Sunday, November 30, 2014

No One Wanted to Talk About Bill Cosby's Alleged Crimes Because He Made White America Feel Good About Race

From the New Republic:

Of course, patriarchal attitudes about sex and limitations around racial representation were not some special poison slipped into 'The Cosby Show,' any more than the privileging of white experience is exclusive to 'Girls.' These are messages baked into practically every iteration of popular culture (and politics) in the United States—from 'Friends' to 'The Sopranos,' from Bill Clinton to Barack Obama. They’re baked in because we’re a fundamentally racist and sexist country with persistently racist and sexist attitudes. The chilling lesson, perhaps, is that the cheerier, popular vision put forth by Bill Cosby was illusory all along.

More here.

An old buddy of mine sent me this link via private message on facebook. Here's the response I sent him.

Excellent essay.

And I keep making statements (like the one excerpted above) to the same effect, myself, but a lot of people not only disbelieve me, but they also get pissed off that I talk that way. I mean, not everybody, of course, but enough to make me think that such statements are entirely true. That is, we're so deeply underwater with racist and sexist notions in our culture, so accepting of the current state of affairs as being entirely normal, that it outrages people who perceive themselves as off-the-hook.

I mean, I'm not off the hook, myself. I have racist and sexist thoughts popping into my head much more than I'd like, and I am consciously anti-racist and feminist. If it's happening to me, it's GOT to be happening to a lot of people, especially those who are only moderately anti-racist or feminist.

It's all such a convoluted cultural and psychological mess, with so many people hostile to the discourse itself on this stuff, let alone familiar with and able to participate in that discourse, that it's difficult to imagine a way out. We have a massive cultural problem here, with massive economic and political ramifications, and we, as a society, can barely even talk about it.

But you know me from way back. That's just a challenge.