Bill Cosby’s legacy has been picked apart over the last year causing him to lose the support of a great majority of public opinion. Not long ago he outraged many within the community known as Black America with his infamous speech slamming them for having a slave mentality and not doing what it takes to become more productive as opposed to continuing in a path of destruction. Now, after he has been charged with a crime that has followed him for decades, many within this same community have attempted to bring up the criminal justice system’s racial disparity completely discounting the women in this case. This conflicting behavior is a direct reflection of a slave’s mentality.
The puzzling aspect of the entire saga is not that people feel Cosby is innocent, rather they are so angry that he has been charged at a time when police brutality is at an all-time high without the necessary accountability to produce change. What is happening with men within Black America is a crisis, no doubt, but when people become addicted to the entitlement syndrome they are less empathetic and concerned with the pain of others. This type of entitlement mindset is the hallmark of slave mentality.
In 2015 alone, a total of 1,134 Americans were murdered by law enforcement officers. What is also painfully true is that young black men were nine times more likely to be killed by police this year than anyone else. One in every 65 deaths of a black male between the ages of 15 and 34 was done at the hands of police. These victims encompassed 15 percent of all police killings this year, despite making up only two percent of the population in the United States. Within these statistics, nearly 25 percent of African-Americans killed by police were unarmed, compared with about 17 percent of white people killed.
In relation to the 1,134 killings reported by the FBI, only 18 resulted in police being charged. This ratio is despairingly low, however, it is much higher than indictments of law enforcement from previous years. This is a tragedy, but not an indicator that Cosby should not be held accountable for his alleged crimes. More than anything else, this gives him the opportunity to clear his name… Is that not what any accused criminal would want?
It is a reality that the blue code of silence needs to be broken, however this should not allow other criminals to receive a “get out of jail free” card. This thought process suggests entitlement, which again, is a direct attribute of the slave mentality. Cosby is a cultural icon who once represented one of America’s most beloved figures, and the allegations he now faces leaves many within the black community with a feeling of betrayal. Michael Eric Dyson, Georgetown University professor, said:
This is an entire edifice of iconic and symbolic blackness shattered by this charge. Millions of people looked up to him.
Last Wednesday will forever be engraved in history as a moment in stark contrast to a reputation built over half a century, merging the personal and professional into one potent, visceral brand. Cosby was forced to walk into a courthouse to answer charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted a woman named Andrea Constand, resulting in the most serious blow to his forever mixed legacy.
The man who lashed out against the African-American community and publicly excoriated the people who had long embraced him now sits in need of their mercy. His open rebuke stings more now than ever in light of the comedian’s own moral failings. It is a horrible situation all around, but, the undeniable misfortune surrounding Bill Cosby and the black community is when people feel supporting one tragedy takes away from another. Unfortunately, this sense of entitlement which turns a blind eye to other issues in support of their own is a starch reflection of a slave mentality.
Opinion by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
Washington Post: 2015 Police Shootings Investigation
USA Today: Twitter explodes over Bill Cosby charge
Philly: Blacks feel betrayed by Bill Cosby’s sexual assault charge
Eight Cities Map: Dr. Bill Cosby’s Infamous Speech Transcript
Top Image by Andy Colwell Courtesy of Penn State – Flickr License
Inline Image Courtesy of Jones the Teacher – Flickr License
Featured Image Courtesy of Museum of Cinema – Flickr License