Man is evil. Man is wicked. Man is fallible beyond belief. Cliff Huxtable isn’t a man, he is an ethic, an ideal image of the perfect father, husband, brother, friend that we’d all like to believe that we either are or one day can become.
Rembert Browne mentioned in a great piece for Grantland “That’s the great trick of naming the show The Cosby Show, even though there are no Cosby’s in it. It provided Bill with the much-needed mask of Cliff.”
Because Bill Cosby is a man, we must understand that he is in fact fallible and not allow his alleged crimes jade us from the values we learned from watching shows like The Cosby Show, Fat Albert and A Different World that have helped us become better husbands, fathers, brothers, and friends. Losing that faith would bring us back to a mind-state we have fought hard for years to escape.
Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy are some of my most favorite films. In the third installment “The Dark Knight Rises“, the central story arch is about the main villain’s plot to ruin the credibility of the hero so that the people will no longer believe in justice. It’s my fear for that scenario to play out in reality and we will lose the idea of a successful black family.
To understand this issue at its deepest level is to understand our fear of disappointment and our seemingly unavoidable ability to be let down by our heroes, the mask that all celebrities wear is one of murky translucence, but the shattering of our heroes masqueraded countenance seems to happen far too often with people of color. Micheal Jordan gambles, OJ murders, Micheal Jackson wasn’t who we thought he was and now we find neither is Bill Cosby. That saddens me, but doesn’t make me believe that the prospect of black excellence can’t nor doesn’t exist.
I’m blessed to have my aunt and uncle in my life as role models. They both are incredibly educated and successful in their chosen professions. He is a Morehouse educated lawyer and she is a Spellman educated banking professional, but most important in my eyes is the happy home they have created with their 3 children. I see them as the example for how I want my future family to live and be perceived. I am blessed, because many young people where I’m from don’t have a great an example of family that they can reach out and touch let alone ask important life questions to.
The Cosby’s were an example of a wholesome good natured family that looked like us, something that was unconventional to see on TV in 1983 when The Cosby’s debuted as it still is today, so for many of us Cliff Huxtable is the hero that stands for justice.
So far 17 women have bravely come forward to tell their story. The figure that we’ve known as Bill Cosby may have been a lie; but the ideals that Cliff, Claire and the rest of the Huxtable family stood for are as true today as they have ever been. Through our shared TV experiences we learned that it is okay to be ourselves, how to lift one another up and that a happy family isn’t an esoteric idea or endangered concept.
Oscar Wilde once wrote “The fact of a man being a prisoner is nothing against his prose.” I may not be able to watch the Cosby show again and neither will my kids, but I am thankful for the lessons I was able to garner. Those are the same lessons that I hope will be engrained into the legacy of my family. I’m talking about faith, love, respect and love of knowledge.
Bill Cosby may be a monster, evil, wicked, and fallible but Bill Cosby is a human and fallibility is a symptom of homo-sapien. Luckily, Cliff Huxtable isn’t just a man, he represents family and for as long as I live never will there be a day where I don’t believe in family.
4.All Allegedly Up