In taking about Bill Cosby with black men, rape culture was validated, and my role to mitigate it was made clear.
What’s the f*cking point with all these women coming forward decades after a rape allegedly occurred?
Doesn’t the statute of limitations prevent prosecution of Mr. Cosby anyway?
Mr. Cosby didn’t rape those women, he’s rich, he’s doesn’t need to steal pu**y.
I feel bad for Mr. Cosby, his legacy shouldn’t be tarnished like this, he’s America’s dad.
I hope Mr. Cosby is far removed from the negative media blitz, it’s terrible.
Why didn’t these women come forward sooner?
Well, the unsealed document doesn’t actually prove he raped anyone.
This is a coordinated attack to criminalize the black male image.
In the last twenty-four hours, since news broke that Mr. Bill Cosby once admitted to retrieving quaaludes to give to women he wanted to have sex with, those statements and questions, in one word or another, have been uttered by several black men with whom I associate.
In the conversation in which these sentiments arose, I pushed back a little, and even did some self-reflection, as to why my black male friends and I are so dismissive, at times, of the more than 40 women who claimed Mr. Cosby, a celebrity who, unsolicited, assumed the role of Black America’s moral authority, raped, groped or sexually assaulted them.
The answers I received, for the most part, followed a general theme: Yo, it’s Bill motherf*cking Cosby, he’s innocent until proven guilty and those women should’ve come forward earlier, it seems fishy now… I’m just saying.
Even with what many perceive is a bombshell admission of guilt, many I spoke to said Mr. Cosby “probably” did it.
To a degree, I was shocked and disappointed at the level of denial exhibited by my friends, but I, too, struggle with visualizing someone who was a larger than life figure as a monster capable of doing the unthinkable.
I didn’t take the confusing emotions I felt when talking to my associates lightly. It called for more than a pause, it called for serious self-reflection and honesty.
What I was realized was that patriarchy, hero worship and rape culture are real things; and I, and many of my associates, sometimes help to perpetuate them simply because were unaware of these concepts, thus we aren’t conscious of when we’re indulging in them, or their impact on others.
In a lot of ways, it is a male privilege. But just like with white privilege, in most cases its a birthright – we live in a male dominated world where in a lot of churches women aren’t even allowed to sit on the pulpit – and thus instinctual actions and words carried under the banner of male privilege are not intended to harm, offend and/or ostracize, though that’s exactly what they do.
The Black men I spoke to, including myself, don’t hate women, it just the opposite, actually. But just because we love, appreciate and honor women don’t mean we don’t unknowingly benefit or maintain a paradigm of patriarchy and rape culture.
A lot of it, I’m sure, can be traced back to the Church, where the invincible and untouchable “Man of God” roles play out. Pastors, to many parishioners, are heroes and larger than life figures who are seemingly beyond reproach.
But that social rule causes many to view powerful men in general as beyond reproach, and even thinking about scrutinizing or criticizing them seems wrong, or, in this context, sinful. This is, in its purest form, hero worship.
If anything good has come out of this Bill Cosby controversy, it’s that I have a greater understanding of the concepts of patriarchy, hero worship and rape culture.
I’m a good man, but I could be a better, and I could start by, at least, struggling against my male privilege and leveraging it to be a better ally to women. Because, as a colleague politely reminded me today, it may be a man’s world, but it’s nothing without a woman or a girl.
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Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
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