Saturday, March 2, 2024

TONI THORNE: The Cosby shame


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ALWAYS BE VERY WARY of people who sit on thrones of self-righteousness and talk down to people. Years ago, Bill Cosby went across the United States of America giving fireside chats in an effort to “enlighten black people”.

Some of his criticisms were the names black people give their children, the attitudes and behaviours of low income black people and the popularity of black men wearing their pants low.

Ironically, at a time when Mr Cosby was instructing black men to pull up their pants, he was allegedly and disgustingly pulling his down. Over 40 women have made rape allegations against him.

Whilst his statue at Disney will be taken down, some organisations are still remaining loyal to his very tarnished brand. The popular television show, The Cosby Show, has experienced some uncertainty with whether or not networks will conduct reruns.

His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame will remain amidst calls by black civil rights activists to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to remove his star.

Many people (who actually care) are disappointed in Cosby. Why? Anyone who establishes himself as a role model and then his less than upstanding characteristics are exposed, would warrant disappointment. Secondly, people often liken a character an actor plays to his real life personality.

Many assumed that Bill Cosby was exactly like Dr Huxtable. This is believable. I was once told by a local actor who played a rapist in the local film that a few Barbadians saw him islandwide and taunted him. One person even spat on him.

It is interesting to note that the list of women had to reach the number 42 for some of the Bill Cosby supporters to even believe the claims by these women.

It is still very much a man’s world. An argument surfaced which claimed that a man with so much money and fame as Cosby would never need to rape a woman.

As Garnett Silk sang “A man is just a man”. This supports any notion that a poor man would be more inclined to rape a woman. It also supports any notion that women are more inclined to want to have sexual intercourse with men who are famous and rich.

I heard callers on the radio dismissing the fact that international news was focusing on Bill Cosby’s plight and requested that other serious matters such as the fact that black churches are being burnt down be featured.

Rape is a serious matter. Bill Cosby is or was an icon – depending on how you look at the situation. He is a global household name. Why shouldn’t the media focus on this scandal? Focusing on this situation does not make the issues of racism any less important.

Speaking of racism, what many found disgusting on Cosby’s part was the fact that he cited racism as the reason why all these allegations were being made against him.

Forty-two women who have no connection to each other accused Mr Cosby of rape. Instead of sitting in any of his interviews and seriously addressing the matter, he danced around the issues.

My greatest disappointment is that fact that Cosby has joined a line of black men who have thrown away the opportunity to build and attain a legacy that black young men can seek to emulate. What disgusts me is the fact that all of this was done as a result of oppressing women. If we have an issue with racist persons burning down black churches, we must also take issue with black role models who talk down to other black people. It is only fair when life proves them to be hypocrites working against the fight for black empowerment and upliftment. All of Cosby’s credibility has gone down the drain.

If we actually did agree with his comments, they hold little value now in the fight for black empowerment simply because he made them. In conclusion, Bill Cosby is a grave disappointment – not only to black people but to all.

Toni Thorne is a young entrepreneur and World Economic Forum Global Shaper who loves global youth culture, a great debate and living in paradise. Email


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