As revealed in an interview with CNN, Bill Cosby believes that the root cause of Trayvon Martin’s shooting at the hands of George Zimmerman was the presence of guns and the pathology surrounding them. This opinion is fueled by the loss of his son Ennis at the hands of gun violence in 1997 and by the straight-up wisdom that reaching 74 years of age will give you. His message that holding and owning a gun changes one’s mindset is an important one that more Americans should listen to and become active in addressing. Bill Cosby also dismisses race as a factor worth worrying about in this incident, rhetorically asking: “What is solved by saying: ‘He’s a racist. That’s why he shot the boy.’ What solves that?” Watch:
It’s not clear what series of questions led Candy Crowley’s interview with Bill Cosby to touch upon the Trayvon Martin case, but whenever the mainstream media gravitates towards its appointed spokespeople for opinions the state of black America I get nervous (notice that the title card suggests that the prior topic was President Obama, which suggests that the discussion about Trayvon was not a natural segue). There is always the fear that the “spokesperson” opinion will be held up as the gold standard of black thought and used as permission to let otherwise important issues fall by the wayside. Esteemed actor and comedian Bill Cosby says that we race is not an issue, and therefore it must be so. Why can’t the rest of you black folks just listen to him?
Cosby is not saying that racism played no role in the Trayvon Martin shooting or that racism is dead, both of which are claims that a large segment of America would be relieved to hear from our beloved Cos. Still, it’s sad that the sound bite from this interview has already become Cosby’s dismissal of race as a key factor in the incident instead of his larger, more salient point about the dangerous nature of our society’s obsession with guns.