Take a minute to absorb that truth for a minute: Bill Cosby doesn’t deserve your sadness.
It’s a bit jarring, admittedly, to see that Bill Cosby is actually going to spend time behind bars. There are a few reasons for the surrealism of it all. First, the obvious: Bill Cosby was one of America’s most beloved figures for decades. We grew up with him and seeing him go to jail is something we never thought we’d see when we were kids. Second, there’s the fact that these allegations of sexual assault have followed Cosby for so long that it seemed like he’d never actually go to jail.
It’s that second point that you need to remember. Because no matter your affinity for Cosby and his cultural contributions over the decades, he is still a man who has been accused of dozens of instances of sexual assault and, as of today, is a convicted sex offender headed to prison. So, as disorienting as it is to see Cosby in handcuffs, just remember that his confirmed and alleged victims say they have experienced worse. Save your compassion for those women.
Don’t get me wrong: this whole situation is a tragedy. It’s a tragedy for sexual assault survivors who had to wear their pain in secret, sure that no matter what they said, the man who assaulted them would never face any punishment. It’s a tragedy for the women whose lives and careers were ruined because of the damage — physical, emotional, professional and otherwise — Cosby caused them. It’s a tragedy for a society that allows a culture in which someone like Cosby is able to thrive while having committed the crimes he’s been convicted of today. Yes, this is a tragedy. But not for Cosby.
There’s another reason not to feel any sadness for Cosby: He wouldn’t feel any for you if you were on the wrong end of handcuffs like he was today, no matter the reason you were in cuffs in the first place.
Bill Cosby has spent most of the 21st century chastising the most vulnerable Black Americans among us. His infamous 2004 “Pound Cake speech” for the NAACP — full of false information and fake news about things like unemployment, dropout rates, incarceration rates and single parenthood — was the rallying cry for respectability politics.
Cosby loved picking on poor Black people for the way they made him look in front of white people. His chiding of Black Americans, demanding that they pull their pants up, became inextricably linked to his legacy. And now, the same man who wagged his finger at incarcerated people will now spend his next few years surrounded by them.
It’s important to remember that Cosby never sagged his pants. He never said the “N” word. He came from a two-parent household. He’s well-educated. And he’s a jailed sexual assaulter.
I’d like to think that we can learn lessons from all of this. That this is the final nail in the coffin for respectability politics. That those cell doors closing in front of Cosby also signal the closure of ideas that involve Black people needing to dress a certain way to avoid jail or that “Black on Black” crime is a reflection of anything more than proximity. That the era of “pull your pants up” pseudo-activism is replaced by a culture of compassion where we try to empathize for those in jail or unfortunate life situations because we understand the larger factors that put those people in those positions. The ideas that Cosby have championed should go away with him.
I also hope that we learn that this wasn’t a victory for victims of sexual assault; that needing dozens of accusations of sexual assault and two trials before sending a man in his 80s to jail decades after he’s allegedly committed the acts isn’t a blueprint for true justice. Victory isn’t eventual jail for sexual assault. Victory is a society that doesn’t allow people to feel like they can commit acts of sexual violence without recourse in the first place. Victory isn’t jail. Victory is sexual assault not happening in the first place.
So pardon me if I don’t feel any sadness for Bill Cosby. Excuse me if I don’t have any remorse for the perpetrator of heinous crimes. Bill Cosby doesn’t deserve your tears. He never will.
Bill Cosby Gets Sentenced For His Sexual Assault Conviction
1. Cosby's mug shot1 of 76
2. Cosby leaves courtroom in handcuffs2 of 76
3. Cosby is remanded to prison immediatelySource:Getty 3 of 76
4. Cosby is remanded to prison immediatelySource:Getty 4 of 76
5. Cosby is remanded to prison immediatelySource:Getty 5 of 76
6.6 of 76
7.7 of 76
8.8 of 76
9.9 of 76
10. Sentencing expectedSource:Getty 10 of 76
11. Accuser Janice DickinsonSource:Getty 11 of 76
12. Cosby arrives for Day 2Source:Getty 12 of 76
13.13 of 76
14. Cosby in court for Day 2 of sentencing hearingSource:Getty 14 of 76
15. Cosby in court for Day 2 of sentencing hearingSource:Getty 15 of 76
16. Cosby arrives for Day 2Source:Getty 16 of 76
17. Cosby arrives for Day 2Source:Getty 17 of 76
18. Cosby arrives for Day 2Source:Getty 18 of 76
19. Cosby arrives for Day 2Source:Getty 19 of 76
20. Cosby arrives for Day 2Source:Getty 20 of 76
21. Cosby arrives for Day 2Source:Getty 21 of 76
22. Day 2: Cosby accuser arrivesSource:Getty 22 of 76
23. Day 2 beginsSource:Getty 23 of 76
24. Day 2 beginsSource:Getty 24 of 76
25. Cosby accusers at the courthouseSource:Getty 25 of 76
26. Cosby accusers at the courthouseSource:Getty 26 of 76
27. Bill Cosby's personal attorney leavesSource:Getty 27 of 76
28. Bill Cosby leaves after the first day of sentencing hearingSource:Getty 28 of 76
29.29 of 76
30. Heavy police presenceSource:Getty 30 of 76
31. Cosby fans on-siteSource:Getty 31 of 76
32. Cosby accusersSource:Getty 32 of 76
33. Cosby accusersSource:Getty 33 of 76
34. Activists at the courthouseSource:Getty 34 of 76
35. Cosby spokespersonsSource:Getty 35 of 76
36. Heavy media presenceSource:Getty 36 of 76
37. Sentencing Begins In Bill Cosby TrialSource:Getty 37 of 76
38. Sentencing Begins In Bill Cosby TrialSource:Getty 38 of 76
39. Cosby accusersSource:Getty 39 of 76
40. Gloria AllredSource:Getty 40 of 76
41. Sentencing Begins In Bill Cosby TrialSource:Getty 41 of 76
42. Sentencing Begins In Bill Cosby TrialSource:Getty 42 of 76
43. Sentencing Begins In Bill Cosby TrialSource:Getty 43 of 76
44. Bill Cosby leaves after the first day of sentencing hearingSource:Getty 44 of 76
45. Bill Cosby leaves after the first day of sentencing hearingSource:Getty 45 of 76
46. Bill Cosby leaves after the first day of sentencing hearingSource:Getty 46 of 76
47. Sentencing Begins In Bill Cosby TrialSource:Getty 47 of 76
48. Andrea ConstandSource:Getty 48 of 76
49. Former model Janice DickinsonSource:Getty 49 of 76
50. Judge Steven T. O'NeillSource:Getty 50 of 76
51. Bill Cosby's publicist Andrew WyattSource:Getty 51 of 76
52. Chelan Lasha arrivesSource:Getty 52 of 76
53. Andrea Constand arrivesSource:Getty 53 of 76
54. Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin SteeleSource:Getty 54 of 76
55. Sentencing Begins In Bill Cosby TrialSource:Getty 55 of 76
56.56 of 76
57. Sentencing Begins In Bill Cosby TrialSource:Getty 57 of 76
58. Sentencing Begins In Bill Cosby TrialSource:Getty 58 of 76
59. Sentencing Begins In Bill Cosby TrialSource:Getty 59 of 76
60. Sentencing Begins In Bill Cosby TrialSource:Getty 60 of 76
61. Cosby back in courtSource:Getty 61 of 76
62. Bill Cosby arrives for sentencingSource:Getty 62 of 76
63.63 of 76
64. Judge Steven T. O'Neill enters the courtroomSource:Getty 64 of 76
65.65 of 76
66. Activists demonstrateSource:Getty 66 of 76
67. Police presenceSource:Getty 67 of 76
68. Andrea Constand arrivesSource:Getty 68 of 76
69. Bill CosbySource:Getty 69 of 76
70. Janice Dickinson arrivesSource:Getty 70 of 76
71. Gloria Allred speaksSource:Getty 71 of 76
72. Bill CosbySource:Getty 72 of 76
73. Protests ensueSource:Getty 73 of 76
74. Defense lawyer arrivesSource:Getty 74 of 76
75. Sentencing Begins In Bill Cosby TrialSource:Getty 75 of 76
76. Sentencing Begins In Bill Cosby TrialSource:Getty 76 of 76
VIEWPOINTS: Bill Cosby Doesn’t Deserve Your Sadness was originally published on newsone.com