The allegations of sexual misconduct currently hounding comedian Bill Cosby are not as ‘new’ as his apologists are making out. Like President Bill Clinton, Cosby has never been a clean-cut figure in sexual matters and some of the charges under current discussion have been reheated from quite some time ago.
That begs the question then as to why Cosby has only recently been stamped with the status of an ethical black sheep.
The answer, so I’m told, is that Cosby is viewed affectionately by the American Right, and since the Right-wing press usually nominates itself as America’s moral guardian (Clinton being the example par excellence), they must have ‘gone easy’ in this case.
The American right developed this affection for Cosby because of the comedians useful (and weakly admirable) comments on African-American failures in American life. The comedian criticised the thug ethics of hip-hop, the anti-aspirational climate of the Black ghetto, and – most famously of all – the fashion of sagging pants so prevalent in and iconic of this ethnic niche.
Still, it’s now clear that however helpful Cosby has been in this respect, Conservatives (if they have done so) are wrong to treat him with a light touch, especially given the nature of the allegations being put forward.
We can also take this occasion to mention another case, this time where the Left ‘went easy’ on the failings of a black man they politically sympathised with. This is the case of ‘Dr’ Martin Luther King.
I appreciate that to even suggest Saint Martin was in anyway a flawed individual amounts to blasphemy in America. But since we’re in the UK, we have a liberty we can and should exercise.
Here are some of the less admirable behaviours of the ‘Man with a Dream’:
It is now broadly accepted that Dr. King was not actually a Dr. deserving of the title. His doctoral thesis was in large parts plagiarised.
The ‘I have a dream’ speech is of disputed authorship but it was at the very least ‘co-drafted’ by Stanley Levison, a man who, it was recently revealed, often acted as King’s ‘ghostwriter’.
King was also a serial womanizer and is known to have had numerous extra-marital affairs.
The lionisation of King by the Left has allowed these facts to remain little-known outside of fringe conservative (or outrightly racist) intellectual circles. A regrettable situation and one that red-faces the discipline of historiography.
But don’t let Cosby or King fool you. There are real Black heroes. Might I nominate the brilliant Dr. Condoleezza Rice, possibly the ablest Secretary of State America has had since the Reagan era; the War Hero and former senator Allen West; the economist Thomas Sowell; the musical pioneers Muddy Waters, Leadbelly and John Lee Hooker; the economist Dambisa Moyo; the Afro-Arab apostate Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
There really is no need to exalt the tawdry when such glittering examples are readily available to us.