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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — After spending years building his persona as a model husband and father, Bill Cosby took an abrupt turn nearly 15 years ago with a now-infamous speech to an NAACP convention.

He used his celebrity status to condemn poor African-Americans, chiding them to pull up their sagging pants, deriding them for having children out of wedlock and blaming them for their impoverished circumstances.

“Are you not paying attention? People with their hat on backwards, pants down around the crack . with names like Shaniqua, Shaligua, Mohammed and all that crap, and all of them are in jail.”

Cosby himself is now headed to a Pennsylvania prison cell, and many black Americans see his sentence as a moment of racial comeuppance.

As they learned of Cosby’s three- to 10-year prison term for sexual assault, the same people who were his targets in the 2004 speech regarded his fate as a convergence of karma, hubris and hypocrisy. Some quoted Cosby’s own words in tweets announcing the sentence.

Cosby “made the decision to focus his attention on beating up on the black poor, on telling the world that black people were dysfunctional, pathological and undeserving of equal protection under the law,” said Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill. “When somebody like that, who positions themselves as the moral authority of black America, gets called onto the carpet, you ain’t getting no breaks here. People are going to be frustrated.”

Writer Michael Arceneaux said Cosby’s contempt for people who grew up in low-income communities, as Arceneaux did in Houston, left him with little sympathy for Cosby, who also hailed from humble beginnings.

“I found it enraging,” Arceneaux said of the “Poundcake” speech, so called because Cosby make a remark about blacks supposedly getting shot in disputes over dessert cake.

“I knew he was a hypocrite. To learn how much pain he has caused to women over decades . I find it ironic. Those speeches proved to be his undoing. I’m glad he got what he deserved,” he added.

Cosby’s own words were a catalyst for his downfall. In a July 2015 memo outlining the decision to unseal a 2005 deposition in the case, a federal judge cited the speech: “This case . is not about defendant’s status as a public person by virtue of the exercise of his trade as a televised or comedic personality. Rather, defendant has donned the mantle of public moralist and mounted the proverbial electronic or print soap box to volunteer his views on, among other things, child rearing, family life, education and crime.”

“The stark contrast between Bill Cosby, the public moralist, and Bill Cosby, the subject of serious allegations concerning improper (and perhaps criminal) conduct, is a matter as to which . the public has a significant interest,” he continued.

Cosby pointed to systemic irresponsibility, not racism, as the root cause of what was wrong with black culture. But after his sentencing, spokesman Andrew Wyatt called Cosby’s trial “the most racist and sexist” in American history. He referred to the entertainer as “one of the greatest civil rights leaders” and accused the media, judge and prosecution team of prejudice against a black man.

Cosby, who is 81 and legally blind, was the first celebrity of the #MeToo era to be sent to prison. The movement, which began a year ago, has centered around men in Hollywood, the media and politics. While several powerful men have lost their livelihoods and reputations, no one else has lost their freedom.

Tuesday’s sentencing came amid a firestorm surrounding the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, who is accused by three women of sexual misconduct as a high school and college student. Kavanaugh has denied all of the allegations and is expected to testify Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, along with one of his accusers, Christine Blasey Ford.

Rather than reveling in revenge for Cosby, the focus now should be on justice for all credible accusers, Columbia University political science professor Keith Boykin said.

“He disappointed me. He didn’t put anything in my drink,” Hill said. “As awful as he has been to the world, my commitment is not to punishing Bill Cosby. It’s getting justice for his victims.”




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7 thoughts on “Some Black Americans See Racial Comeuppance In Cosby Saga

  1. African American Woman on said:

    So….because Bill Cosby was caring and open enough to call us out on stuff we do, some black people are implying he deserves what he got? Not I don’t know if he did it or not, but we are a sick and hypocritical people if so.

  2. I am not simple and I understand that people are assaulted everyday, physically, sexually and otherwise. And I am not such a Bill Cosby fan that if he perpetrated these crimes on those women, he should’ve been punished. I just think that they had it in for him, just as they have for others with some celebrity. I just do not believe a single word that any of those desperate women said. I can’t get over the fact that if they were so devastated, why did they wait decades to report it?

  3. It is ashamed that Bill Cosby has fallen from the pedestal that some folks placed him on.
    This just goes to show that although a celebrity–you are still HUMAN.

    I truly hope that Mr. Cosby’s legacy will remain in tact, but I doubt it.
    He has now and forever will be labeled a “sexual predator.”

    They even took his last bit of decency when the PIGS had him shackled at his ankles
    like an 81 yr old man is gonna RUN AWAY!!!!!!!!

    I pray that this man will only have to serve a portion of his sentence, and that
    he will be granted mercy!!!!

    • “Pigs”??? Its disgusting how you blacks always refer to police as pigs! I think you hate them so much because you have a criminal mentality and they are the ones who bring you to justice so you have a natural animosity towards them and it’s sad because they are the good guys which makes you the evil ones even though that is one of your favorite words when referring to white people.

  4. Michael Downs on said:

    Cosby told many comedians you don’t need to be vulgar and use 4-letter words in your act. That was just his opinion because his style is different. But to turn on the man? Reminds me of my college yrs, I’d ask blacks of prominence and others-why do you hate Jesse Jackson? Their response: All he does is think about himself. Crap. Crap. Jackson has been in the jungle fighting for us since the 50s. Black Exploitation movies of the 70s-blacks working in all areas of cinema-stopped, not because of whites but because of blacks–you are insulting us.Blacks gave the genre the name “Black Exploitation.” Then when someone like OJ Simpson runs to black churches now that he’s desperate, he’s welcomed with open arms even-though-he had nothing to do with black folks until he was on the way to prison. Everyone knew it. So often we are our own worst enemies. My apologies for the typos in the first post. This computer prematurely posted my comments before I could go over things. I hate that!

  5. Mike D…I am the most liberal minded person around. I get sicvk of black folks turning on black folks. Everytime a celbrity or famous person turn the responsibility on us–black folks, thy are accused of being anti black and not fair. The paster speaking during Arethat’s funeral got the same crap. Cosby was being realitic. This is usually a conservative black placing the blame on our people. Here, Cosby has been a powerful civil rights activits, has givern millions tom black universities and has been helping our youth forever. Folks forget about that. Same as black comedians-

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