The Cos Plays The Race Card

race_cardBill 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.


50 thoughts on “The Cos Plays The Race Card

  1. You’re right. It is depressing. All of it. I grew up on Bill Cosby, his comedy, his mainstream (white?) American values, his exhortations — to everyone, regardless of race — that you are what you make yourself. Horrible enough to learn that he is likely a serial rapist. Worse, or maybe not, that he now uses the very excuse he rejected personally and publicly for so many years. It’s too late for Cosby to regain his reputation. Perhaps this is not fair, as he hasn’t been convicted of anything yet, but his PR machine didn’t catch this in time. Now, clearly, that machine is devolving into the worst possible and desperate line of defense. Depressing indeed.

  2. Now I won’t feel so bad about saying “I gotta go drop off the Cosbys at the municipal pool” when I need to hit the bathroom.

      • In all the time I have posted here I do not think I have ever rendered the moderator speechless. I have two sides, Zoltar, one the “cultured warrior” side who writes thick historical prose and the occasional poem and can compete with almost anyone at National Review, and the “low brow” one who makes jokes like that and deliberately pushes buttons with insults. Usually the lowbrow side stays in the family.

      • I think it WAS necessary. The timing was perfect.
        I think it also says something about a man’s character when he has too many sacred cows.

        • joed68 said, “I think it WAS necessary.”

          It was necessary? Really? Please explain this necessity?

          Here’s a couple more old adages…

          Character can easily be revealed by what we outwardly support but it can also be revealed by what we are apathetic to.

          True character will drive us to stand up for what we believe is right and stand against that which we believe is wrong.

          • I did explain the necessity; the timing, the delivery were perfect. It was funny, and I for one needed a laugh.
            I think there are two kinds of people who would laugh at a joke like that. One kind would laugh because they really look down on people because they’re different, but there are people who don’t think joking about a superficial trait like skin pigmentation is something to get all worked up about. I find the fact that we do get worked up funny in and of itself, especially because we’re all going to die in about a blink of an eye.

            Your adages, while correct, don’t necessarily apply here.

            • joed68 said, “It was funny, and I for one needed a laugh.”

              So it was necessary because you needed a laugh; I’m not sure that really fits being a necessity but, okay, at least now I understand where you’re coming from.

              joed68 said, “Your adages, while correct, don’t necessarily apply here.”

              I thought “the timing was perfect” for the adages. 😉

              • Zoltar spake: “So it was necessary because you needed a laugh.”

                Goddamn right. For Steve-O to leave that one alone would have been criminal.

      • Yes and no. I just think the ad was a lame, break-room joke that got legs and the jokers went too far with.

        I’m a lifelong joker and punster, and, sometimes one who doesn’t respect political correctness. I admit, sometimes I do make jokes at misfortune or even bad acts, whether they be attempts to find humor even in bad moments, attempts to deflect the full impact of bad occurrences, or poking fun at misfortune falling on someone perceived as deserving of that misfortune because of prior cruelty or bad acts. The former two can be helpful at coping with the curve balls and occasional wild pitches life throws at us, perhaps the latter is an expression of the common belief that the arc of life may be long, but it bends toward the right, and what goes around comes around.

        In the end humor is subjective, and I am firmly of the opinion that there is nothing funny about an act of pure evil born of one man’s hatred that did nothing but visit misery and destruction on those not expecting it, who did not sign on to be in harm’s way and whose only crime was being at their desks trying to earn their weekly paychecks. There is no pretending it was other than horrible, and horribly wrong. It is not something you can help with humor like a trip and fall that doesn’t hurt anything other than someone’s pride. It is not a truth everyone knows but no one admits that you can point out with a joke like religious dietary restrictions that might seem odd to outsiders or attitudes that are the kernel of truth behind stereotypes. It isn’t even a situation where humor might be appropriate to break excessive complaints or excessive reliance on others, like General Honore’s blunt statement in the poorly handled chaos following Hurricane Katrina that it was “time to move off stupid.”

        Perhaps there is a certain “joker’s privilege” that should shield us from excessively harsh condemnation for good faith humor like that, otherwise we’d be reduced to “why did the chicken cross the road” jokes, but there are certain subject areas that the privilege shouldn’t cover, and 9/11, together with the Holocaust and other acts of mass cruelty, should be a pretty obvious one to anyone with a brain. Humor is not, and should never be, a license for viciousness or for stupidity.

  3. Reflecting on this post, I think it was generated at least as much by Obama’s recent endorsement of Colin K’s brain-dead “protest” against “systemic racism” as anything else. I almost wrote another “Flat leaning curve” post—really, why is the President weighing in on the grandstanding of a benched NFL quarterback?—but he’s just hopeless, and after I while I feel like it just gets repetitive to keep pointing it out. Still, Obama’s comments about how CK’s nonsense was making people talk about real problems…is the President really saying that there is systemic racism in the country he’s been leading for 8 years? Or is he saying that the only two specifics the idiot gave, that there are “bodies in the streets” and police involved in shootings shouldn’t get paid even though they haven’t been found to have been in the wrong, are accurate representations of reality?

    • Obama is just keeping below the radar and focusing on soft issues to run out the clock. It is working to some degree as his approval ratings rise, because I think people like the idea of him as President more than the actuality. If he were out there defending Obamacare tooth and nail, even as it collapses, I think his ratings would start to slip, and right now his best bet, as well as Hilary’s, is to keep it quiet and run out the clock, in the hopes Trump will shoot himself in the foot one final time.

    • The only reason CK was benched rather than released was so the ’49ers could avoid the PR nightmare that would follow. “The only reason I was released is because I’m black and I stood up for my fellow blacks”.

  4. After learning all we have about Cosby over the last couple of years, this doesn’t surprise me at all. I said in another of Jack’s blogs about Cosby that

    “I believe that absolutely everything I see and hear from Bill Cosby these days is 100% an act!”

    Let me add to that thought…

    I think Cosby will stoop to any level of unethical behavior or actions to accomplish whatever he sets his mind to.

    I used to think that Cosby was a man of character, now I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Cosby’s skills as an actor stretched far beyond his profession. Cosby’s “man of character” facade has been permanently stripped away; Cosby is a morally bankrupt piece of shit and I hope they find a legal means of locking his ass in jail for a very long time. Make an example of this scumbag.

  5. Maybe I should have put this in the post too: this problem has haunted me for a very long time, since the time (I know I have told this story here at least once) that a smart, polite black law student accused me of racial bias because I hadn’t cast him in a tenor role that was too high for him, in favor of a white performer who blew him off the stage. I remember his name, decades later. I thought then, for the first time: What a terrible burden it must be to never know whether a failure is due to your own weaknesses and mistakes, or because you have been mistreated because of your race. And if this young man—analytical, seemingly rational, can’t even accept accountability when the evidence is undeniable—he couldn’t sing the frickin’ notes!—how pervasive this must be in the black community! How do we address it? “We” can’t—this responsibility falls on the shoulders of leaders in that community.

    You know, like, say, Bill Cosby.

    • Way back when I was hiring for a retail in Fort McMurray, Alberta I had a similar story. This was Fort McMurray while oil was booming, working HR in retail more resembled turning the crank on a meat grinder than actually doing a job in HR… People came in long enough to get a job on the rigs, and even if they didn’t, they’d cross the street for a dime. We’d hire damn near anyone. We developed the “vampire test” in hiring: Can you cast a reflection and fog a mirror? Well you’re hired!

      So it was an exceptional special case where I didn’t hire the applicant. Two stick out to me: A rather decrepit man from India who smelled like a garbage fire and couldn’t speak English (although his wife was willing to translate for him for a fee), and the asshole I’m about to tell you about.

      The man walks up to my office, which is behind the doors customer’s aren’t supposed to go past, and demands that I interview him on the spot. Now this would set off alarms in the rest of the world, but this was Fort McMurray, so I motioned to a chair and let him have his say. He told me that when I hired him, he could only work certain hours, expected a rate of pay that was about twice our cap, required full time plus a certain amount of overtime, and demanded five weeks paid a year. Who could pass that up, right? I nodded sagely, and told him that I’d keep his resume on file. He pointed out that he hadn’t given me his resume, and that he didn’t have one. I agreed that this would make it difficult to keep on file, but I’d make due. He seemed confused, but I gently motioned towards the door and he found his way out.

      Then he comes back half an hour later, enraged, because I think he just realised I wasn’t going to hire him. He accuses me of racism, and says that unless I hire him and his buddy who had come along this second time, he’d go to the Canadian Human Rights Commission. This was back when being called a racist still meant something, and it was beautifully redeeming to me that that moment one of my Filipino department managers walked by talking to one of her clerks in Tagalog. I offered him the phone at our customer service desk and told him if I ever saw him past my backroom doors again, I’d have him arrested.

      I was angry then, but I wonder now…. Did he really not realise how unappealing he was to employers, or did he really think I was a racist? At the end of the day it really wasn’t my job to fix him, but I don’t think I did him any favours either.

  6. Yeah, sadly all of the ‘leaders’ of the black culture these days are of the Al Sharpton/Jesse Jackson ilk. I, frankly, don’t see much hope for the future.

  7. We have lost sight of the simple, civil ‘golden’ rule in our society: treat others how we would want to be treated. Empathy is being lost, and I fear many conservatives have finally learned the lesson liberals have been teaching most of my life, which is ‘the ends justify the means.’

    Trump is gaining traction, at least in part, from a feeling that is expressed as “Fine! if this is the only way to win, we will use the same tactics as our opponents” instead of having morals and ethics that guide behavior. Liberals should fear right wingers learning that lesson: these are the folks who worked hard for what they have, doing difficult things in a harshly adverse situation. That same acumen aimed at getting even will be efficient and frightening to behold.

    The tit for tat can only spiral downward…

  8. I never liked Cosby much anyway and thought he was a phony. What he did was truly awful for years and of course Hollywood covered it up due to his megacelebrity status. Clarence Thomas whatever he did was pretty petty anti compared to Cosby. I suppose jurists have to be held to a higher standard than Hollywood types. Still, I can excuse him for saying that he was subject to a high tech lynching considering all the angry liberal feminist that were going after him for his supposed workplace harassment.

      • In one sense, Clarence Thomas WAS a victim of racism from the Left. They seem to think that a person’s skin tone should determine their political outlook. To a lesser extent, it’s why many on the Left probably hate Ted Cruz (for opposing “comprehensive immigration reform”).

        Furthermore, why wasn’t Bobby Jindal, who is easily one of the most brilliant people running for President this election cycle, hailed by the press? Here’s a hint: He was conservative.

        If Cosby had kept within the “boundaries” the Left established, I’m sure he’d be treated more like Woody Allen or Roman Polanski are.

        Among the elites in the country, there is “progressive” privilege.

    • I think it’s important to remember that there are times when it’s very hard for black individuals to tell whether or not they’ve been victims of racism. In Thomas’ case, I think he truly believed that he was being targeted due to his race. I have no way of knowing this for certain, of course as I cannot read Justice Thomas’ mind. I am certain, however, that Cosby cannot possibly believe he is being targeted because of his race.

      I’ve always thought of the term “playing the race card” to mean using race as an excusing factor when an individual either knows or should know that race has nothing to do with it.

      Personally, I would not accuse someone of “playing the race card” if I thought they had a good faith belief they were being discriminated against because of their race.

      • Based on what the culture bombards America Blacks with, alonhe with loud voices like Ta Nihisi Coates, I don’t see how anyone could tell when a black American has a sincere belief in his or her victimization or not.

        Thomas’s high tech lynching accusation saved him, and was tactically brilliant. It made no sense at all. It was an anti-conservative attack engineered by progressives using a complicit black law professor.

        • I don’t think an outsider can tell when it’s close. I’m not personally willing to call Justice Thomas’ comments “playing the race card” as I tend to believe that he truly believed he was being discriminated against. As I said, I could be completely wrong. (Full disclosure: I was six at the time.)

          When confronted with a decision about an individual’s ethics, I tend to believe it is better to assume the best of that individual until something convinces me that a particular individual does not deserve for me to assume the best of him or her. The Thomas case is too close for me to to decide he was maliciously “playing the race card.” And if he believed and he had reason to believe that he was being discriminated against because of race, it seems both appropriate and ethical to make that part of the conversation. I suspect that the previous sentence will be where you may disagree with me.

          We certainly agree that it’s not at all close with Mr. Cosby. There’s no way he has anything resembling a good faith belief that he is being discriminated against because of his race. He’s “playing the race card”, and I wouldn’t trust anybody who argued to the contrary.

          • Full disclosure: I watched the hearings. Even Thomas’s supporters at the time chuckled about him, of all people, playing the race card on liberal Democrats, of all people, and thought it was delicious and deserved. If Thomas was a liberal, this wouldn’t have happened. So if the key characteristic was ideology, not race, how could his vilification be based on race? It doesn’t take a SCOTUS justice to figure out that this is not a logical argument….just an effective one.

            • If Thomas were a liberal, his challengers would have been conservative Republicans. Presumably, those conservative Republicans would have used the same ammo against him.

              Justice Thomas, I believe, was saying, erroneously or not, that the ammo being used against him would not have been used against him if he had been white.

              I tend to think that’s wrong, but I’ve never, before today, even considered that Justice Thomas didn’t truly believe that he would not be answering questions about the same accusations if he were white.

              I think you’ve read into the statement this meaning: “Liberal Democrats are attacking me because of race.” That’s not how I’ve read the statement. I read the statement this way: “Liberal Democrats are attacking me because of my ideology, and they are using tools in that attack that they would never use against me if I were white.” I also think the counter-factual is clearly implied in his statement. That is, the statement clearly suggests that he believed that it would be just as likely that conservatives would use tools against a black liberal judge that they didn’t want on the bench that they would never use against a white liberal judge they didn’t want on the bench.

              I’m leading us down a bit of a rabbit hole here. I apologize. I agree with your main analysis.

              In all frankness, I would be extremely disappointed if a black member of my generation played the race card in a confirmation hearing fifteen or twenty years from now, as I doubt there would be any call for it. There would have to be some really concrete level of racial bias for me to respect such an action. I tend to be a little more forgiving of black individuals who believe they are being discriminated against based on race, even if they are ultimately wrong, when the individual grew up in the forties, fifties, and sixties-for obvious reasons. And I’m a LOT more forgiving of black individuals who are overly sensitive to racial discrimination, if they grew up in the Deep South at the time. It seems to me that being sensitive to racism may have been a necessary survival skill in that time and in that place. It stands to reason that seeing racism, even where none exists, could be an unfortunate side effect to that required skill.

              It’s certainly possible I’m giving Justice Thomas too much deference here, but I always thought that he truly and honestly believed that some of his opponents would not have taken the actions they took against him if he were white.

              • “If Thomas were a liberal, his challengers would have been conservative Republicans. Presumably, those conservative Republicans would have used the same ammo against him”

                That’s a huge leap, especially since the one who really opened the sexual harassment Pandora’s Box was Sen. Packwood, a GOP leader…and it doesn’t address the issue. If Thomas were a Eurasian, it wouldn’t have changed anything. Race wasn’t the issue, but he was black, so when his back was against the wall, he used it. (Before that utterance, everyone, and I mean everyone, thought Hill had killed his nomination chances. It’s one of the worst ethics pretzels I can recall:

                1. Thomas was chosen entirely because of his race, and Bush I. made it worse by saying that he was “the most qualified jurist” available, which even Thomas probably didn’t believe. (BOY he was an awful President)

                2. The Democrats and black activist groups went after him with a personal and vindictive attack that was as ugly as their assault on Bork.

                3. Hill came out of nowhere, a cheap and tawdry tactic, at the last moment, and shouldn’t have been allowed to testify.

                4. TED KENNEDY sat on the Judiciary Committee, looking embarrassed, and never said a word because the hypocrisy of him, of all people, deeming sexual harassment–a joke about pubic hair in a staff meeting?—disqualifying> Gee, Senator, what about killing the staffer you were fooling around with?

                5. The news media acceptance of Hill as inherently virtuous was (and is) outrageous, and

                6. The race card being played, and worse, working like magic.

  9. I have to play devils advocate for a minute. Wrong as it may be, despicable and hypocritical as it obviously is, can any of us honestly say that we wouldn’t be at least very, very tempted to try this? Facing long-term imprisonment is terrifying, and when you think about it, not utilizing every available defense would be the equivalent of falling on a grenade.

    • joed68 said, “when you think about it, not utilizing every available defense would be the equivalent of falling on a grenade.”

      I disagree. Falling on a grenade is a selfless act to save the lives of others. If you were meaning “falling on your own sword”, that would only eliminate the reality prospect of prison – a cowards escape.

      I would agree that not utilizing every available defense would be ignorant; however, using the race card defense is a cowardly attempt to unethically demonizing others using an ad hominem attack. Sure it might be legal to try and to morally destroy one’s legal adversary in court to distract from your own criminal activity, but it’s morally wrong – so for a criminally minded immoral person like Cosby this move fits well within his true abusive modus operandi – he is abusing his victims once again.

      • That’s really the crux of my point. It’s wrong, of course; he should take his medicine, and hope for some measure of redemption in God’s eyes and his own, if not in others. However, as Z stated, that doesn’t fit his depth of character.

        • I question his depth of character. I admit that much of my anger at him is that HE FOOLED ME!!! I keep thinking “How could I have not seen”, but then, nobody else did, either. Worse, I questioned the accusations, because I COULDN’T believe that the Cos had done this. The same guy who urged black fathers (and, to some extent, mothers) to take responsibility for their own behavior. I even argued with Jack about this. HOW COULD HE DO THIS TO ME. Then, on sober reflection, I realized he had done nothing to me, he had sold out an entire culture. HIS culture. A culture he was apparently trying to save. And his message will be lost, perhaps forever, in the clutter of his deviancy. Because his deviant behavior has left the leadership of this culture in the hands of race-baiters (Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Barrack Obama and Colin Kaepernick). And this makes me far sadder than anything he might have done to my expectations, personally. It is possible he has destroyed the future of an entire culture, one with an amazing history, and one which has shown an amazing resiliency. It has survived slavery, the KKK and Jim Crow. It has overcome, through the efforts of Rosa Parks and a most amazing gentleman, Doctor Martin Luther King, years of bigotry and denigration. And now, I suspect, all of that is going to be lost because of the depravity of one spokesman. And I say this because his message was a good one. Take responsibility for your own behavior. If you make a kid, take care of it…be a father. Get an education. Black people who do so tend to succeed…Dr. Ben Carson is only one example of many. Quit using drugs, and quit shooting each other. Might even want to consider moving out of Chicago and Detroit. Take the Tuskegee Airmen (Red Tails) as your role model, not Denis Rodman. However, the Cos has lost this chance, and I don’t see anyone on the horizon who can step into his shoes. And this is sadder than you may realize, because if we lose this culture, we’ll lose our own as well, because like it or not, the two are inextricably intertwined.

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