The 10 Most Wrong Things About Bill Cosby Asking The Black Media To Stay Neutral » VSB

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The 10 Most Wrong Things About Bill Cosby Asking The Black Media To Stay Neutral

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Last Friday, Bill Cosby finally broke his silence, praising his wife for standing by him and specifically asking Black media to be neutral.

There are a couple dozen levels of wrong with that request. Here are 10 of them.

1. He’s not actually asking for neutrality. He’s asking for apathy and willful ignorance.

2. “Black media” is an ambiguous term. Does it refer to all Black people working in some capacity of the media, or Black-run media organizations? (Or both?)

3. If we define “Black media” as “Black people working in media and people working for Black-run media organizations,” I know of quite a few Black people working in media and quite a few people working for Black-run media organizations who, because of Bill Cosby’s stature and the seriousness of these allegations, were excessively careful — deliberate, even — with reporting on this news. (Myself included.) I don’t know of anyone who has looked to make Bill Cosby’s fall a career-making story. And, even with the taste of the Pound Cake speech still on people’s tongues, I don’t know of anyone who’s happy to be reporting on and writing about any of this.

Basically, “Black media” has been very fair to Bill Cosby. By placing us in a position where we have to report on and write about the disgraceful fall of someone many of us held very dearly, Bill Cosby has not been fair to Black media.

4. A completely neutral and context-less look at this story would leave us with a man who has been accused of sexual assault by close to three dozen different women. If this man’s name was Will Losby instead of Bill Cosby, no one would be prepared to defend this man or give him the benefit of the doubt. A plea for Black media to go in with a “neutral mind” is a plea for Black media to consider who Bill Cosby is and what Bill Cosby has given to our culture when choosing to believe these allegations…basically the opposite of having a neutral mind.

5. Specifically asking Black media to stay neutral is a way of guilting Black people into having his back. It reinforces the popular conspiracy theory that these allegations are the product of “White” forces conspiring against him. And, not having his back in this circumstance is effectively selling out.

6. The ask for Black media to stand for and support him came the same weekend tens of thousands of people flooded the streets of New York City and Washington, D.C. to stand for and support the millions of anonymous Black men and women who could very well be the next Eric Garner or the next Michael Brown. To call this timing “inappropriate” would be like calling the Pacific Ocean a “puddle.”

7. If someone reminds you to take a shower, they’re not trying to be a spokesperson for responsible hygienic activity. They’re specifically telling you that you stink. Specifically reminding Black media to stay professional implies that Black media is inherently less professional than ‘White” media and needs to be reminded to be more professional.

8. If number #7 is true — and it is true then specifically asking Black media to be professional is just a distilled version of the Pound Cake speech.

9. I’m honestly not even sure what Cosby wants when he spoke of “neutrality.” Again, even if you insert no opinion into this story, the fact that somewhere between 20 and 35 different women have alleged that he either sexually assaulted them or attempted to sexually assault them is a fact. Does he — and others being the objectivity drum — want us to just withhold opinions or to stop reporting on actual facts?

10. These reminders about excellence and neutrality only came after he was under an unfavorable spotlight. If he was really that concerned about the media doing its job and being neutral, he would have spoken up years before these stories came to light, saying “Hey, Black media. There are some rumors swirling about me and sexual assault that you haven’t covered. I think you should cover them.” This isn’t a plea for fairness. It’s the bully asking for compassion while being teased by a bigger bully.

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Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • jess-s

    You know that dude that asks you to “hook a brother up”
    I feel like he is making that shady request to “brothas and sistas”

    wrong way to break your silence

  • Pinks

    He can sit his feeble-d1cked ass down with alladat. For real.

    He’d like the black media to ride for him when he was admonishing a good portion of those same people just a little while ago? Grandpa BYE. He must not know that black media doesn’t only apply to those on TV and Clear Channel radio, but platforms like VSB and other blogging sites where the everyday man and woman have the forum to make their voices heard as well.

    there are people STILL caping hard for him despite these consistently mounting allegations, largely because of who he is and what he represents. If it were just another Joe Schmoe on the street they’d have no problem calling him a serial rapist. Sick of him.

  • Once a whole handful of people who don’t know each other come up with the same story, something inappropriate happened and the count is now up to what, 20? They have nothing to gain- none of them has a book or Lifetime movie deal last I checked. They’re being dragged from here to Timbuktu. And due to statute of limitations they can’t get any relief from the courts. It’s entirely possible for someone to make positive contributions to society in one area while being a horrible person in another. Almost all of America’s founding fathers were slave owning racists, but they got us out from under the yoke of colonialism. MLK Jr cheated on his wife but spearheaded the Civil Rights Movement. R. Kelly is a pedophile but folks still consider him a musical genius (yeah, I think that last one is a stretch too). The point still stands that one good deed doesn’t make you a good person. You can’t store up brownie points that excuse a pattern of horrid behavior. You have to choose to do the right thing day in and day out, across the board.

  • NYCAACHI

    I believe ALL if not most of the women accusing Bill Cosby of sexual assault are telling the truth. I also think Bill Cosby was telling the truth in the “pound cake” speech. This weekend a promising 15 year old twin was shot and killed over his jacket by a 17 year old in Chicago. Poverty, racism, substandard education, lack of investment in our communities – these things have all resulted in the devastating conditions – no doubt. These conditions do not mean that individual and parental responsibility are not required.

    • h.h.h.

      Rest in peace to that 15 year old.

      as much as we say ‘black lives matter’ to the white majority…a segment of black america…kinda needs to internalize that message as well.

      • Val

        It doesn’t have anything to do with being Black. It has to do with individual people who happen to be Black being psychopaths. Just like White men shooting up schools and movie theaters is because they are psycos and not because they’re White. Every ethnic group has its share of murderers.

        • h.h.h.

          Yes…and no.

          it is quite possible to acknowledge the myriad of social structural roadblocks set up by the ruling majority that hinders progress of minorities at a macro, and micro, level. there is documentation of how the GI Bill pretty much assisted young white army vets coming out of WWII, yet blacks could barely live in the same towns with whites in Chicago and New York (more specifically LI). there are educational and economic road blocks set up by government and business entities that, whether by malice or ignorance, sets us as black people back.

          at the same time, i don’t see -why- it is so hard for us, as a people, to look at each other, and start building ourselves up, self image wise. and i’m not saying this in a literal “pick up your pants/stop naming your kids TayTayque” like Dr. Cosby, but if truly…black lives matter and we want whites to recognize that….why don’t we recognize it in each other?

          how am i (and educated/non-educated black folks who give a s***) helping my community provide resources for people that need it, as well as addressing government policies that work against my community?

          why would a black teenager choose to pick up a gun and kill another, if black lives matter?

          why would a black man disrespect/beat a black woman if black lives matter?

          I know in the end, we as human beings have freewill, and we choose our behaviors, but how can we want someone to see us as human…when we have classes in our community, that don’t see ourselves as human?

          the funny thing is that, Cosby, with his ranting and raving, was probably trying to articulate what i just stated…but failed.

          just my thoughts. we probably are far apart on this, i blame my ‘respectability politics cardigan’ i’m wearing right now…it feels snug, like my Vader helmet

          • Val

            I agree with your first paragraph. There are things that racist systems did that affect most if not all of us one way or another.

            But, then you go on to mention “Black Lives Matter”. And, you make a comparison between that and a Black teen killing another. This comparison doesn’t work for two reasons.

            First; when we say Black lives matter we’re specifically talking about police killing Black folks. We are saying that the agents of the State should not be gunning us down.

            Your mention of the Black teen killing another is a way of obfuscating the real point by bringing up Black on Black crime. This doesn’t work because Black on Black crime is just a way of saying there is a specific Black pathology that causes this to happen.

            The truth is that this might be attributable to institutional racism, as you mention in your first paragraph, but that is not a Black pathology.

            When a White male meth-head from West Virginia kills another White person while robbing them no one attributes this to race. Drug culture, sure. But not because he’s White.

            As long as many of us believe Black on Black crime is a thing it’s going to derail any efforts to quell violence in many Black communities. We need to look at that individual kid, who happens to be Black, and figure out why he murdered another kid while robbing him. That’s when we’ll get real answers.

            Why do you think the White run media and so many White folks that mean us no good love to invoke Black on Black crime? Because they know that concept clouds the truth and doesn’t solve problems. It only adds to them.

            • h.h.h.

              *shrug* ok.

          • Echeccentric

            Wait.. Are you saying that it’s because some black people kill each other, white authority figures (read police) have the freedom to kill black people? Because that’s the vibe I’m getting off this comment.

            black on black crime is abhorrent but it should not be compared to the black lives matter movement.

            In the words of beloved T R A P S O U L crooner (aka newest fvckboy in town), DON’T.

            • -h.h.h.-

              you’ll see what you want.

              be blessed.

    • Val

      And no White person has ever killed another White person during a robbery. Smh. If you haven’t read it you should read the post from last week called, “Dear Black People: Blackness Is Not A Disease.”

  • miss t-lee

    CTFU

  • Kim

    #BOYBYE. We don’t owe you a dayyyum thing.

  • Mary Burrell

    This is just arrogant and entitlement.

  • Londa

    “Let me say this. I only expect the black media to uphold the standards of excellence in journalism and when you do that you have to go in with a neutral mind,”

    I don’t think, and call me naïve if you so choose, that he is asking black media to stay neutral. My critical mind wants to know what were the leading questions and/or the lead-in
    questions that he was asked to which he gave this reply.

    Was the question something along the line of, “What do you expect from black media?” Or, “What do you expect from the black media that you aren’t receiving from ‘mainstream’ media?” And, if so, then we would have hear for ourselves where (on what word), in the reply he gave, that he placed verbal emphasis.

    My critical mind tells me he did not mean that he only (singularly, to the exclusion of all other media) expects black media to be on his side. That he expects black media to blindly follow him and damn all the accusations.

    I read his comment to say that he only (as in: merely, simply) expects black media to live up to a high standard of excellence in journalism. To honor the creed of journalism of past and not so much the “new journalism” ala the National Enquirer/TMZ-type journalism. I do not read it to say that only (as in: individually, solely) the black media will be on his side. That only the black media will be neutral. I do not believe he is pandering.

    The majority of us deal in words on a regular basis either as a profession or as a hobby. All of us deal with words to communicate. And, each and every one of us knows that depending on where we put an emphasis in a particular sentence, the meaning of said sentence can have various subtexts.

    I don’t expect many, if any at all, to agree with me. And, that’s ok. I’m strong enough to stand on my own. And, before anyone labels me as a Cosby apologist, “let me say this.” I am a survivor of domestic abuse as well as sexual abuse at the hands of a relative. I do not stand for B.S. no matter how famous or well-liked anyone is. However, fair is fair. At my core, I believe is truth, justice and integrity. I have to call it as I see it with regard to this particular statement of his. And, be clear, my writing here is based only – singularly/solely – on his comment. Not the deeds for which he’s accused. Do not mix the two. That wouldn’t be fair.

    I apologize for being long-winded.

    • hkguy

      The remark was a spontaneous reaction to the coincidental fact that the reporter interviewing him happened to be black. He was shooting from the hip; there was no set-up.

      • Londa

        I hear what you’re saying. I wasn’t implying that there was a set up.

  • Neutral: 20 women have accused Cosby of assault.

    That is a fact.

    Neutral: Cosby has settled assault cases out of court.

    Also a fact.

    Biased: They are trying to take down America’s father figure.
    Biased: NBC needs to cancel Cosby’s upcoming project amid allegations
    Biased: This is why I can’t watch the Cosby Show: A Thinkpiece
    Biased: These women had decades to come forward

    • Epsilonicus

      I can’t say thay NBC is biased per se. That might be a brand protection move for them

    • JR

      Isn’t the number of accusers in the late 20s now?

  • Michelle

    I know people (both men and women) who has assaulted and abused fellow men, women and even children. I was twice a victim of assault, at 15 and 17.
    Based off of those incidents, I can definitely say that people tend to look after the “creepy, old guy with the big glasses and the need to be around children”.

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