Desecrating an icon

William T. Robinson, Jr.

William T. Robinson, Jr.

It is with profound sadness I find one of the Black community’s best-loved icons and world humanitarians being emasculated and vilified without the benefit of being innocent until proven guilty. I for one do not condone actions of sexual abuse if the allegations are substantiated, but if anyone deserves the respect of being given the benefit of doubt, I truly belief Bill Cosby should qualify. His monetary contributions and positive activism against discriminatory practices have guided many people (especially African Americans) into achieving positive and productive roles in society. His personal endorsement and support have been well documented, especially as attaining to helping comedians and actors though doors that may have not been possible.

Throughout his career, Cosby has pushed education as a conduit to bettering one’s plight in life and spoken out against the profanity and negativity associated with the way some Black artists depicted the African American community in a derogatory matter. Whether you agreed with him or not, he has tried to present Blacks in a positive light to overcome all the deflated stigmas and negative stereotypes. Cosby unapologetically prompted Blacks to seriously look at their role in their demise and stop making excuses and blaming others. He railed that African Americans could and should take a more active role in taking ownership of their destiny. He has always demanded the best from African Americans, advocating that they stop being ‘victims’ by becoming proactive and demanding the respect they are due through their own valiant actions. The mere fact that he went on to pursue a Ph.D. (Doctor of Education) was a shining example that he was not just talking the talk, but walking the talk. The positive influence he has had on children, especially children of color, is legendary. He has helped African American children as well as adults see themselves as special and unique individuals—complementary in a world where the media as a whole, tries to dehumanize and trivialize their worth.

Personally, he was the first Black actor to star in a series (I Spy) depicting a Black man in a positive matter with no buffoonery. He is a star whose shine may be but stymied, but not diminished.

Accusations of sexual rape are continuously mounting against Cosby and going against one’s better judgment. Right or wrong, like many others, I cannot find it in my heart to count him out. I totally sympathized with those if they were truly victimized and hope they find some solace in seeking closure. There is no way one can justify sexually raping anyone, and years cannot drown out the pain. I know if any female member of my family was raped, I would be incensed, probably unforgiving, and seeking justice.

Playing the devil’s advocate, Cosby may have had many demons operating in his past. But when you look at the good he has manifested, it should count for something. Unless we the public were totally blindsided, it doesn’t make sense that this man who has served as a father role model for a whole generation of children, promoted education, decency in television, and given millions to HBCUs is unworthy of vindication. Until the courts or a legitimate prosecuting entity has proved him guilty, he should be given our support—the benefit of doubt.

Regardless of the outcome, I personally cannot divorce Cosby from the monumental impact he has had in making a positive difference in so many people’s lives. If found guilty, he must work to find forgiveness from those he may have hurt, his family, and his God. I personally choose not to play judge and ostracize a man whose overall accomplishments speak for themselves.

Shame on the one-sided media for its sensationalism promoting its own public interests solely for ratings and selling newspapers and magazines. I for one, refuse to buy in on their quest to totally destroy yet another Black icon. Bill Cosby’s case is one wherein you shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Regardless of the outcome, I thank Bill Cosby for the positive impact he has made in enriching the lives of so many.