About Bill Cosby
by Mychal Massie
If a homeless, drunken bum
lying in a gutter says people shouldn't drink, is the message
diminished because it comes from a homeless, drunken bum?
Judges routinely sentence the
guilty to public service. This can include the guilty speaking
out against their past illegal behavior. Does this, for example,
make the message of participants in the "Scared Straight"
youth offender program any less important?
Obviously, the answer to both
is a resounding "no."
So the question that begs for
an answer now is why would Bill Cosby's message about priorities
for black families be diminished because someone came out of
the woodwork to accuse him of an impropriety?
Despite the fact that investigating
district attorney Bruce Castor found "insufficient credible
and admissible evidence" to prosecute, will Bill Cosby's
reputation and message be maligned forever?
Before the alleged improprieties,
Cosby was already embroiled in controversy because he called
things as he saw them. He ruffled feathers by criticizing black
families and making demands for more responsibility in the black
Some may argue that, among
the allegations against Cosby, he did not show enough personal
restraint and put himself in harm's way. But the only certainty
in the whole thing is that both sides still disagree about what
There are also those who seem
annoyed that Cosby has made them look bad. These people are now
piously standing by while it is suggested that Cosby's messages
of restraint, involvement and self-control may lack the proper
But improprieties, children
out of wedlock, riot, mayhem, lies and murder certainly haven't
diminished Jesse Jackson's or Al Sharpton's message that it is
proper for blacks to blame President Bush and other conservatives
for their problems and to dwell on race as a reason for being
How does one compare what Cosby
is accused of to Jackson's admission of fathering a child out
of wedlock and possibly using tax-exempt monies donated to his
Citizen Education Fund (CEF) to buy a $365,000 California home
for his paramour? That's not mentioning hefty child support and
$35,000 in severance pay.
Project 21 member and columnist
Deroy Murdock wrote "CEF raised $2,077,219 in 1998 and $9,919,914
in 1999. Meanwhile, it spent on $30,933 and $15,699 in education
and research in those years respectively. CEF dedicated just
0.39 percent of its budget to its stated purpose."
Yet the lecherous mumbler of
rambling unintelligible iambics continues to be recognized by
the mainstream media.
The Twanna Brawley hoax, the
Korean grocer boycott, the riot at Freddie's Fashion Mart and
the death of Yankel Rosenbaum did not prevent Al Sharpton from
running for president. Nor did all that ever prevent him from
being sought out for his opinions. Nor has it "diminished"
his racial heterodoxy.
Yet the media has breathlessly
pondered ad nauseum: Will Cosby's alleged and actual sexual misgivings
allow him to continue speaking out? But what about the elephant
in the middle of the room of black America that Cosby has been
talking about and others refuse to acknowledge?
Black America has a problem,
and it is one that will not go away. It had trouble being recognized
until people like Bill Cosby put it on the table.
The question that should be
asked is not will Bill Cosby's message continue to be received
in light the allegations against him, but rather why hasn't the
media given as much ink and camera time to black conservatives
such as the Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson and other members of
organizations such as Project 21 who have been saying the same
thing for years?
It is disgustingly offensive
on its face that the mainstream media would bestow integrity
and value upon those who preach that which imprisons from pulpits
funded by and founded upon immiseration - yet question the moral
worthiness of one who offers tangible solutions to the barren
wastelands of hopelessness.
Malcolm Moore is a writer for
the black leadership network Project 21. Comments may be sent
to [email protected].
Published by The National Center for Public Policy Research.
Reprints permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries
reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those
of Project 21.
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