Whatever your opinion on the veracity of the claims by scores of women– 40 or so supposedly?– that Bill Cosby drugged and raped or sexually assaulted them, one thing is for certain: these allegations have erupted a national debate. As the victims stood up, one by one, to seek justice, lines clearly drawn in the sand. Many in the Black community spoke up in support of Cosby, while others readily condemn his actions. However, at this point, the sheer number of allegations made against the once family man are almost impossible to wholly dismiss or reject. Still, many are coming up with reasons why the public should not condemn Cosby until he has been found guilty of his crimes and these individuals come with tons of arguments as to why he could still be innocent.
Many of these arguments are pushed by Black men who would prefer to protect a possible serial rapist, than stand with and for victims of rape, which is a bit telling. Nevertheless, it is important that the flawed logic of such arguments is presented.
8 Responses To Arguments That Support Bill Cosby
1. “Bill Cosby is innocent until proven him guilty” or “let him see his day in court.” Somehow, Black folk have managed to adopt this thinking, despite the obvious and indisputable fact that the court system was not made to find justice for the powerless or disenfranchised. Perhaps these individuals suffer from acute amnesia or simply have not noticed that no one has been held accountable for the murder of multiple unarmed Black victims of police brutality. Just last week, Tamir Rice’s family found out that there would be no justice in the case where their son was shot down in broad daylight, in a park, by an officer who barely got out of their car for a minute before opening fire on the young man. The list of families and individuals who will never find justice in America’s court/judicial system is ever-growing and many on that list include rape victims who often do not have the power or resources to bring their attackers to justice.
After all, since most rape victims are women and we know very well that the court system was not designed to empower women who were long considered the property of their husbands, it should not be difficult to draw a parallel between the ill-treatment of women by the court system and Black people (some of whom also happen to be women) since both groups treated as property at the inception of the system’s creation and not granted the rights of full personhood.
2. Times were different in the 60’s and 70’s when Bill Cosby may have possibly drugged his victims. When we consider the reality that marital rape was not made illegal until the 1970s, it is indeed easy to see that times were different a few decades ago in the case of rape. Heck, a man could have raped his wife with no fear of reprisal. Perhaps times are different because women have more– albeit still limited– protections from sexual assault by men. However, this is no justification for protecting or justifying the actions of an alleged rapist.
Not to mention, though many of his victims came forward about attacks that happened during the 60s and 70s, the incidences that he is being taken to court over span through those decades all the way up until 2008 when Chloe Goins alleged he sexual assaulted her at the Playboy Mansion when she was 18-years-old.
3. It’s women’s “victim mentality” that makes them want to throw Bill Cosby under the bus. The entire ideology that drives claims that demographics are simply playing victim comes directly from Whites who claim racism isn’t a real thing and Blacks are just pretending to be victims. Examples of this can be found in claims that Black students who seek more diverse and welcoming campuses are being “coddled” and need to stop having a “victim mentality”. Matter of fact, author Tim Wise, a self-proclaimed anti-racist essayist wrote an article titled “Racism And The Myth Of A Victim Mentality” to address the many ways that people attempt to invalidate Black people’s claims of racism, by saying they carry around this “victim mentality.” It is absolutely appalling to see Black men and women adopt ideology used to invalidate them in discussions about racism, to now invalidate women’s rape allegations.
4. These women just want his money. Extortion is, indeed, real. People do many things for money, Yet, the odds of not one or two or three, but 20, 30 or 40 women coming forward to claim Cosby sexually assaulted them simply for money seems completely implausible. There are many, many rich men in this country and none are facing allegations of sexual assault by that number of women.
5. Why are Cosby’s victims only coming forward now? This is founded on the wholly inaccurate idea that victims have not been coming forward for quite some time. While many of Cosby’s victims did come forward in 2014-2015, many had prior to that as well. Matter of fact, Andrea Constad filed a civil suit in 2005 against Cosby, where 13 other women including Beth Ferrier, were to serve as witnesses against him. Ferrier claimed that he drugged her coffee and when she finally woke up her clothes were disheveled and her bra unhooked. In that same year, Tamara Green shared her story on the Today Show where she claimed he gave her pills that would help her sleep with her flu symptoms which knocked her out. She woke up undressed with him groping her. In 2006, Barbara Bowman came forward and told People Magazine that Cosby drugged her and forcibly tried to rape her. Any claims that Cosby’s victims have not long been vocal about his abuse is plainly ignorant and unsubstantiated.
6. This is a conspiracy to tarnish Bill Cosby’s legacy. The only other thing responsible for tarnishing Bill Cosby’s legacy– other than himself– is Spanish Fly and Quaaludes, which he admittedly gave to women to have sex with them.
7. Black men have been stereotyped and treated unfairly by the media, so why should we believe them about Bill Cosby. Black men have been stereotyped and unfairly treated by the media, even by Cosby himself (i.e. “The Pound Cake Speech” for example). However, this is not about believing the media. It is about believing the scores of victims who have come forward, including women of color like Beverly Johnson, Lili Bernard, Jewel Allison and Kaya Thompson to name some.
8. I refuse to take any sides on this, or join any “lynch mobs” until all of the facts of the case have been presented. This statement is typically said by men, because it is true that they do not need to actually address the issue of misogyny and patriarchy that puts a man like Cosby in the position to fearlessly victimize countless women. Matter of fact, doing so is politically inexpedient for the numbers of men who may participate in rape culture to any varying degree– by getting a woman drunk to gain access to her body, perhaps lying to her for sex, etc. To actually change society to empower these women and strip such power from themselves and other men may be a power shift that some may not readily welcome. This leads to rejection and inaction.