Bill Cosby is no longer the accused. He is now the convicted. For sexually assaulting much younger, vulnerable women, many of whom, unconscionably, were unconscious. That was his Quaalude M.O. for uninvited sex with unwitting, young females. Mentor as monster. Throw away the key.
However, what makes these crimes all the more harmful, is that there is also a potential broader victim: society at large. In an America that has always been rife with racism, Cosby in his prime appealed to both sides of the racial divide with universal humor. From Fat Albert to Noah’s Ark to the familial musings of Dr. Huxtable. We really needed that. He reminded us of what we had in common–not conflict.
Red Foxx, Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy had their entertaining niches, which included raw language and bawdy routines. The family-friendly Cosby didn’t go there. In fact, he was even chided in activist circles for not being street-language hip and, not unlike Jackie Robinson, lulling white households into a false sense of civil rights success.
Cosby made no apologies. “A white person listens to my act and he laughs,” he once noted, “and he thinks, ‘Yeah, that’s the way I see it too.’ … And we both see things the same way. That must mean that we are alike. Right? So I figure this way I’m doing as much for good race relations as the next guy.”
Arguably more. That approach, however, should not be written off along with his evil doppelganger, predatory ways in real life. His universal humor should prevail as a reminder of what we all, regardless of race, have in common. It would be criminal to not build on that.