I recall the initial appearance of Bill Cosby on television. His portrayal of a black family did not have any connection with typical portrayals of blacks as comic characters who spoke funny and behaved like fools. The Cosby show was undoubtedly a revolutionary event in the history of American television. He was bright, had a great sense of humor and was able to transcend both black and white worlds in a manner that was respectable for all viewers. Frankly, at that time I never bothered to read comments regarding his personal life. He was an interesting man and comic so who cared what he did with his personal life. I never gave a thought to rumors that he abused women, it just didn’t jibe with the character on television. In other words, the man portrayed on television, was for me, the real Bill Cosby.
As the years passed my view about Bill Cosby underwent changes. I was shocked with comments he made deploring the behavior of black youth. He became critical of young blacks who resorted to violence. There is a thin line between deploring behavior and understanding behavior. Many black youth had their lives ruined because of jail time due to using drugs. Cosby was never sensitive to the reality that when a black boy did drugs it resulted in jail, but when a white boy did drugs, he was sent to see a psychologist. Frankly, I was shocked to read about Cosby’s sexual escapades with young women. Again, these charges did not make sense to me, but too many continue to come. Netflix just cancelled his comedy special. Ah, for the days of Bill and the family!