Let me be clear. Bill Cosby never sexually attacked me.
But he had my ears.
Like many kids of my generation, long before iTunes, I remember listening to an album, on some black vinyl also called an LP, for “long play” because it played at 33 1/3 revolutions versus say 45 or 78, which of course, was the spins on the turntable of your record player.
We were poor, but we had a record player.
And after my sister finished playing her Marvin Gaye albums, I got to listen to my favorite: “Bill Cosby is a very funny fellow…Right!”
I liked that Bill Cosby. A lot.
He told stories about those “little tiny hairs on my face,” which even made a pre-pubescent boy like me laugh.
And then there were the Noah stories, where the voice of God asks, “Noah, how long can you tread water?”
It didn’t work on the nuns at Catechism, but I just want to establish … I loved that Bill Cosby.
Less so all the other versions of Cos. He’s been the TV Spy; the TV Dad; the doctorate in education from UMass; the moralizing parent chiding others to teach their children; and now this new version, the 77-year old who prefers silence when it comes to rape.
I sure wish I could get the truth from him.
As a reporter, I’d give him all the time he wants.
Just tell it to me straight.
The list of folks who have a bad tale of Cosby involving some form of assault is getting absurd.
The only way to stop it all is to come clean.
Silence no longer works.
Not when you’re in a very constant public debate about some very serious matters.
Cosby must realize that silence doesn’t work when you’re a public person known for making pronouncements on matters like how Black families should teach their children morals.
Here’s the Wikipedia reference:
“In May 2004, after receiving an award at the celebration of the 50th Anniversary commemoration of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling — a ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court that outlawed racial segregation in schools — Cosby made public remarks critical of African Americans who put higher priorities on sports, fashion, and “acting hard” than on education, self-respect, and self-improvement, pleading for African-American families to educate their children on the many different aspects of American culture”
When you’re that outspoken, silence is no longer an option. Not when you’re accused of living your life in a contradictory fashion.
Acknowledging that these women are making old, outdated claims isn’t good enough.
The statute of limitations in court may be over, but there’s no statute of limitations on the truth.
And now that victims have broken their silence it’s time for a more forceful statement ― if there is one.
I don’t like the fact that things are crumbling around Cosby and that his deals on shows are falling apart. The Treasure Island casino just cancelled.
Sure, he has a right to free speech. But nothing can really go forward until he addresses the situation head on.
Until he does, his fans, supporters and employers get to express their right ― to avoid the silent Cosby.
At, 77, maybe he can get a job at a university teaching Fat Albert, the subject of his dissertation, or lecturing on drama.
Maybe that’s the way he can serve a kind of penance as he rehabs his way out of this one, and back into our hearts.
Or maybe, he doesn’t. We’ve got enough memories. If Cosby wants silence so be it. If he does lead a duplicitous life, he can be free to continue to do so. And the only people it matters to are those immediately involved who get to see the real Cos.
What he does is his business, his conscience and the law’s.
It also means the public no longer will be duped by the image to buy tickets to shows and such.
If silence is his best answer, that may be the best way.
Cosby has lost his standing as a public scold on morality.
And like Noah, he can’t tread water much longer.
Emil Guillermo writes on issues of race, culture and politics for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (www.aaldef.org/blog). Like him at www.facebook.com/emilguillermo.media and on Twitter @emilamok.