Bill Cosby……Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids……The Huxtables…….the Jello pudding guy…….I Spy……..the Little Bill books……so much a part of my childhood, as well as my children’s. I’m not here to argue his guilt or innocence….the verdict has been handed down. It is what it is. And it’s incredibly sad…..
I remember being upset and disappointed in the downfall of O.J. Simpson. He had been such a charismatic personality, and the events playing out on television each day became part of our lives. It was sad, but O.J. had not had the same positive impact on lives as Bill Cosby has. Bill Cosby depicted African Americans and their families in ways that were positive, and lifted them up, during times when a lot of America was only portraying the negative, perpetuating ethnic stereotypes. He helped them believe that everyone can make something of themselves with an education and hard work. He contributed to charitable causes such as the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and the Jackie Robinson Foundation. He was a supporter of educators and literacy projects (his son was dyslexic). The Little Bill books that my son had taught life lessons to early readers in a sweet storybook. He and his wife have created scholarships for hundreds (maybe thousands) of recipients. And he made ALL of us laugh. You can’t deny it. He was funny…..especially when it came to his skits with children. He brought a lot of good to the world, and yet behind closed doors, had a completely different personality. All of those good things he did will now be tainted or scarred because of his conviction for sexual assault. I can’t watch the news because it makes me so sad. Of course, he wasn’t who we thought he was (what television personality is?), but he was doing a lot of good things…..and unfortunately, bad things.
I have heard a story that Cosby wanted to buy NBC, and there were people who didn’t like this because of his color. They knew he had these allegations against him by different women, so they used it to bring him down, in order to keep him from buying the network….”we’ll show him!” Now….this could be an excuse. It could be his team playing a bit of the race card. Or, it very well could be true. Whether or not you want to admit it, racism is alive and well! I’ve seen it more than I want to admit. There are an awful lot of powerful white men who have been accused of the same type of behavior, and are not facing jail time. Sure, they may have lost their million dollar jobs and their status in their field, but they’re not facing charges in court……yet. To be honest with you, I don’t believe every woman who makes these accusations. I do think that a lot of them are out for their 15 minutes of fame, money, or to ruin a man’s career and/or life. But each one should be heard until a decision/verdict is made. The deserve to be heard. We can’t ignore them.
Bill Cosby should pay for his actions, as anyone should who commits the same type of acts. But what about the good things he did? Do they just get erased? Are the scholarships now gone? One of my students was looking at a “Little Bill” book the other day. Does Bill Cosby’s conviction mean that the lessons in these wonderful books are no longer relevant and helpful? I know I also learned a lot of lessons from Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids every Saturday morning. And what about the Huxtables…….you know there were a lot of other people involved in the making of that show. There were other actors, writers, producers, directors, stage hands, etc. By pulling the show off of television, those other actors also lose their royalties, and they did nothing wrong. Many of them were children! How about keeping the show on the air (it has been syndicated for many years), and ordering Bill Cosby to give 100% of his royalty shares to programs that help victims of sexual assault? If you don’t want to watch it, then don’t, but at least he would be forced to make amends in some way, and the rest of the cast can receive the money they deserve.
The man obviously has a dark side, but he also had so much to give. It’s incredibly sad that all of the good he did will now be forgotten. Yes, his accusers did the right thing. I fully support them. But let’s not erase the good things. In fact, let’s continue some of those good things. Let’s contribute to charities, literacy programs, help children learn valuable lessons, look past color and stereotypes, and always, always, ALWAYS have a sense of humor.
Now let’s move forward, respecting each other, hearing each other, helping each other, and….making each other laugh.