In the height of the extensively publicized trials of the likes of Bill Cosby, R. Kelly, and the recent documentary about Michael Jackson, black men who are facing allegations of sexual abuse and harassment, a polarizing contention is often brought up in both formal and informal forums: the white media publicly lynching black men.
The narrative is straightforward: white people are publicly lynching famous black men to extents that invalidate their achievements and contribution to the society through double standards that seem not to apply to white men accused of the same things. And there is a massive contingent of black people who believe in the conspiracy that Bill Cosby is tried as a black man more than an American.
These people contend that there is a problem in the system where black men are the only ones convicted of crimes that even white people do. While this argument bears merit in cases where black men are innocent, it definitely does not work in the case of Bill Cosby.
Bill Cosby is serving a three to a ten-year prison sentence for sexually abusing a woman in 2004. The American Dad, a moniker he earned through his famous The Cosby Show in the 90s, was also accused by more than 60 women of the same things – sexual harassment, sexual abuse, drugging, sexual battery, and exploitation of minors. Amidst the damning amount of evidence piled up against Bill Cosby and the number of victim testimonies that proves his guilt, there are still people who believe that he is another victim of white persecution.
Bill Cosby, for all its worth, has leveraged on the narrative that he is a ‘political prisoner,’ who was convicted by a system that is rigged in favor of White America. His publicist, Andrew Wyatt, even claimed that Bill Cosby’s conviction is ‘public lynching of black people in America.’
We’ve heard the same sentiments from the estates of Michael Jackson, invoking the ‘public lynching’ narrative after the airing of Leaving Neverland, a docu-series that accused the late King of Pop of sexually harassing two young boys in the past.
In the same manner, R. Kelly, who is accused of sexually abusing underage women and is currently facing ten counts of aggravated sexual assault charges, even has supporters who paid his million-dollar bail and the $190,000 child support he owed from his ex wife and children so he can keep out of jail.
While it is true that White America is lynching a lot of black men, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly are not one of them. Black men are continued to be purged by law enforcement, and their blood seeps through every drainage in different towns. Black men are denied employment every day just because they are black. Police are called just because a black kid is present in a supposedly white neighborhood. Yes, black men are being lynched every single day. No doubt.
In using the public lynching narrative, what the likes of Bill Cosby and R. Kelly do, sexual predators that prey on young women, the message becomes devalued. It ends up as an excuse black people make up to get out of the troubles they have created themselves. It invalidates the actual real-life lynching of legitimate black people who are denied from their freedom just because they are black.
And in sexual assault cases, where victim testimony is the most persuasive evidence against an accused, using the lynching narrative invalidates the stories and the truths of the victims who have been afraid of coming out for the same reason that the lynching argument perpetuates fear. It discourages other victims to come forward and put sexual assailants behind bars. Worse, it encourages black men to become monsters, as it gives them a convenient way out.
More importantly, the black lynching argument, especially in the case of Bill Cosby, who has been convicted of a crime in a fair judicial procedure, slaps the memories of those who were lynched in history. Black men and women who were denied the right to a fair trial and was executed just because they are guilty through the virtue of their skin color.
White America is lynching black men; but no, Bill Cosby among others who use the argument as an excuse to solicit undeserved public sympathy is not one of them.