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Bill Cosby was largely irrelevant in black America even before his sexual assault trial began
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a425couple
2017-06-18 01:56:03 UTC
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Bill Cosby was largely irrelevant in black America even before his
sexual assault trial began

By Mark Anthony Neal June 17 at 6:23 PM
Mark Anthony Neal, a Duke University professor of African &
African-American Studies and English, is the host of the “Left of Black”
webcast and author of “Looking for Leroy: Illegible Black Masculinities.”

Bill Cosby was the product of an era when many prominent blacks engaged
in what might be called a politics of representation: While the black
religious left took to the streets to march and a younger generation of
activists bided its time, Cosby waged his battles in fine suits, nice
sweaters and impeccable diction. But Cosby’s schtick was as important as
any Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee sit-in. He brought black
humanity into white America’s living rooms through his appearances on
variety shows and the television series “I Spy” even as the brutality
directed at black humanity was being broadcast on the nightly news in
those same living rooms. By the early 1970s, the kids were loving Cosby,
too, courtesy of his brilliantly conceived “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.”

The level of universal popularity that Cosby reached in the 1980s, via
his various platforms (including his role as a Jell-O Pudding Pop
pitchman) was not unprecedented — the Michaels Jackson and Jordan were
legitimate rivals in this regard. But no one else did it with Cosby’s
gravitas. “The Cosby Show” was not just the highest-rated show on
television. Cosby and his doppelganger Cliff Huxtable were collectively
America’s — not simply black America’s — favorite dad.

Those times are long gone. Despite the hung jury in his sexual assault
trial in Pennsylvania, America’s No. 1 Dad remains accused of sex
offenses (accusations that he has denied) and perhaps will always be
remembered for this, however any retrial might play out.

But the onslaught of reporting of Cosby’s “final fall from grace” is
classic media hyperbole. This is not to deny that the sheer number of
his accusers (and even if it were just one) made this a newsworthy case;
we must continue to confront all incidences of sexual violence,
regardless of the profile of the offender. Cosby, though, hasn’t
mattered in the way he once did for at least a generation.

Cosby’s relevance to black America began to wane even as his television
son Theo Huxtable was walking across stage at his college graduation. As
“The Cosby Show” came to a close in the spring of 1992, Los Angeles was
afire over the acquittal of four police officers in the Rodney King
beating. Voices like Ice Cube and Tupac Shakur — symbolic sons whom
Cosby symbolically rejected during the eight-year “Cosby Show” run —
would be far more relevant to young African Americans going forward.

There would still be a connection, however. To the extent that Cosby and
his family were subjected to the kind of random urban violence that
defined so much of the lives of the black poor — when Cosby’s only son,
Ennis, was killed — he was no longer above the realities of race, no
matter how famous and influential he was. The middle-class lives of the
Huxtables be damned, he was one of us.

And perhaps that was the rub. With his infamous “pound cake speech”,
Cosby seemed to turn on us by adopting a narrative from the right that
our struggles and the broader problems of the welfare state were rooted
in a culture of defeatism rather than structures of inequality. When
Cosby seemed to legitimize the police shooting of unarmed blacks for a
crime like stealing a pound cake, he came off as painfully out of touch.
For the many who, years later, would be tweeting the hashtag
#BlackLivesMatter, this was their most powerful memory of Cosby — and it
was there to be reawakened when comedian Hannibal Buress’s righteous
takedown set in motion this final chapter of Cosby’s public life.

That’s why the intense recent debates about Cosby, including a
reevaluation of his cultural and financial contributions — “The Cosby
Show” was pulled for a time from syndication, Spelman College
discontinued an endowed professorship funded by Cosby and his wife,
Camille — have seemed so out of line with his current level of relevance.

And therein lies one of the tragedies here. Cosby mattered so much, in
part, because his image of middle-class black respectability carried
moral authority for whites, of all political persuasions, seeking to
compel less-fortunate blacks to fall in line and keep on the grind. In
the past two years, it was as if the artifice of Bill Cosby had to be
rehabilitated solely for the purpose of tearing it down. And what has
been torn down in the process is not just Cosby the man but the very
truth of the representations of black excellence and aspiration that
Cosby so dutifully invested in throughout his career.

Cosby hasn’t mattered since long before the movement for black lives
picked up the baton of the black protest tradition and carried it onto
new moral ground. But in his reappearance as an old accused sex
offender, he has restarted battles we thought had already been safely won.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/bill-cosby-was-largely-irrelevant-in-black-america-even-before-his-sexual-assault-trial-began/2017/06/17/82b977bc-511e-11e7-be25-3a519335381c_story.html?utm_term=.58357ec16bd9

It seems so sad to me, that the portion,
"And therein lies one of the tragedies here. Cosby mattered so much, in
part, because his image of middle-class black respectability carried
moral authority for whites, of all political persuasions, seeking to
compel less-fortunate blacks to fall in line and keep on the grind."
has been so discredited by the left, in wanting to instead claim
victimization and demand reparations.
a425couple
2017-06-18 02:22:38 UTC
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Post by a425couple
Opinions
Bill Cosby was largely irrelevant in black America even before his
sexual assault trial began
By Mark Anthony Neal June 17 at 6:23 PM
Mark Anthony Neal, a Duke University professor of African &
African-American Studies and English, is the host of the “Left of Black”
webcast and author of “Looking for Leroy: Illegible Black Masculinities.”
Bill Cosby was the product of an era when many prominent blacks engaged
It seems so sad to me, that the portion,
"And therein lies one of the tragedies here. Cosby mattered so much, in
part, because his image of middle-class black respectability carried
moral authority for whites, of all political persuasions, seeking to
compel less-fortunate blacks to fall in line and keep on the grind."
has been so discredited by the left, in wanting to instead claim
victimization and demand reparations.
Here are some of the comments:

newprogressive
6:54 PM PDT
This column is racist at its core. It talks about blacks as if they were
all alike. The problem with Tupac, and "Good Times", and even "The
Jeffersons" is that they assume that blacks are all uneducated and low
clase. Cosby portrayed Dr. Hustable as an educated erudite man,
demanding success and intelligence from his children -- very middle
class. There are millions of middle class black people who could
identify with Dr. Huxtable.
As for Bill Cosby, he is an actor, not a social activist. To ever have
seen him as one was a big mistake. Same with Michael Jordan - basketball
player.
Blacks need to look to their community leaders, politicians, and black
historians for inspiration - not entertainers.

erbkon
6:56 PM PDT
"Cosby seemed to turn on us by adopting a narrative from the right that
our struggles and the broader problems of the welfare state were rooted
in a culture of defeatism rather than structures of inequality."
Why, why, why are humans so tempted to Dualism? Is it impossible for
the writer to see that it's not either /or, but rather both/and? And
more besides just defeatism and the legacy of past structural inequality
sprinkled with a dose of still-living racists? I have know a number of
black Americans born outside this country who a) were not inculcated
with the culture of victimization so pervasive in our country, and b)
impatient with those who were. YES, they encountered racism. And their
answer to it was a defiant Scu Yu, not Poor Me. Pres. Obama, raised
largely outside this culture, was also a beneficiary of this defiance,
or perhaps I should call it blissful ignorance. I did not vote for him,
and did not approve of most of his policies, but we were lucky in him in
that regard.

nehocm
6:28 PM PDT
So, black Americans need more "heroes" like Tupac?

Stu Ya Gotz
6:32 PM PDT
Kind of like White Americans needing a hero like Justin Bieber. Both
ideas are ridiculous!

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