we do too by watching/listening etc). But, it’s almost like when celebrities take part in gruesome acts, we can’t always process it…so we act like those actions never took place or we downplay them. This seems to help us preserve the image we’ve built rather than see who they really are. Because seeing who someone really is presents a complexity: How can someone who has done so much good for us in the eyes of America also do reprehensible things? It’s easier to stick with the illusion. Because accountability costs us the image we built and makes us question our ability to tell reality from something else…and who really wants to acknowledge that they don’t have a firm grasp on reality? Good post.

  • Andrea

    Bill Cosby paid for the building where I was blessed to study books by James Cone. Shout out to ADW!
    The only thing I have to say to the man is…Thank You!

    • The Champ

      where did you go to school?

      • panamajackson

        SPELMAN!

      • Andrea

        Spelman

  • *hugs butt*

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