If you grew up in the 1980s then William Henry Cosby Jr. was just as much a part of your household as any favorite aunt or uncle that ate too much food during the holidays and in some cases even moreso. “Bill” Cosby’s character Heathcliff Huxtable became a staple in the psyche of popular American culture. Something difficult to accomplish for an African American today and impossible 3 decades ago. It is for these facts I am trying to suppress my judgment on the situation currently placing him in the heart of a media whirlwind of rape allegations. Hearing damaging news about Cliff, someone many felt was the ideal father figure, tears at a hope and resolve we forgot we had erected. The curtain is ripped away in the same way as a kid when we run into our grade school teacher at the supermarket on a weekend. For a child whose only memory of their parent is some perfect ideal realizing their mother or father is an actual human being with flaws is damaging or even traumatizing* even though its shouldn’t be.
Bill Cosby was not the savior of American family values nor will he single handedly stop the progress of the black man, it just doesn’t help much. Cliff is now a man flaws and all, that no longer sits at the heart of an ideal that many subconsciously aimed for in their parenting :” If I can be a father like Cliff…”. Now maybe Cliff cheated on Clair and one of the Cosby kids was illegitimate (i.e. Denise?).
We are all human beings and by design operate on the side of error often. This even applies to our perfect surrogate TV father figures. Repeat after me: I am not perfect. I am not perfect. I am not perfect. As a parent you should try to always be as honest with your children as possible; share your flaws. Let your children know you mess up sometimes. Being perfect is great if you can maintain it but I think its much easier just being yourself. The rub of course is how much do you share? Enough so that when your children grow up and see you having a drink or saying a curse word you don’t become a completely different person. If you secretly had a life as a serial date rapist however that might be another issue all together.
Being an African American male in the United States wasn’t exactly a cake walk before but between Bill Cosby, Ray Rice and Mike Brown it seems to be an — this compounds the pressures of being a single black father a bit — enduring hopeless existence. Its not. And as a parent its your duty to combat these thoughts daily otherwise your children may pay for it.
– A Single Dad
*Sidenote: I wouldn’t be surprised if someone sues Bill Cosby for emotional trauma based on the allegations in the media just because they “can’t deal”.