Bill Cosby Scandal: Rape Culture and Race

According to Slate.com, 25 women have come forward accusing Bill Cosby of Sexual Assault and/or Drugging them. The last woman, Beverly Johnson – the first black supermodel to deem the cover of Vogue in 1974, shared her account of Cosby drugging her in A Vanity Fair piece on December 11th. Ever since then, The reaction towards Cosby has changed in whether these allegations are true or not; especially within the black community. Many blacks now believe that Cosby did rape these women and it took a black woman accusing him.

Whether or not people acknowledge it, race played a huge part in the process of the Cosby Allegations. Throughout the unraveling of Cosby’s personal life, most people seemed to believe the growing story, especially with the victims so passionate. Yet many didn’t mention the fact that his race could have perpetuated the suspicion of rape because all of the victims were white women. Though it is arguable, I think there is some truth to the fact that if the victims were of color, Cosby’s public demonization would not have been so severe.

It would be foolish to lose all suspicion, but it did make Black Americans question the integrity of such allegations; And this exposes the many issues in rape culture. It is hard to believe a person you love or idolize could be a criminal in such a way. It is almost unbelievable because of his reputation. People who cannot believe will either justify the actions or consider the “holes” in the story. It reaches the hard truth that anyone can be a rapist. And for Black Americans, Beverly Johnson made that quite clear.

What makes this event worse is that unfortunately he is what I like to call a “golden child” for Black Americans. Similar to Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama, he wears this hidden title as a “good black person”. This heightens the issue because silently he doesn’t only represent himself, but to many in the black community, he represent us. As a highly referenced person in conversations when it comes to “successful black people” it creates a huge void as such an influential figure in America. But in all fairness, should he be shunned from society? Does his talent lose it’s greatness because of his questionable character? There is no scale universal enough to balance the good and bad of Bill Cosby. But keep in mind that there are victims, and this is also speculation.

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