Bill Cosby: Why Now?

I don't know if Bill Cosby drugged and raped women over the past four decades.  No one in the media knows, either – not the ladies on The View, not MSNBC, not the Washington Post, and certainly not black feminists calling for his head.  CNN's Don Lemon doesn't know, either.  In a second interview with one of Cosby's accusers, Lemon acted like a prosecutor when it came to her claims of forced oral sex, even going so far as to ask why she didn't “bite” Cosby.

So far, the only alleged victim to file charges was paid off in 2006. Up until now, Cosby, along with his Cliff Huxtable character,  has survived the occasional news reports of alleged assaults.  As late as 2012, Saturday Night Live felt comfortable enough with Cosby's public image to parody his top-rated 1980s sitcom, The Cosby Show,  with their own version called The Obama Show.

Try comparing Barack Obama to Cliff Huxtable today.  Due to the severity of the recently surfaced accusations, Netflix and NBC have already canceled upcoming specials, and the actor's lawyers are in damage control mode.  TV Land is pulling reruns of his long-running sitcom.

Cosby is finished.  The star’s guilt or innocence will eventually work itself out, or not.  But a peripheral question emerges from the barrage of coverage this story has received: why has the mainstream media suddenly come down on the 77-year-old former TV star like a proverbial ton of bricks when allegations of sexual assault have been swirling around Cosby for decades?

Cosby's latest troubles started when a Chicago-born comic, Hannibal Buress, skewered the septuagenarian at Philadelphia's Trocadero Theatre on October 16.  Until then, the newest rape accusations weren't  getting much play in the media.  At the time,  Buress was riding high after a September gig at the Verizon Center in D.C. and a write-up in the Washington Post.  His Philadelphia act, which included the lines below, ignited the firestorm now engulfing Cosby, and it didn't take long for his attack on Cosby to hit the mainstream.

From Philly Magazine:

... And it's even worse because Bill Cosby has the [f******] smuggest old black man public persona that I hate, "Pull your pants up black people. I was on TV in the 80's. I can talk down to you because I have had a successful sitcom. Yeah, but you raped women Bill Cosby, so brings you down a couple of notches[.]

The comic wasn't the only voice out there calling Cosby a rapist and dissing his sitcom.  Brittney Cooper, a black feminist academic and co-founder of the Crunk Feminist Collective blog, came out with her own take on the Cosby mess.  Nothing enrages a feminist like the sight of a functional nuclear family, and Cooper is no exception.  Her October 24 article on CFM entitled "Clair Huxtable is Dead: On Slaying the Cosbys...” appeared a week after Buress's stand-up.  Cooper seized on the alleged victims' cries of rape to air her personal views on The Cosby Show – namely, that black folks like the Huxtables promote white privilege.  For Cooper, the traditional nuclear, upwardly mobile family is a racist, oppressive social construct that "never was."

From "Clair Huxtable is Dead":

Now that a Black male comedian Hannibal Burress [sic] has had the courage to take Cosby to task for his conservative, anti-poor, misogynistic respectability rants, people are listening again. ...

And since Bill Cosby is a rapist, his avatar Cliff Huxtable is a representational terrorist, holding us hostage to a Black family that never was. But let him die. ...

[I]t has long been time to slay the Huxtable patriarch. So Cliff Huxtable, you're dead to me! ...

[E]verybody should be clear that Clair Huxtable is dead, too.

The Cosby Show, which premiered in 1984 during the Reagan era, birthed a new paradigm in television.  For the first time, an upper middle-class black family unit was seen in a positive light.  Its predecessors , shows like Good Times, Sanford and Son, and The Jeffersons, depicted angry, boisterous black fathers, some using the N-word and calling white people "honkies."

By contrast, the highly rated Cosby Show rarely dealt with race issues or the contemporary black experience.  Bill Cosby's character, a successful physician and caring father, raised the bar and created a foundational narrative built on what black families could be – especially if they didn't spend all their time railing against "whitey."  After 20 years of failed multi-billion-dollar government welfare programs and social justice scammers like the Children's Defense Fund, Americans of all colors embraced the Huxtables.  The show's popularity and stellar ratings suggested that the American Dream was not dead – only dormant.

The Dream for many  began in the 1950s with the rise of the middle class.  By the mid-1960s, more and more blacks were moving away from poverty and into the middle class.  But this upward mobility began to seriously stall with Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty.  As the welfare rolls rose, so did the number of single-parent black families led by females.  Race-baiters, activists, socialists, and Ivy League scholars were out in force and quick to deride anyone for daring to criticize single mothers in the black community.  The first female president of Howard University said, "One must question the validity of the white middle class lifestyle from its very foundation because it has already proven itself to be decadent and unworthy of emulation."  Feminists loved this kind of talk since they, like Cooper, saw the nuclear family as economically oppressive and husbands/fathers as the oppressors.  In her writings, the Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison glorified the suffering single black mother as superior to a married white mother bound to one man in an unequal relationship.

By the 1980s, Americans, including blacks feeling the effects of generational welfare, were opening their eyes to the devastation caused by ivory tower-dwellers far removed from the inner-city ghettoes.  No wonder The Cosby Show was such a big hit.  Its popularity reflected what  the majority of Americans  needed and still need – a mother and father working together to provide a better life for their children.  In 1989, while Barack Obama was listening to Reverend Jeremiah Wright degrade middle-class values, The Cosby Show was number one in the ratings.

Now, twenty years later, 85% of all black children in poverty live in single-mother households, there’s  skyrocketing  black-on-black crime, and Americans across the nation are waking up to the realization that  their tax dollars have been subsidizing dependency and degeneracy for fifty years.  It’s the ’80s all over again.  Progressives are feeling the rumblings of mass discontent.  The Huxtables must be destroyed.  It's too risky.  Ferguson is looming.  Black kids with no fathers and no moral compass can't have a mythical figure like Dr. Huxtable appearing in their living rooms every night, getting their hopes up.

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