Phylicia Rashad's support of Bill Cosby highlights division in the Black community

4 weeks ago 11

(CNN)Depending connected you and your beingness experiences, Bill Cosby is either an abuser oregon the latest Black antheral to autumn prey to being unjustly accused.

In the lawsuit of the 83-year-old actor, it is really dozens of women -- the bulk of them White -- implicit respective years who alleged intersexual misconduct by Cosby dating backmost decades. (Cosby has consistently denied the allegations.)

Which is wherefore erstwhile his longtime person and costar Phylicia Rashad celebrated the overturning of the verdict against Cosby connected Wednesday, it acceptable disconnected statement involving race, misogyny and the #MeToo movement.

    Well earlier Cosby was convicted and sentenced successful 2018 to 3 to 10 years successful a authorities situation for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand astatine his location successful 2004, determination was overmuch statement implicit his guilt and innocence.

      But nary wherever much truthful than successful the Black community, wherever Cosby had meant truthful overmuch arsenic some an entertainer and an advocator for education.

      America's favourite dad

      "The Cosby Show" was groundbreaking television.

      Running from 1984 to 1992 connected NBC, the sitcom depicted an precocious mediate people Black household devoid of the accustomed stereotypes often assigned to Black characters successful Hollywood.

      Cosby portrayed Dr. Heathcliff "Cliff" Huxtable, an obstetrician and patriarch of 5 children. Rashad played the matriarch, lawyer Clair Huxtable.

      Their loving household dynamic -- and Cosby's affable portrayal arsenic the comical and often beleaguered begetter -- recovered him often topping polls arsenic America's favourite TV dad.

      He embodied the genitor that galore who grew up successful the tumultuous 1980s arsenic latchkey kids, oregon those with much absent fathers than Huxtable, wished they had.

      "The Cosby Show debuted during the Reagan era, erstwhile the plagues of crack, AIDS and spiraling homicide were ravaging African-Americans," writer, prof and civilization professional Jelani Cobb told Ebony Magazine successful 2015. "[The amusement was] immense among Black radical due to the fact that it was a counterpoint to the watercourse of negativity that we heard and saw astir ourselves truthful often during those years."

      As beloved arsenic Cosby's Dr. Huxtable was, Rashad's Clair was arsenic well. A profoundly loving wife, she modeled excellence for the Huxtable children (played by Sabrina Le Beauf, Lisa Bonet, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Tempestt Bledsoe and Keshia Knight Pulliam) and portrayed a strong, Black feminist successful a tv scenery with few.

      That representation seemed successful stark opposition to immoderate erstwhile Rashad tweeted "FINALLY!!!! A unspeakable incorrect is being righted- a miscarriage of justness is corrected!" aft the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania vacated Cosby's condemnation connected Wednesday.

      'What are you thinking'

      #ByePhylicia (a notation to the drawback operation "Bye Felicia" made fashionable by the deed 1995 movie "Friday) began trending and different celebrated TV ma adjacent weighed in.

      It was analyzable by the information that Rashad is the newly appointed dean of the reestablished College of Fine Arts astatine her alma mater, Howard University successful Washington, DC.

      "I emotion @PhyliciaRashad but Howard request to region her origin however harmless would you consciousness if your dean is defending a antheral who ADMITTED helium drugged and raped women," Evelyn Atieno, editor-in-chief of Affinity, tweeted.

      Rashad sought to clarify her stance amid the backlash, tweeting "I afloat enactment survivors of intersexual battle coming forward."

      "My station was successful nary mode intended to beryllium insensitive to their truth," she wrote."Personally, I cognize from friends and household that specified maltreatment has lifelong residual effects. My heartfelt privation is for healing."

      Nothing wrong

      But not everyone disagreed with Rashad's enactment for Cosby.

      When Howard University posted a connection connected their verified Instagram acount disavowing Rahad's archetypal tweet -- penning that it "lacked sensitivity towards survivors of intersexual assault" -- respective radical defended Rashad.

      "She spoke Truth!" 1 idiosyncratic commented.

      "Dean Rashad has done thing wrong!" different defender wrote.

      It's indicative of the part that has existed since allegations against Cosby archetypal went mainstream successful 2014, erstwhile a video of comedian Hannibal Buress talking astir Cosby went viral.

      From the onset, determination was utter disbelief wrong the Black assemblage that a antheral of Cosby's stature could person done thing truthful heinous.

      Misinformation was rampant. It was said that Cosby was targeted due to the fact that helium was successful the process of buying NBC, erstwhile successful world he had explored specified a merchantability successful 1992. And, similar truthful galore aspects of our civilization successful caller years, the allegations were politicized. (In 2016, past aspiring statesmanlike campaigner Donald Trump had been accused of intersexual misconduct by aggregate women, which helium denied.)

      There was besides treatment astir misogyny aft Barbara Bowman, 1 of Cosby's accusers, penned an sentiment portion for the Washington Post successful which she noted "only aft a antheral ... called Bill Cosby a rapist successful a drama act... did the nationalist outcry statesman successful earnest."

      Black antheral celebrities similar Cosby are often rallied astir erstwhile accused of wrongdoing arsenic they go proxies for the galore Black men unjustly accused and prosecuted successful this country.

      "History tells maine that achromatic men who are accused of raping achromatic women person often been lynched. History tells maine that achromatic men who look the American justness strategy are disproportionately incarcerated," Solomon Jones wrote successful a portion for WHYY vigor successful 2018. "History tells maine that Cosby -- a achromatic antheral -- had small accidental of walking distant from the accusations of dozens of mostly achromatic women.

        History besides tells america that portion the momentum of #MeToo whitethorn person helped grease the wheels that led to Cosby's conviction, the overturning of that condemnation has reminded immoderate of the 1995 proceedings of OJ Simpson, who was yet acquitted successful the murders of his ex woman Nicole Brown Simpson and her person Ron Goldman.

        That is that affluent and almighty Black men whitethorn person much palmy outcomes successful the ineligible strategy -- a information that seems little up for statement than their existent guilt oregon innocence.

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