Mrs. Cosby Targets Racism In U.S.

One day after Ennis Cosby's murderer was found guilty by a jury, an editorial written by the victim's mother, Camille Cosby, was printed in USA Today.

In her essay, Mrs. Cosby blames America for teaching Mikail Markhasev, her son's killer, to hate black people because of the various forms of racism she says pervade this society.

"I believe America taught our son's killer to hate African-Americans," she writes. "After Mikail Markhasev killed Ennis William Cosby on Jan. 16, 1997, he said to his friends, 'I shot a nigger. It's all over the news'."

Dr. Alvin Poussaint, an expert on race relations and family friend of the Cosbys told CBS 'This Morning' Co-Anchor Russ Mitchell that Mrs. Cosby felt the media "had played down the racial aspect of the case."

"This young man didn't like black people. He used the word 'nigger'," Poussaint said. "I think that this was played down so much that Camille felt the need to present this to the American public."

Poussaint noted that the crime had been called a "botched robbery," but that Markhasev had shot Cosby in the head and did not take his cash, watch, or car.

"I think there's reason to believe he shot Ennis Cosby because Ennis Cosby was a black man," Poussaint said.

Camille Cosby's editorial notes that the killer of her only son probably did not learn to hate black people in his native country, the Ukraine. There, she says, the black population is near zero.
She added that he was not likely to have seen "America's intolerable, sterotypical movies and television programs about blacks, which were not shown in the Soviet Union before the killer and his family moved to America in the late 1980s."

Mrs. Cosby also writes about the risk of being black in America.

"All African-Americans, regardless of their educational and economic accomplishments, have been and are at risk in America simply because of their skin colors," she writes.

Poussaint, a psychology professor at Harvard University, agreed.

"She's saying that, as long as you have hate groups that are targeting black people, there's a risk that they may randomly pick any black person and kill them," Poussaint explained.

He noted the recent brutal murder of James Byrd Jr., a black man in Jasper, Texas, who was killed by three young white men with ties to white supremacy groups.

"In that sense, just because of your skin color, you're at risk for one of those types of hate crimes," Poussaint said.

Mrs. Cosby writes that propoganda against people of color is evident in the representation of holy figures in Christianity, who have been "recreated in images of whiteness."

"In some ways, it creates or endorses white supremacist kinds of imagery within the religion, which habeen a problem for people of color and has been a problem for African-Americans."

Poussaint said the white imagery of God and Christian holy people had been a problem for growing up as a black in a Christian community.

Markhasev's lawyers plan on filing an appeal, but legal experts have said they have little legal basis to win. Markhasev, 19, faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.