Bill Cosby’s lawyer, Brian McMonagle, issued a statement this week claiming that the comedy legend’s legal problems are the result of racial bias and prejudice. He really did.
“Mr. Cosby is no stranger to discrimination and racial hatred, and throughout his career Mr. Cosby has always used his voice and his celebrity to highlight the commonalities and has portrayed the differences that are not negative — no matter the race, gender and religion of a person. Yet over the last 14 months, Mr. Cosby and those who have supported him have been ignored while lawyers like Gloria Allred hold press conferences to accuse him of crimes for unwitnessed events that allegedly occurred almost a half-century earlier. The time has come to shine a spotlight on the trampling of Mr. Cosby’s civil rights. Gloria Allred apparently loves the media spotlight more than she cares about justice. She calls herself a civil rights attorney, but her campaign against Mr. Cosby builds on racial bias and prejudice that can pollute the court of public opinion. And when the media repeats her accusations — with no evidence, no trial and no jury — we are moved backwards as a country and away from the America that our civil rights leaders sacrificed so much to create.”
I don’t blame McMonagle, and nobody else should. He’s doing what he can to defend his client, who looks about as guilty as a man can. Nor did he say this without the approval of his client. Lawyers discuss their strategy with clients: if Cosby didn’t want to sink this low and look this desperate, he didn’t have to. Then I would have been able to salvage a slim iota of respect for the man.
It isn’t worth much time or thought discussing how ridiculous this accusation is. Bill Cosby? White America’s darling? The Jello pudding man, the charming interviewer of kids, the educator who preached to black families that they need to raise their children to reject hip-hop culture? Whites made Cosby rich, powerful, and once, the most popular, respected and influential celebrity of any color in the nation. And suddenly they turned on him when they realized he was black?
The claim is an insult to African-Americans who really do face bias and discrimination. More important, however, it is so depressing. Is there any prominent African-American in the the public eye who is capable of not playing the race card when he or she is in trouble? I held out hope that Bill Cosby, as loathsome as we now know he is, might be an exception if only because the claim in his case is so, so absurd. Let’s see, which is the reason for Bill’s fall: a hundred women of all races coming forward to detail almost identical accounts of the comedian drugging and sexually assaulting them, or racial prejudice? Gee, let me think; this is a tough one. Never mind, though: apparently this alibi is so ingrained in black culture, so beaten into the brains of American blacks, so exploited by race hucksters and so much a foundation of the left’s politics that it exists as a permanent “In case of a crisis, break glass” last resort that is an African-American’s secret weapon—after all, when whites screw up, they can’t claim anti-white bias, though trends in government, justice and academia may be changing that.
If Roger Ailes were black, he would have attributed his fall at Fox to racial prejudice.
Clarence Thomas played the race card. So has Obama. O.J. Barry Bonds. Herman Cain. Susan Rice. Eric Holder. Kanye West, though in his case it is dwarfed by his other outrages. This is kind of an anti-matter version of “white privilege”: while whites, we are told, are blissfully unaware of all the ways their success, if they have any, is based on systemic advantages in the culture, blacks are immersed in the idea that they are being persecuted because of race and led by role models and leaders to develop a self-image that can render them incapable of ever knowing when the problem might be their own conduct rather than oppression by others.
I don’t even doubt that Bill, Barack, Barry, Orenthal and the rest are sincere. This belief would be difficult not to absorb, and by “the rest” I mean every black who was cut from a school team, every black student who failed a course, every black applicant who lost out on a job, who has a lingering, nagging doubt in their mind about whether this was just white America claiming another victim. “The rest” also means every convicted black criminal who was sent to jail, and every spirit of a black man shot by a police officer, looking down from the clouds and saying to his winged companion: “He didn’t have to shoot me just because I tried to take his gun and charged him. That cop killed me because I was black.”
And when a Bill Cosby plays the same race card, he makes that poisonous belief—and it is poisonous even when it is accurate, as of course it can be— stronger. See? They are even prejudiced against the Cos, and he’s an icon! What chance to I have?
I despair about this. Decades of this refrain have succeeded in achieving abundant racial spoils and many political advantages, so there will never be a time when it can be abandoned . Yet its unabating employment has simultaneously crippled African-American culture, because there’s always this fallback, always the lingering suspicion that if you are black, you never really had a chance.
You know who spread the message that prejudice or not, African-Americans had to take full responsibility for their own success or failure if they were ever going to break the cycle of being perpetual victims? Bill Cosby.
But when he had else nothing left to gain public support, the Cos played the race card too.
Next, he’ll probably refuse to stand for the National Anthem.