As a young black man I grew up within a system of education that prepared me for a life of servitude to white people by working in the Bermuda tourist trade. I was constantly reminded that I should not overreach my station in life. If I ever had thoughts of my own busines I should have attended one of the white schools. Our educational systems were seperate and unequal. It was so depressing and soul destroying.
There arose two black men to give me hope. Sidney Poiter was one. He came from The Bahamas and he went to Hollywood and became the first black man to win an Oscar for his performance in "Lillies of the Field." I screamed, Yes! I Can!
Then came Bill Cosby, a very funny man who entertained us with squeaky clean humour that appealed across colour lines. I don't care who you were, you just had to laugh. He did not stop there. He went on to distinguish himself by earning a Doctorate of Education, to which would be added a mulitude of Honorary doctorates. That gave me confirmation that those people who were saying that I could not hope to amount to anything significant were damn liars.
I took stock of myself and I dared to dream. Yes I can do anything that I wanted to, but first I had some work to do. I prepared myself for business and I rose through the ranks, eventually becoming a manager of reinsurance companies for Fortune 500 companies. That was because of the examples of Sidney Poiter and Bill Cosby.
Bill and Sidney and I are old men now. Just when I thought it was safe to relax the bad news started to surface about Bill. Women were heard to say that many years ago Bill had drugged them and had non-consensual sex by using them. NO! This can't be possible.
Here I must point out that he has not been charged with any offense, and of course he has not been found guilty, in a court of law, of anything. Therefore, he is innocent until proven guilty of any allegations.
However, in the court of public opinion he seems to have been found guilty and condemned. People who were proud to be associated with him are jumping ship in droves. Indeed, if he is guilty of any of the things that are alleged by a number of women, any decent person will be hard pressed to support him because he will have brought down upon his head the wrath of public morals and decency.
His wife said it best: I don't know this Bill Cosby!
I'm not saying, one way or the other whether I believe the allegations being made against him. What I'm trying to do is imagine how any of these things could be possible, and why, oh why would they be. As a man who has led a full sex life I can imagine that he might have been sexually active. Notwithstanding that he was a family man, married to the same woman for all those years, I imagine that as a successful entertainer he would have attracted women to him like a magnet. If you can make a woman laugh she will be unable to say no, so, I imagine he would have had to fight them off. I was someone unknown but I had no trouble finding women to share their bed with me. (If they were too drunk I gave them a pass, mostly because I didn't want them throwing up on me.)
Recently released court documents have him admitting to have brought Qualaades with the intention of giving them to women he wanted to have sex with. (Sounds like Ectasy tablets used by the unscrupulous in today's nightclub scene.) However, he has not admitted actually slipping them to anybody.
This is a continuing story and we shall just have to wait and see where it goes. It does not look good! We seem to be confronted with a tale of two Cosby's, and no doubt scholars will weigh in with their assessments of how a person could be a very public and popular Dr. Jekyll, while at the same time carrying on life behind closed doors as a sinister Mr Hyde.
For what Bill Cosby has meant to me, I have to say that I am so grateful to have had him as a role model. He gave my life real meaning and that cannot be taken away. For this I say: "Thank you Dr. Cosby!"
I am super saddened by what he is presently suffering. He will end his life having already fallen from a very great height. He has accomplished so much good. He has helped so many, many people financially and through his inspiration. This is not a time to turn our backs against him as though none of that ever happened. He is hurting, presumably because of his own alleged actions, but we would be only fair weather friends if we simply gave him the thumbs down when he needs us.
I am not forgetting his alleged victims. I am not laughing at the experiences he allegedly imposed on those who say they were his victims. I have never forced myself on a woman, even once having stopped and walked away when I thought it totally unreasonable for the woman to have said stop! But stop means stop! That is my morality, so I cannot understand anyone who would deliberately incapcitate a woman to take advantage of her. How enjoyable could that be?
If it does come to pass that he is guilty of any of the claims against him, then none of that will be funny in the least, and that will be the most severe judgement of all. A comedian who was not funny.
I am personally very distressed by the position Bill Cosby now finds himself in, but it cannot be laughed away. I wish I were a wizard who could erase it all so that none of it had ever happened, but a wizard I am not. Alas!
Fortunately for me, there have come on the scene many new examples for my son to follow, including Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama. Also, I still have Sidney. I still believe in Sidney, a man who I actually got to meet and have dinner with.
Sidney, stay as sweet as you are!
Copyright (c) 2015 Eugene Carmichael