Bill Cosby, Eddie Murphy and My Dad: Not So Black & White

The year 1983 was a great year in my life. I graduated high school, bought my first car, and Eddie Murphy came out with Delirious. A classmate loaned me the tape one day and explained that Murphy was very funny. I remembered him from SNL, so I figured it would be a great standup routine. Unfortunately, that's all my friend told me.

I was attending college locally and still living with my parents and two younger siblings, so I couldn't wait to get home that evening and share it with my family. I slid the tape into the VCR and took my seat. Not long into Murphy's routine, however, I jumped off the sofa and couldn't turn it off fast enough.

I looked over at my dad with my best apologetic expression and I could see the heat signatures radiating from his head. My dad was a mean cuss, a white Southern farmer who used the "N" word like there was no tomorrow, but vulgarities, especially of a sexual nature, we're not allowed in his house.

I would of course watch it later by myself, and then again and again and again. It was the funniest thing I had ever seen or heard. The blatant and total disregard for social norms and the outrageous language catered to my generation. We loved Eddie and loved him more for making our parents hate and fear him.

At the time there was only one black man my dad would watch on TV, not counting football players and boxers. You guessed it -- Bill Cosby. He was America's dad. Cliff Huxtable. He was wholesome and pure. And my dad, who had a racial streak down the middle of his soul a mile wide, loved him.

My dad died 12 years ago, so he lived long enough to see Eddie Murphy transform into a mild-mannered star of several family-themed movies. But he wouldn't watch them. Murphy was still evil in his eyes. Nothing could change that.

And I guess it's a good thing that Dad died before the allegations started mounting for Bill Cosby. I'm not sure how he would have reacted, but I'm sure he wouldn't have believed them.

I don't know if the allegations against Cosby are true, but knowing how many women have now come forward, and how many had come forward going all the way back to 1969 but never got the media attention that the new accusers are getting, I'm inclined to believe the old adage "Where there's smoke there's fire."

I don't know what's true about Eddie Murphy anymore either. He is almost a recluse and so afraid of offending anyone that he wouldn't even portray Bill Cosby on the SNL 40 special. So we've all lost something from our earlier years.

I've often heard it said that things are never as they seem. Is it possible that the young foul-mouthed Eddie Murphy and the likes of Richard Pryor were the good guys all along? I know I want to believe that. I loved those guys. And is it possible that Bill Cosby, the very image of purity in America, was in fact the villain?

All I can say is that it's true that fact is stranger than fiction. It's a topsy-turvy world. The only consistency I've had in my life is my dad. When he was a young man, he was a mean racial cuss. Before he died at age 68, he was the same mean racial cuss.

I guess I should be thankful that some things never change.