Bill Cosby: Jailed because He Is Black

Formerly nicknamed "America's Dad," Bill Cosby – convicted of ugly sex offenses – will have incarceration as his life's epilogue.

Cosby is the first high-profile figure felled criminally in the era of #MeToo.  This movement stretches back to 2006, when JustBe Inc. began the "me too Movement"as a program to support women who have suffered sexual abuse.  It took off as a cultural phenomenon with über-liberal actress Alyssa Milano's October 2017 tweet requesting that abuse survivors respond with the "me too" hashtag subsequent to the reporting of film producer Harvey Weinstein's prolific sexual misconduct.  Nearly two million #MeToo tweets went out before the end of that month. 

The #MeToo train gathered steam as other power brokers were called out for their indiscretions.  The media and the political swamp took hits: Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Al Franken, Eric Schneiderman.  A new epoch of justice had emerged; the days of tacit acceptance of nasty behavior by powerful men came to an abrupt end.  Even against those about whom claims of misconduct are questionable, the #MeToo hammer became a powerful bludgeon.  Just ask Brett Kavanaugh.

It is really no surprise, then, that in the current climate, Bill Cosby finds himself in jail.  This is not to suggest that Cosby is innocent of the charges; his case has been adjudicated twice, with the second trial resulting in a guilty verdict.  Of note, however, is that the convicting jurors indicated in their closing statement that they "believed [Cosby's] accuser's account and [were] persuaded of his guilt by the facts, not the momentum of social change captured in the #MeToo movement."

Kudos to the jurors if they were able to put aside the pressure of #MeToo in rendering their decision.  But unless this panel was composed of individuals whose technological savvy stopped with the telegraph, it is quite likely that, their protestations notwithstanding, #MeToo influenced (at least tacitly) the jurors' thinking. 

Beyond #MeToo, racial identity politics is an inescapable consideration in the Cosby case, yet the New York Times reported:   

"Not once were race or the #metoo movement ever discussed, nor did either factor into our decision, as implied in various media outlets," the jurors, whose names have not been released, said in the statement.

Maybe the jury was truly colorblind.  But by overtly denying that they were affected by racial factors, methinks the jury doth protest too much.  Would Cosby have been prosecuted – would the jury have convicted him – had he remained loyal to leftist racial politics?  We can never know for sure, but the jury came from Allegheny County – which CNN called a "blue pocket of the post-industrial United States," having voted 58% for Democrat Conor Lamb in the March 2018 special election.  It is not unreasonable to think a majority of the Cosby jurors were politically liberal. 

The left repeatedly complains that America administers unequal justice for black men.  Cosby's publicist, Andrew Wyatt, decried his client's sentence as the result of "the most racist and sexist trial" in American history.  This is somewhat hyperbolic (Emmett Till's family might disagree with Wyatt's pronouncement), but in the age of NFL kneelers, it is unlikely that racial identity politics did not figure in Cosby's case. 

What are we to make of a black male celebrity found guilty as charged while a cadre of similarly accused white notables (including the former POTUS, Bill Clinton) – who have been censured, fired, demoted, or ousted from office for the same type of bad behavior – have not faced criminal justice consequences?  Current leftist orthodoxy would have us believe that "white privilege" has shielded Weinstein, et al. from prosecution, while Cosby's color led him to a criminal conviction.  But the left has largely sat by idly in his case.  Why?  Because a form of racialism was dropped on the scales of justice against Cosby: that of a black American bucking the trend of liberal orthodoxy on race.

Cosby set himself up for abandonment by the left back in 2004, when he addressed the NAACP at a celebration commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision.  In his remarks that evening, Cosby is quoted as saying:

In our cities and public schools we have fifty percent drop out.  In our own neighborhood, we have men in prison.  No longer is a person embarrassed because they're pregnant without a husband.  No longer is a boy considered an embarrassment if he tries to run away from being the father of the unmarried child[.] ... In the neighborhood that most of us grew up in, parenting is not going on.  In the old days, you couldn't hooky school because every drawn shade was an eye.  And before your mother got off the bus and to the house, she knew exactly where you had gone, who had gone into the house, and where you got on whatever you had one and where you got it from.  Parents don't know that today.  I'm talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit.  Where were you when he was two?  Where were you when he was twelve?  Where were you when he was eighteen, and how come you don't know he had a pistol?  And where is his father, and why don't you know where he is? And why doesn't the father show up to talk to this boy?

Cosby's condemnation of the diminishing standards of conduct that he had observed in the black community tarnished his progressive credentials.  On CNN with Don Lemon in 2013, Cosby dug his own hole deeper by bemoaning the rampant fatherlessness among black families while calling for more black men to proactively participate in family life and childrearing. 

When criminal allegations began to surface in 2014, Cosby's stardom shielded him from immediate public outrage.  But dozens of alleged victims came forward, making the feasibility of his guilt palatable in the court of public opinion.  He survived a 2017 mistrial just before #MeToo reached its cultural apex, but in April 2018, Cosby was handed a guilty verdict. 

The #MeToo movement has taken down several prominent libidinous scalawags, but outside Cosby, none of these liberal elites has been indicted for a sex crime.  John Conyers, serving in Congress since 1965, was forced out of his House seat in December 2017 because of sexual harassment allegations, yet he has had no criminal charges filed against him.  Why not?  Could it be because Conyers, a black Democrat, has never strayed from liberal-progressive politics?  None of the white scoundrels exposed by #MeToo has ever abandoned his progressive dogma, either. 

Racial tension is characteristic of modern American politics.  The left is openly hostile toward any black American in the public eye who encourages blacks to engage in free thinking, hold a positive view of Donald Trump, or express concern about the internal problems of the black community.  Cosby had already slid into persona non grata status by being a black man willing to suggest that problems within black America are not exclusively the result of white racism.  Had Cosby stayed within the bounds of racial grievance expected of black Americans, perhaps he would be living in uncomfortable ignominy rather than dreading his retirement in an orange jumpsuit.

John Steinreich has an M.A. in church history from Colorado Theological Seminary.   He has authored two Christian-themed books available on Kindle: The Words of God? and A Great Cloud of Witnesses.  His works are also on Lulu Press.  He is currently developing a stage production on the life of Frederick Douglass.

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