FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

From Cosby To Ferguson

I knew there was something creepy about Bill Cosby when I ran into him in 1978 in San Francisco at Enrico’s, a trendy tourist stop on Nob Hill.  He was sitting with a white couple and I was passing out fliers for Huey’s upcoming trial. I handed the couple a flyer.

Cosby jumped up and lit in to me as I began to speak. Cosby ranted, “Huey Newton is nothing but a thug and a hoodlum!”

He continued his diatribe for about another minute.  As I looked down upon him, angry thoughts entered my mind. Before I joined the movement, I had looked up to Cosby just as millions of other black people. He and Robert Culp starred in the TV series I Spy as undercover CIA agents masquerading as globe trotting professional tennis players. It was the first such role for a black actor.

At that moment as I stood there, Cosby had me feeling defensive about our embattled leader whose star power had diminished by 1978. Some of Cosby’s accusations hit close to home. After all, at the time, Huey was facing his own allegations and Cosby was the squeaky clean successful Hollywood actor. Like everyone else, I did not know about Cosby’s rampage of drugging, assaulting, manipulating, and raping women. Despite his dark secrets, Cosby was quickly becoming a rising star just as the black resistance movement was slowly dying.

The government wanted nothing more than to wash away that period of revolution and resistance of the 60s and 70s. And it was people like Cosby who played a critical role in helping black America to forget that very special part of American history. Cosby became the new funny face of black America. First, he was the smiling Jello pusher.

Then came the first show of its kind: a sitcom about a highly successful black gynecologist and his upper-class family, starring yours truly Bill Cosby. There would be no more Good Times and JJ’s ghetto community in the projects struggling for day-to-day survival. Or What’s Happening!! with Raj, his single Mama, his friends Dwayne and Rerun, and his pouty little sister Dee.

With a hit show, Cosby went on to become filthy rich and very powerful with connections in Hollywood. He was soon followed by Oprah who wanted to be just like Bill – wealthy while accommodating whites and mollifying blacks.  I remember the 80s hit “Don’t Worry Be Happy” by singer Bobby Mcferrin. In reality, there was little to be happy about while the gang wars, crack epidemic, and HIV/AIDS hysteria was just beginning to cause havoc in the black community.  On top of that, you had Ronald Reagan ushering America into an era of neoliberal political culture. Under the spell of materialism and individualism, we forgot all about our collective resistance and the murderous killing of Fred Hampton and the sacrifices of so many others from Medgar Evers and Malcom X to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Years of police murder, brutality and mass imprisonment of Black and Latino males pass with little outcry. Then, Ferguson erupts as a response to the killing of an average young black man, Mike Brown. And seemingly out of nowhere, a new movement is born, reminding us that our struggle for justice and equality is never-ending.

The Ferguson rebellion along with the deaths of Eric Garner and Trayvon Martin and all the other innocent black males killed by overzealous cops have sparked our memories to come back. And in the midst of this newfound resistance, Cosby’s many victims are surfacing and speaking out after years of silence, trauma and shame, exposing him as another wealthy member of the elite that cares nothing about women, people of color, or “the lower class” – as Cosby often referred to the working poor.

Cosby will eventually have to pay for his crimes, just as Darren Wilson will have to pay for his. And that justice may not come from the courts. But it will come from the condemnation of the people. This is far worse than any legal punishment.

Aaron Dixon is a speaker and writer. He is the author of My People are Rising: Memoir of a Black Panther Party Captain (2012). In 2006, he ran for the U.S. Senate as a Green Party candidate in Seattle, WA. In 2012, he travelled to Palestine/Israel with the African Heritage Delegation. Aaron is working on his next book and writing public commentary on current news and events. He lives in Albuquerque, NM.

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
July 19, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
The Blob Fought the Squad, and the Squad Won
Miguel A. Cruz-Díaz
It Was Never Just About the Chat: Ruminations on a Puerto Rican Revolution.
Anthony DiMaggio
System Capture 2020: The Role of the Upper-Class in Shaping Democratic Primary Politics
Andrew Levine
South Carolina Speaks for Whom?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Big Man, Pig Man
Bruce E. Levine
The Groundbreaking Public Health Study That Should Change U.S. Society—But Won’t
Evaggelos Vallianatos
How the Trump Administration is Eviscerating the Federal Government
Pete Dolack
All Seemed Possible When the Sandinistas Took Power 40 years Ago
Ramzy Baroud
Who Killed Oscar and Valeria: The Inconvenient History of the Refugee Crisis
Ron Jacobs
Dancing with Dr. Benway
Joseph Natoli
Gaming the Climate
Marshall Auerback
The Numbers are In, and Trump’s Tax Cuts are a Bust
Louisa Willcox
Wild Thoughts About the Wild Gallatin
Kenn Orphan
Stranger Things, Stranger Times
Mike Garrity
Environmentalists and Wilderness are Not the Timber Industry’s Big Problem
Helen Yaffe
Cuban Workers Celebrate Salary Rise From New Economic Measures
Brian Cloughley
What You Don’t Want to be in Trump’s America
David Underhill
The Inequality of Equal Pay
David Macaray
Adventures in Script-Writing
David Rosen
Say Goodbye to MAD, But Remember the Fight for Free Expression
Nick Pemberton
This Is Heaven!: A Journey to the Pearly Gates with Chuck Mertz
Dan Bacher
Chevron’s Oil Spill Endangers Kern County
J.P. Linstroth
A Racist President and Racial Trauma
Binoy Kampmark
Spying on Julian Assange
Rose Ramirez – Dedrick Asante-Mohammad
A Trump Plan to Throw 50,000 Kids Out of Their Schools
David Bravo
Precinct or Neighborhood? How Barcelona Keeps Rolling Out the Red Carpet for Global Capital
Ralph Nader
Will Any Disgusted Republicans Challenge Trump in the Primaries?
Dave Lindorff
The BS about Medicare-for-All Has to Stop!
Arnold August
Why the Canadian Government is Bullying Venezuela
Tom Clifford
China and the Swine Flu Outbreak
Missy Comley Beattie
Highest Anxiety
Jill Richardson
Weapons of the Weak
Peter Certo
Washington vs. The Squad
Peter Bolton
Trump’s Own Background Reveals the True Motivation Behind Racist Tweets: Pure White Supremacy
Colin Todhunter
From Mad Cow Disease to Agrochemicals: Time to Put Public Need Ahead of Private Greed
Nozomi Hayase
In Crisis of Democracy, We All Must Become Julian Assange
Wim Laven
The Immoral Silence to the Destructive Xenophobia of “Just Leave”
Cecily Myart-Cruz
McDonald’s: Stop Exploiting Our Schools
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Our Veggie Gardens Won’t Feed us in a Real Crisis
CounterPunch News Service
A Homeless Rebellion – Mission Statement/Press Release
Louis Proyect
Parallel Lives: Cheney and Ailes
David Yearsley
Big in the Bungalow of Believers
Ellen Taylor
The Northern Spotted Owls’ Tree-Sit
July 18, 2019
Timothy M. Gill
Bernie Sanders, Anti-Imperialism and Venezuela
W. T. Whitney
Cuba and a New Generation of Leaders Respond to U.S. Anti-People War
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail