Bill Cosby Equates Republican Racism With Anti-Civil Rights Segregationists

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For a certain segment of Bill Cosby’s fan base, the legendary comedian is as pristine as it gets. That is, so long as he doesn’t step out of his place. The moment he does, all huckleberry hell breaks loose. Indeed, one quick scan of the virtual abyss — otherwise known as the comments section — and it’s clear who would rather see Cosby do a shimmy in a good suit with Phylicia Rashad in the opening credits of “The Cosby Show” than bear witness to the racism of Republicans.

During an appearance on Monday morning’s edition of CNN’s “Starting Point,” Cosby told Republican former Congressman Connie Mack (R-FL) that the racism that was once front and center in America decades ago isn’t that different today.

News blog Mediate recapped the exchange:

Host Soledad O’Brien was leading a panel discussion about the 1965 Bloody Sunday march across Selma, Alabama’s Edmund Pettus Bridge, the anniversary of which was marked by about 10,000 marchers this weekend, and she remembered a symbolic example of the contrast between progress and repression.

‘I read about you, at the same time the fight for rights in the South was going on,’ she said, to Cosby, ‘you were on the verge of winning an Emmy award. First Black man – in 1966 you would win an Emmy award. And the show ‘I Spy’ was banned in the South.”

“Just a couple of stations,” Cosby replied, then turned to Congressman Connie Mack, who had said something inaudible. “What did you say?

“It’s just hard to believe,” Rep. Mack, joined by wife and fellow former Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), said. “It’s unbelievable.”

“I don’t think so,” Cosby shot back. “Not when you look at the President’s speech recently.”

Cosby was referring to President Barack Obama’s recent State of the Union address in which several of his political adversaries made it painfully aware that they would rather be filing their toenails down with a pointy rock than bear another moment of his speech.

Cosby explained:

To see people sitting down when there are others standing and cheering. I think we have people sitting there who are as bad as the people who were against any kind of desegregation.

And then in place of a better America, they want their own sick feelings put across, and it’s — it isn’t — it isn’t a good time, but I think, also on our part as professors and presidents of colleges all over, and in public schools, we need to get the education of the correct history that happened so people can say, ‘Yes, this really did happen.’”

Watch Cosby’s comments here:


Not surprisingly, not a lot of people – particularly the conservative-leaning White ones – were thrilled with these comments.

On Cosby’s remarks, a few commenters on the Washington Times wrote:

“Bill Cosby, I have lost all respect for you. I’m not racist!!! Obama is just failure as leader his policies and agenda is/are doing America in and if this is raciats [sic] so be it. Obama is a loser, voted in by uninformd [sic] voters or just dmmies [sic] out here.”

The term ‘racist’ is used nowadays the way the word ‘communist’ was back in the 1950s. If you didn’t agree with the Establishment in the 1950s, you were a ‘communist.’ Today, if you don’t agree with the Establishment (even if the issue at hand has nothing to do with race) you are a ‘racist.’”

And on and on went the stupidity, false equivalencies, and overall flawed contrarian arguments.

To be fair, Cosby’s example was not the best. A rival political party opting to sit down as the commander-in-chief they didn’t vote for spews out a bunch of political rhetoric that goes against everything they believe in is common. It’s not as if you ever saw Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) hitting her two-step as former President George W. Bush talked about planning to privatize social security.

Nevertheless, any yokel with half a clue could understand that Cosby’s core point is valid.

There have been numerous instances of Republicans exhibiting a disgusting level of disrespect toward Obama.

Yes, our political culture has become more adversarial, but shouts of “YOU LIE” and racially charged language — some covert, but other instances unabashedly bigoted — prove that part of the resentment many Republicans harbor toward our current President is fueled in racial bias.

And there are other realities: The prison industrial complex, Black and White wealth disparities reaching historic highs, and schools being segregated by race and class more so now in the modern era than at the time of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination.

Then there are the efforts to disenfranchise Black voters, which if you ask Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, just goes to show how “entitled” Blacks arethe nerve of us, demanding that we be allowed our legal right to vote without interruption.

Cosby’s critics are nitpicking one misplaced point to deflect for an undeniable truth. They know what it is, and if they don’t, they’re purposefully refusing to acknowledge it.

Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer and blogger. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter: @youngsinick

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