I loved watching the Cosby Show growing up. As a younger adult I used to watch the Cosby Show nearly everyday on DVD to give me a taste of home while I was living abroad. I can’t tell you how much I personally appreciated not only the good laughs but especially the overall impact of such a truthfully positive portrayal of Black excellence and Black families on screen.

Then the news came out.

Hard truths had to be embraced for the sake of survivors and all who had endured similar atrocities at the hands of powerful men.

“So what do I do with all of these DVDs?” I wondered. But the deeper question was really “What do I do with all of these good feelings I have about the Cosby Show?” How could I go on feeling the same knowing what had happened?

This inner conflict has been the story of America for centuries. America has been good to a lot of people – just like Cosby had been good to me. And at the same time there are millions upon millions of survivors – of systemic racism, marginalization, dehumanization, and injustice – whose experiences cannot be ignored.

Coming to terms with the incredibly painful complexity of human nature – being both ingenious and deeply monstrous at the same time – is the life skill we will all need in order to better love our neighbors.

We all have a “Cosby.”  Maybe your “Cosby” is America itself.

The longer we run from the national rites of passage of coming to terms with America’s complexity, the longer the journey will be towards equality and freedom for all.

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