What Role is Race Playing in Cosby Jury Selection?

Written by on 24 May 2017

As Bill Cosby’s trial for drugging and molesting a woman gets underway, some serious questions are being raised about the role of race in jury selection proceedings. The current pool of 11 jurors only contains one black woman. While two black women have been dismissed by prosecutors, they gave compelling reasons as to why, which they claimed had nothing to do with race. Of course, Cosby’s camp is calling foul.

The Cosby case is not the first trial featuring a black defendant with few or no black jurors. A situation that has reared its ugly head time and time again and has left many to feel as if black defendants do not get a fair chance in the criminal justice. Even with his star power, fame and fortune, Cosby could just as easily be any regular defendant of color.

Since race is on the table, an interesting element in this case is Cosby’s own history with black folk. Just a few years ago, he made it his mission to publicly denigrate, deride and degrade black culture on everything from name choices to lack of education to speech manners and more. This undoubtedly left many blacks with a less than rosy outlook of Cosby.

Now that Cosby is yet another black man caught up in the criminal justice system, he seems to be softening his stance on the plight blacks since he’s probably in the shoes of a lot of the blacks he once brushed off as “thugs.” He’s now said that race “could be, could be” a factor in his own criminal case. At this point, should blacks embrace him as another brother caught up in the system? Or should blacks leave him out to dry? Or should race be left out altogether?


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