Yesterday my homeboy asked me if I had seen a piece of a stand-up routine with comedian and former Saturday Night Live writer Hannibal Buress basically accusing Bill Cosby of being a rapist. This is not new information, as allegations of Cosby drugging and sexually assaulting women (yes, that’s plural) have been brought to light in recent years. But it can easily be forgotten if you want to hold on to Cosby’s America’s dad image and ignore who he might be as a human being.
At one point Buress mocks Cosby and his now old, crochety grandfather and police of all things Black image and says:
“He gets on TV, ‘Pull your pants up, I was on TV in the 80s! I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom’ Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches.”
Check out the snippet of the Buress video below. Beware that it does have strong language.
Twitter and a few media outlets jumped on the comedy routine and all of a sudden Bill Cosby’s name is back in the news and for all the wrong reasons. Thirteen women filed lawsuits against Bill Cosby for drugging and sexually assaulting them. However, they settled out of court – which is usually how things work in these cases. The women usually get told that they will get their names and pasts dragged through the mud. Even though they are the victim, they are the ones who will be put on trial, so it’s best to just settle and not be embarrassed.
So color me not so surprised I guess when I saw plenty of Black men on Twitter “stanning” for Bill Cosby and saying that Black women just want to bring him down. We just don’t can’t let a Black man succeed. Excuse me, but what? I even saw a man question if the women had been truly raped then why would they settle out of court. Again I ask, what?
Black men, who have had to watch the lives and reputations of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown (to name a couple) be besmirched and demonized, know first hand that even when they are victimized, they are the ones who can quickly be turned into the aggressor, the criminal, the wrongdoer. Is it so hard to understand that when a woman accuses a man of rape that she basically has to go through the same thing? That she has to endure questions like: what were you wearing, how many drinks did you have, did you lead him on, why didn’t you report it immediately, maybe you were asking for it.
It is even more difficult when going up against with a man with money, power, and prestige. Bill Cosby has been able to carefully craft an image of respectable statesman, warm-hearted father and granddad, loveable curmudgeon. People don’t want to believe that he is capable of doing these things. But maybe he is. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but everyone (even the people we love the most) is capable of doing horrible and heinous things. Buress, a Black man called Cosby out. Sure, there was humor involved. But there was an ugly truth behind it as well.
But some men just don’t get it.
When a woman’s word is dismissed, especially by men who should know better, who have to go through the same thing in a different way, it hurts. It dismisses. It oppresses. It suffocates. It humiliates. It silences.
Diana Veiga is a Spelman woman, a DC resident, and a freelance writer. Of course, she’s also on Twitter.