The left in America, particularly African-Americans, are struggling to come to grips with Bill Cosby being charged with sexual assault, with some suggesting the mythical right-wing conspiracy is responsible for the level of support the iconic comedian has seen since charges began surfacing that he may be a serial abuser of women.
Support that would have allegedly been non-existent if he was a Black Lives Matter supporter.
MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry, subbing for Rachel Maddow, discussed the issue on Wednesday with Ebony Magazine senior editor Jamilah Lemieux and said people were interested in “preserving” Cosby’s image.
“We were ultimately more interested as a people, not just black folks, as Americans, in preserving this image,” she said. “This imagined notion of Bill Cosby, than in understanding actual women’s experiences and allegations.”
Lemieux pointed to what she called Cosby’s “respectability politics” — aka, being accountable for one’s actions — to question whether this was a factor in how willing people were to turn their backs on him.
“I can’t help but to wonder, say if Mr. Cosby didn’t have that sort of respectability politics, you know, heavy-handed against single mothers, and complicated-sounding names and wearing your pants low, and listening to hip hop … say that wasn’t who he was,” she said.
“Say that he was a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, right?” Lemieux continued. “Say that he was a leftist. Say that he was really on our side, quote unquote, politically. Would we be having this conversation? How willing would people be to turn their backs on him?”
Whether they agree with his politics or not, it’s proving to be a bitter pill for those who trade on the color of one’s skin to accept a black man of Cosby’s stature going down.
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