Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

People

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

People

Article excerpt

Cosby lacks support among young blacks

Bill Cosby hasn't been "America's dad" for years. For some blacks, he is the cranky uncle complaining about young African- Americans who, in his view, dress and behave in a way that drags down their race.

The shift in perceptions of Cosby, from revered comedian to more of a public scold, may be costing him support among blacks as he battles decades-old accusations of drugging and sexually assaulting women.

More than 15 women have come forward since November claiming to have been drugged, sexually assaulted or both by Cosby, who has never been charged in connection with any of the allegations. Two women are suing him.

Few people outside Cosby's circle of family and friends are rallying around him. Besides the gravity of the accusations, Cosby's own words may explain why.

"He's asking people to pull up their pants and act right," said Fredrick Harris, director of the Institute for Research in African- American Studies at Columbia University. "People are questioning, 'Why were you unzipping yours and pulling yours down?' "

Cosby's criticism of young blacks may be causing them to turn away from him, said Tamara Winfrey Harris, author of an upcoming book on black women and marriage. Younger blacks don't have the connection with and affection for Cosby that older blacks have.

Cosby has tried to rally African- Americans to his side, saying he expected "our black media to uphold the standards of excellence in journalism, and when you do that you have to go in with a neutral mind."

That prompted Bob Butler, president of the National Association of Black Journalists, to immediately fire back, telling TMZ that, as journalists, "You don't go easier on a person with color."

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