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Bill Cosby's Glass House

Photograph by Getty Images

When I was a just a little girl my grandma would say, “Don’t throw rocks if you live in a glass house." The thought of a glass house always seemed so marvelous in my young mind. Being able to look up and see the sky felt like a dream come true. Bill Cosby’s dreams did come true because he has risen to the highest success that can be achieved and it seems he lives in a glass house. However he didn’t get the memo not to throw rocks.

The latest is that America’s favorite dad, Bill Cosby, has been accused again of rape. (13 women have come out with claims of rape and the lawsuit was settled in 2006.) With his Saturday morning cartoons, Jell-O advertisements, and then "The Cosby Show," Bill Cosby has been an icon for my generation.

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It wasn’t until more recently, as Mr. Cosby’s self-righteous condemnation of the African American community has come out in full force, that I started to wonder what’s really going on with him. Cosby has taken it upon himself to admonish African Americans for their lifestyle, without accounting for the challenges that black people face. It always baffled me why Cosby speaks so harshly against the black community.

I wondered if he's so removed from the challenges and psychological impact of poverty and that he could not find within himself a more compassionate voice with which to express his concerns. Sometimes I wondered whether Mr. Cosby came to believe that he was beyond the law and beyond reproach. Someone who’s untouchable has no reason not to condemn those he sees as lazy, weak or worthless.

It almost never fails that when someone behaves like a clanging symbol, they’re hiding something and are at war within themselves.

What I find so intriguing is how someone can rise to such heights as the embodiment of wholesomeness can also be so dark. His comedy was clean and centered in family. He was the opposite of Richard Pryor, who wore his flaws on the stage with him. Cosby’s work with children opened our hearts because children are so innocent and receptive. He seemed to corner this market, and we all trusted him and wanted to be like him and his creations.

But then, Cosby’s dark side cast a long shadow. There have been numerous adulterous affairs, claims of illegitimate children and rape allegations. The very issues he shamed the African American community of is the cloak of shame and disgrace he also wears. Perhaps his years of being so squeaky clean seemed to pushed Cosby into behaving like an uncompassionate, raging and self-righteous old man. It’s as if his inner contradictions had to find a way out, and the very community that originally embraced and birthed him became the object of his fire, along with a possible dozen women who were allegedly raped by him.

For me the moral of this story is that all that glitters is not gold. Cosby’s story is no different from that of the politicians and religious leaders that speak vehemently against homosexuality or for family values, only to be revealed as gay or adulterers. It almost never fails that when someone behaves like a clanging symbol, they’re hiding something and are at war within themselves.

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Recently Cosby was on a NPR show to talk about his and his wife’s art collection. When the interview turned to the current rape allegations, Cosby was completely silent. For a man who always has so much to say about all the wrong other people are doing, I find it fascinating that he has nothing to say about his own. Later his attorney spoke on his behalf stating the Cosby would not address decade-old rape claims that had long been discredited. Bill Cosby lives in a glass house that is sliding off a hill side due to a storm he created when he cast the first stone.

My childhood minister would say, “Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone. Let the church say Amen.”

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