Bill Cosby is a piece of human excrement, and I’ve been of that opinion long before his arrest, trial, conviction and sentencing for the abhorrent, sexually deviant behavior he subjected women to for close to a half century. He roundly deserves the public shaming he has been experiencing due to his being a pervert of the worse kind.
But my problem with Cosby began years ago when he started going on rants about poor black folks and how they were in essence responsible for the horrid condition their lives are in, as if they were making a conscious decision to live below the poverty line. He was telling shoeless people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.
For any successful black person to not address — or at least mention — the societal conditions and racism that created and maintains the black underclass in this country (and instead simply points fingers at their poorer brethren instead) is abominable, and Cosby was by far the worse.
Now, with all of that said, I still believe that prisons should be reserved for people that pose a danger to society, and not for people we’re simply mad at. Certainly, Cosby’s decades of crimes against women is terrible, but for anyone to make the argument that he — at his advanced age and condition — still poses a threat to society is sheer and utter nonsense. Prison is not the place for him.
Did race play a role at Cosby’s sentencing? Of course, it did — race plays a role every time a black person stands at the bar of justice here in America, and for anyone to posit otherwise is foolish or naïve. But was Cosby railroaded because of his race? No. I believe he actually did what he was accused of doing. And his using the race card in an attempt to exculpate his deviant behavior is not only sickening, but it also devalues said race card. If people like Cosby are allowed to misuse it, then the race card will be worthless when true cases of racism occur.
Now if Harvey Weinstein isn’t convicted and sentenced to prison, then (and only then) will I give Cosby’s cries of racism any credence. But my opinion that prison be reserved for those that are truly dangerous to society extends to Weinstein as well as most other men accused of horrible behavior towards women.
But it really comes down to a matter of degrees — what kind of sexual predators are we speaking of? “Tree Jumpers,” as they are called in prison, are the worse kind. They jump out of a tree (or from behind a bush), grab an unsuspecting woman as she walks down the street and drags her to a secluded spot where the heinous vile act is committed. For these kinds of perpetrators — true sexual fiends — isolation, away from society, until they are too old to recommit a crime is what’s called for, and I don’t think they should be given a second chance by letting them out of prison after 10 or 20 years. No, there is no known cure for this kind of sickness so society should never be put at risk by the handing down of flawed sentences. Incarcerate them until they no longer have the physical ability to inflict pain on others.
But men — like Cosby, Weinstein, Spacey, Moonves, et al — who used their celebrity status and position to lure unsophisticated naïfs into sexual situations where consent was murky or not consciously given at all, fall into another category since they are not Tree Jumpers. Certainly, they are creeps but once their power to solicit, command and offer rewards of some kind is gone, so too does their behavior disappear.
Once these types of pathetic cowards are outed, they no longer enjoy their celebrity status and therefore do not have the power or ability to attract additional victims. Indeed, they’re avoided like the plague, as they should be.
The #MeToo movement has been doing a wonderful job of starting a process that will eventually bring an end to the disgusting climate of entitlement that allows too many scumbags to engage in sexual misconduct. There’s still a ways to go, but there’s reason to believe that complete success will one day be achieved and women will no longer have to fear degradation at the hands of a predator.
But please, let’s reserve prisons for truly dangerous people, not those that merely disgust us, even if their behavior is proven to be criminal. The fact is, our country is by far the most punitive in the history of the world, and while overusing incarceration might give temporary satisfaction to victims, this is a practice that further erodes the liberties of all citizens, but poor citizens of color are the ones that suffer disproportionately.
From CoolCleveland correspondent Mansfield B. Frazier mansfieldfATgmail.com. Frazier’s From Behind The Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate is available in hardback. Snag your copy and have it signed by the author at http://NeighborhoodSolutionsInc.