Bill Cosby. Yes, THAT Bill Cosby

T. H. McClung, she/her(s)
5 min readJul 3, 2021

Should we fight white supremacy or patriarchal injustice? Yep.

Photo by Library of Congress on Unsplash

Like improvisation, sort of. I have no topic in mind right now. I’m just writing. Usually BEFORE I begin writing, I have some topic in mind. There was the day that I asked Hubby for a topic which produced a weird children’s story.

Just now, I paused and stared at the blinking vertical line after that period.

There, did it again. Not quite as long.

And, again . . .

This time, I had to look away from the computer and REALLY TRY to think of something to write about. Three things came to my mind: the church meeting I attended yesterday, how tired I am right now, and Bill Cosby.

And, here is the crazy thing. Right now, Bill Cosby seems like the easiest of those three to write about.

On the way home today I listened to The Takeaway hosted by Melissa Harris-Perry. She had a conversation with Brittney Cooper about all the ways Black women have been asked to remain silent about their own sexual assaults by Black men because of the damage it can do to the fight against white supremacy. I’ll try to provide a brief explanation for my white friends who may be as ignorant as I have been.

Systemic racism is a real thing. Black men are stereotyped in such harmful ways that they disproportionately end up in prison. Some black men are also among those who rape women. Black women have been made to believe that the fight against white supremacy is more important than the fight against patriarchy and violence against women. We all seem to believe that we can’t fight both (and all the oppressing systems) at the same time. Out of fear of building up white supremacy (by providing “evidence of the stereotype,”)many Black women have remained silent about their own experiences of being raped or assaulted sexually.

I’m sure that paragraph does not do justice to the issue. I’m sorry for that. And, I’m grateful that these two women were willing to speak openly and honestly about this struggle which is very personal for Melissa Harris-Perry.

So, Bill Cosby . . . I grew up loving him too. My goodness, there wasn’t anyone who could tell a story from a chair on a stage the way that man did. My Daddy laughed and laughed. I laughed with him. And, I don’t know why I didn’t know because now “they” say EVERYBODY KNEW. I was just a white kid in Alabama who liked pudding. Apparently, it was talked about all over the place. And, I guess because he was breaking down some of the white supremacy, then the women he was harming were considered necessary collateral damage in the war. How insidious is that? And, because some District Attorney somewhere made him a promise one time in a conversation about one of those rapes in which he used drugs to render the young woman unconscious, a judge released him from prison yesterday. Just let him go. He has confessed to these crimes, but because of that one stupid procedural mistake, he gets to walk free.

I know. I know. Not exactly free. At least everyone really does know now. At least everywhere he goes now, he will be known as America’s Black Dad Who Rapes Women.

My brain always does this. Even as I typed that paragraph above, I start thinking about HIS family. I can’t imagine what they are going through, have been through. What kinds of conversations happen around THAT dinner table? Apparently it wasn’t all “dancing with your forks and knives” all the time.

And, as soon as I had that thought, I thought, “Can you imagine being one of those women?!” People cheered him as he left prison yesterday. CHEERED as if justice had finally been served. HE ADMITTED DOING THIS. This isn’t up for question. He was released because of poor procedure and fancy paperwork. I absolutely can NOT imagine what THOSE people were thinking. They cheered for him. But, that is true every single day. It feels like half the world must be insane.

This must be what middle-age is like. The issues may be different, but the story is always the same. Middle-aged and older people always think at least half the world must be insane because we are in the middle and can SEE the changes, the before and the after.

My whole family watched The Cosby Show. We recorded Bill Cosby Himself on VHS so that we could watch it over and over again on the TV. That is his stand-up special that was the MOST FAMOUS. And, he tells a story about his kids getting to choose music at meals and the way they get so happy about it and dance at the table. If you are around my age or older. You already knew that just from the short comment about dancing with forks and knives. And, if I say, “dentist,” you will try to keep from smiling as you remember that story from that special too. I could probably name every bit from that special if I tried. I won’t. My point is that I remember his face being everywhere and it being a good thing. I’ve watched the before and the after. And, I guess some folks have a hard time making the transition to the after, so they just hold on to the before for all that they are.

I can only assume (Hubby says I make LOTS of assumptions!) that is what is going on when folks can stand outside a prison and cheer for a rapist when he gets freed on a technicality. Women don’t seem to matter as much as men. Black women matter less. Trans Black women matter least of all because being a woman in this country is still a problem. I KNOW it is better than A LOT of places. And, my point is that we can fight here and there all at the same time. We can fight patriarchy and white supremacy all at the same time. None of us are truly free as long as ANYONE is oppressed. And, there aren’t many things that are more Christian than that idea.

Not much fun tonight. Like I said, I’m tired. Someday I’ll likely try to explain why. Today is not that day. Today it is easier to rant about Bill Cosby.



T. H. McClung, she/her(s)

In no particular order: Writer, pastor, Mama Bear, LGBTQ+ ally, wife, preacher, watcher of TV, seeker, mystic want-to-be