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CURRENT IT TOPIC - Damn you!

I know. I have to weigh in on the Cosby sentence. Social media friends solicited my opinion. Why not? Everyone else has. I haven't written anything because, as usual, I prefer to process my feelings and decide which I'll share—I am still trying to figure out what I will post here. Doubt I'll draft many posts about Dr. William Cosby; the issues are more important than one man. Whatever I say here will bother you, no matter your position. Warning: I'll be all over the place. Let me begin by expressing solidarity with all victims of sex crimes. I pray for survivors' peace and healing. You are not alone. 


Here goes. Remember that golden birthday party my guyz hosted for me over ten months ago? I've roamed this big blue marble for half a century. I'm a Cosby kid. I know. We're not allowed to reference that man and his work positively. Well, the first set of you are upset with me. I'm OK with that. Stay with me; soon, you'll have company. I was the target audience for "The Electric Company," "The Bill Cosby Show," "Fat Albert & The Gang," "The Cosby Show," and "A Different World." I grew up watching "I Spy" reruns on my local access television station when I couldn't play outside. I remember listening to L.P.s of his stand-up routines. Dr. Cosby developed something positive for each phase of my life. He consulted social development experts to create inclusive programming, the likes of which we'd never seen before. When it was my turn to raise Black children with a healthy sense of themselves, we devoured "Little Bill" books and television episodes. I bought the DVD collection of "The Cosby Show" and the whole thing. Our family watched every show together. Multiple generations enjoyed his work. I won't get into whether his professional history should be erased. If I did, we'd have to discuss doing the same for others. Some of you aren't ready for that discussion. 


Yes. Character is built at home. It's also torn down when one crosses her home's threshold into a world constructed to break her down. To combat this, our family uses tools. William Henry Cosby, Ed.D created some of those tools. Calm down. His tools have nothing to do with his crimes. I know the difference between dramatic characters, actors, writers, and producers. Let's be clear. He was all of those and more. What I'm saying is that my generation, especially African Americans in this age group, feel some way seeing him in handcuffs. Too many of us watching are survivors. We have intimate knowledge of the types of crimes he committed. We still hate seeing proof that a man whose work helped lift us would have harmed us if circumstances allowed. We're grappling with divorcing his crimes from his philanthropy and activism. The last bits of our innocence disintegrated when we watched him being led out of the courtroom to do the time for his crime. Jell-O pudding, a Coke, and the broadest smile can't make that feel better. We agree. He's where he belongs. We still think of some kind of way of witnessing it. Let's not get into giving a boon to those who love little more than seeing a successful man of color in cuffs. Some of you aren't ready to go there. 


"Clapping for Cosby's impending sentence? Please use equal zeal ensuring White offenders are convicted & non-White victims see justice." Yesterday, I posted that on social media. Don't stop with Bill Cosby. ALL tried. Convicted. Sentenced. Don't care only when a famous person is part of the case. ALL tried. Convicted. Sentenced. Don't give a pass when a case is difficult. ALL tried. Convicted. Sentenced. This entails believing victims, reporting crimes, processing rape kits, arresting offenders, testifying during trials, and going the distance to close the sex crime loop. It requires criminal justice reform so that wealthy and/or White defendants don't skate through the system while Black and Brown ones are assaulted by it. It means treating victims of color the same as White victims. Granted, all women are mistreated, ignored, and slut shamed in these situations, but White women have it a bit easier. At least the public pretends to care when they're assaulted. Nothing may be done about it, but occasionally, a few heads slowly shake, acknowledging the tragedy. Similar crimes within the gay community aren't recognized. Again, some of you aren't ready. 

Listen. We know he's guilty. He admitted it. Those arguing against jail time are seeking a screwed sense of fairness. Don't get it? It's like Black people cheering when OJ Simpson was acquitted. We are so tired of others getting away with crimes against us that we're willing to tarnish our morality for a tick in the win column. That's easier than fighting the losing battle of changing everything and everyone. That is precisely what has to happen to deal with misogyny and racism. We all have to change. Then we have to make changes. We must lose comfort and wade into the unknown, which promises fairness and equity. We don't know what that looks like, so we - all of us- would soak in muddy bathwater rather than get out of the tub and take a cleansing shower. 


We all know of the never-ending list of wealthy / White men who've gotten away with sex crimes. Just because they did doesn't mean Bill Cosby should. What should happen is that the world demands justice in the cases above. We must vote for people who will work for that justice. We must boycott products, services, and entertainment until owners do the right thing. We use our voices, feet, and votes. No one to vote for? Become that person. Run for office—campaign for someone who can be that person. Do the hard work. I know you're busy. We're all busy. The thing is this democratic system doesn't work unless everyone participates. Why have I taken a left into politics? I haven't. It's connected. Politicians determine municipal budgets. Want money in those budgets for rape kit testing? Vote for representatives who'll allocate it. See what I did there? Elementary. I know. You realize all of this and more. I'm just a friendly, annoying reminder, like the second snooze alarm. Time to wake up. 


Back to the current It Topic. If you felt satisfied seeing William H. Cosby in handcuffs, that's on you. Sights like that drill tiny, deep holes in my soul. Holes I have to fill with mindless entertainment, silly family time, service, and spirituality. Those sights remind me of suffering, goals yet to accomplish, and a society that allows such crimes. A society that parades perpetrators for amusement. As we watch the show, hoards of others are committing the same crime. Others who will never be known and, if known, will never formally be charged. Like many of my generation, I'm angry that Bill Cosby didn't live up to the myth. I'm pissed that most rapists aren't held accountable for their crimes.  


Dr. Cosby isn't the only person who devalues women. The world is dangerous and unfair to women—the more marginalized the woman, the worse her predicament. We're forced to raise our daughters with fear and to fear. Girls have to fear everything. Be on alert at all times, even when asleep. So, yeah, Bill Cosby got what he deserved. When will all survivors of sex crimes get what they deserve? 

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