Analyzing How A Sociopath Named Bill Cosby Fooled Black America
In a single nutshell, Bill Cosby told us, as Blacks, that we should be just like him.
In the earlier years of his career, Cosby was a clean-cut, articulate humorist who rarely highlighted race relations in his comedy. At his peak, he adopted the moniker of “America’s Dad” and designed a persona of wholesomeness, as he made goofy faces and dressed in a sexually innocuous fashion. He worked with Black psychiatrists, musicians and professors to craft a fantastic, squeaky-clean image of Black excellence in his television shows, and he stressed that all Blacks should emulate that same representation. In his later years, he criticized and chastised poor African-Americans for a lack of self-motivation in the improvements of our communities and families. He created a clever avatar; the Bill Cosby that he thought we SHOULD see and idolize, rather than the person he actually was.
This is similar to what a sociopath does. A sociopath dons a conventional appearance, and surrounds himself in an aura of superficial charm. He manipulates the people and the situations around himself to serve his own selfish purposes. He is extremely narcissistic and grandiose in his speaking, and feels he is always correct. He is unable to feel remorse or guilt for anyone less fortunate than him. Throughout this article, I will parenthetically highlight how Bill Cosby fits the textbook profile of a sociopath perfectly, and committed heinous acts of rape, sexual indecency and abuse, while building and hiding behind an artificial shell of deflection, denigration, immaculacy and philanthropy.
What’s mostly ironic about Cosby is that he excelled in a White world by taking the only avenues of advancements presented to Black Americans at that time, and later in his life said those same Black Americans should pull themselves up by their bootstraps and not blame White Americans for a lack of avenues. He dropped out of school in the tenth grade (early behavioral problems, juvenile delinquency) and joined the Navy, after he grew tired of stocking shelves at a supermarket. He received a college scholarship to Temple through a track and field scholarship, not because of academics. Even when he started his stand-up career, his act was non-racially charged, and his jokes didn’t provoke or antagonize White audience members, which made him a mainstream draw. Yes, he did it his way, in some sense, but he also did it the ONLY way a Black person seemingly COULD do it at that time, so as not to step on the toes of his White counterparts. You can argue that Cosby’s advancements was taken on the path of least resistance.
I wouldn’t liken myself to a criminal psychologist, but I would also think that the path of least resistance would also be the modus operandi of a serial drug rapist. It definitely fits the profile of a sociopath; to meet a woman under the guise of charisma and friendliness (glibness and superficial charm), to lure and ensnare her in a luxurious apartment or hotel room (manipulation), and to take advantage of her not by physical domination, but to slip a pill into her drink unknowingly and ensuring as little struggle by the victim as possible (need for stimulation, promiscuous sexual behavior). With or without force, the act is equally despicable.
Cosby took a stance of unwavering Black conservatism; he didn’t deny the existence of racism, although he greatly excluded White intervention as a factor of it. He pointed the finger solely on Black people, saying that we should strengthen our own families, traditions and communities, and rebuked Black folks for not taking more personal responsibility. In short, that we should stop worrying so much about White people and that we should focus on ourselves. Egocentrism and grandiose behavior are also symptoms of a sociopathic and psychopathic mind.
In the May 2008 issue of The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates highlights the infamous “Pound Cake” speech and its jarring effect on Black Americans everywhere, and even though the brilliant Coates implicates him as an elitist and narcissist in an earlier article, (he even quips that ‘there were no toilets in the Huxtable home’, a line I enjoyed) he even commends Cosby on his overall message of self-reliance and inner pride: …“I wished, then, that my 7 year old son could have seen Cosby there, to take in that same basic message that I endeavor to serve him every day-that manhood means more than virility and strut, that it calls for discipline and dutiful stewardship. That the ultimate fate of black people lies in their own hands, not in the hands of their antagonists. That as an African-American, he has a duty to his family, his community, and his ancestors.” Coates even mentions the 2006 allegations in said article in a few sentences, but doesn’t spend too much time highlighting the issue.
Coates isn’t the first African-American to deify Cosby as a image of Black empowerment and lightly gloss over the multiple allegations brought against him in the 2000’s. Accusers continued to come forward, and the majority of the Black populace around Cosby remained in disbelief. In 2007, he had settled a civil lawsuit brought against him by the woman’s basketball director of operations at Temple University for sexual assault, but continued to serve on that same school’s board of trustees until he was forced to step down seven years later when more allegations surfaced. Even as late as November 2014, schools like Temple, Morehouse, and Spelman College were on the fence of whether or not they should sever ties with the Cosby family.
Spelman is the most outstanding account with various connections to the Cosbys. They received a $20 million donation in 1988 from Bill and Camille, and two of their daughters attended Spelman. The campus was used in filming of Cosby’s television productions. Also, he gave the commencement speech at the same school in 2006 (all the while giving depositions in the civil case previously mentioned). Few can argue that Spelman College benefited the most from Bill and Camille’s money, and just the Cosby name alone attached to the school garnered extra donations from alumni and student interest in attending. You could even say the Cosbys had an intricate and major role in helping build Spelman into the school it is today. And just now, over a full year after a dozen allegations come out against Cosby, does the college decide to terminate his professorship.
It makes you wonder. I’m not saying that any of these college knowingly accepted donations from a protected serial rapist; I’m just saying. But honestly, how can we hold these schools accountable when we were fed the same skillfully-crafted lie as they were?
After all, Bill Cosby is a professional actor, both on and off the stage. And not only was he a Black celebrity, he was THE Black celebrity. He was a ROCK STAR. He played tennis with James Brown. He was idolized by everyone who shook his hand. In the 80’s, he was the star of the most-watched television sitcom in all of America. He was the Black Bob Hope; his smile was warm and non-threatening, just like the facade he created, and he used that to his advantage every day of his life.
Another thing about celebrities and rock stars is that they can afford excellent lawyers. His legal team said the same thing we all wanted to believe; that these allegations were brought by money-hungry harlots, jaded by Cosby’s dismissals for financial assistance and looking to slander and besmirch a well-loved public idol for personal gain. In the civil suit Andrea Constand brought against Cosby in 2006, she alleges that he granted an exclusive interview that preceding year, but only if they trash a story about sexual allegations brought by another woman (again, more manipulation).
When this information was presented to the Cosby camp, Marty Singer, Cosby’s lawyer at the time, dismissed the statement, and said Cosby later chose not to do the interview because “it would deprive her of her good name, credit, and reputation” (criminal versatility). Singer also said in the same interview that Constand “either directly or by implication….asked for money”. The article goes on to describe how Cosby’s legal team got the National Enquirer to scrap a similar allegation brought by Beth Ferrier, to which I believe is the same case Constand is referring. An avalanche of allegations later followed (I believe the count is up to 57 now, but here is a link to 55 accusers), and here we are today. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, it just might be… a serial rapist.
Black America was stunned. How could this be? This was the man who came into our households every week through the television. He wore ugly sweaters and danced like a broken appliance, like most of our fathers do. Comedians would later speak on how he ostracized them for cursing in their acts. He believed (his character, at least) in education before women (more criminal and entrepreneurial versatility). Most of all, he was arguably the most prolific Black male role model of the latter half of the 20th century, and he, of all people, was VERY aware of that fact. How could this man, who told us as Black men to focus more on books than girls, actually be a sexual predator?
Some Blacks still stay doubtful of the dozens of allegations and remain as Cosby loyalists, putting his character and his accomplishments over his transgressions. Damon Wayans called the majority of allegations “a money-hustle”, and goes on to say “[he] wouldn’t want to be someone to take down [his] hero; I think we need heroes.” Eddie Griffin supports the claim that this is part of a larger conspiracy, saying, “There is a systematic effort to destroy every Black male entertainer’s image.” Even one of Cosby’s accusers, Jewel Allison says when she came out, she “felt that [she] had betrayed Black America” and remained silent for over 30 years because of the effect it may have on the African-American community. “I felt both physically violated and emotionally bamboozled. Still, I didn’t want the image of Dr. Cliff Huxtable reduced to that of a criminal. For so many of the African-American men I knew, William H. Cosby Ed.D. provided a much-needed wholesome image of success, and the character he made famous was their model for self-worth and manhood. I knew that, in my reluctance to add my assault to the even more severe allegations facing Cosby, I was allowing race to trump rape.”
Listen, people; NO Black person feels good about researching or speaking on the case(s) of Bill Cosby. Personally, I was raised in a household where we as children were called into the living room specifically to watch The Cosby Show. The show served as a blueprint to Black people and a motivation to grow to be better than even WE thought we could be, and now few can take in a few minutes of that same program without feeling a weight of unmentionable sadness and betrayal. Michael Eric Dyson, though an opponent of Cosby’s Black conservatism and curmudgeon-like statements in his twilight years, still spoke on the impact this charge has on the Black community. “This is an entire edifice of iconic and symbolic blackness shattered by this charge.”
Damon Young, the editor-in-chief of peaks bluntly in an article for which I share the same sentiments. “For those who seem to believe that the Black writers and reporters who’ve written negatively about Cosby are frothing at the mouth at the opportunity to tear him down, this is the part they neglect to consider. I am not happy about any of this. I did not decide to write for a living so I could talk s—t about Bill Cosby, the alleged sexual predator, and his pool of dangerously irrational supporters.”, s
Is it completely irrational though? As a Black person, it seems absolutely rational to be wary of any claim against a prominent Black role model. We, as a culture, have always had our positive role models taken from us by force, or have seen their choices and their character challenged. And with the exception of OJ Simpson, Black men have never been favored in winning any battle within the legal system. As a race of people who have been and are presently disenfranchised and victimized by the criminal justice system on a frequent basis, why should we put any faith in it now? How can we be entirely sure?
We can be sure of one thing: this is exactly what Bill Cosby wants you to think. This is how he thinks you should feel, and this is what he EXPECTS of you.
This has been the problem will Bill Cosby all along; the idea that we should live up to HIS expectation; that if all Black people in America don’t have a doctorate degree and a brownstone, it’s because we are lazy, shiftless, and unmotivated. The deep-rooted audacity that Black people need him more than he needs us was finally exposed, which also brought his sociopathic behavior more to light. His grandiose nature went off the charts. He was incapable of feeling compassion for his less financially fortunate brethren. His old age led to poor behavior control; he was filled with rage and anger at this Black Superfamily-finish line he set for us, to which many never reached. He set a brass ring 20 feet high, told us we weren’t jumping high enough, and scolded us for our effort. Towards the end of his career, Cosby had shown himself for what he truly was; proud, bourgeois, indignant, and unapologetic.
Some Black folks ask, “Why now?” Why drag this man on a ‘perp-walk’ when he’s blind in one eye and about to be 80 years old? Maybe because this was the only time to do so; we had to wait for the Huxtable mystique to wash and wear off. Cosby no longer had a mask of moral upstanding to hide behind on a weekly basis. No jury in the world; white, black, purple, or plaid would have convicted that man at that time, and, in the end, every man should pay for his transgressions in some type of currency. He destroyed over 50 lives, and he did it with a smile on his face for 50 years.
The lesson to all of this is to not look to the television for our heroes, and maybe we should emulate and follow the practices of the positive Black men we work with side-by-side on a daily basis. After all, the TV is a tool for storytellers, so what better place for a sociopath to function?
And yes, Wayans is right, we SHOULD have heroes, but they shouldn’t be part-time, and these heroic actions should not be performed for ulterior motives to protect a sinister agenda. Also, a woman should have the choice on whether or not she wants her hero to have sex with her or not, and that’s the bottom line.
Perhaps Cosby should win an Oscar after all; this was the best performance I’ve even seen in my life.
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