Stanfield: Save the world from yourself

Arisson Stanfield

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by the Collegian or its editorial board.
College is a pivotal time in sculpting ourselves to be who we want to be. Before we try to change the world with our education, make sure you are a person you can be proud of. 
Before the testimonies of some 60 women alleging that Cosby had sexually assaulted them, he was almost inseparable from his clean and wholesome persona.
In his stand up, Cosby avoided stoking the terrible flames of racial division that defined the 60’s and 70’s. He was of the opinion that if White people and Black people could learn to see what they had in common then it was possible for them to recognize that they were more alike than different.
Cosby was more than just an idealist. He and fellow comic Jerry Seinfeld arguably proved that it was possible for someone to be wholesome and successful. ‘Bill Cosby: Himself,’ which is widely regarded as the greatest comedy concert film ever made and reflects only a portion of the success Cosby achieved in film and television.  
‘The Cosby Show’ is frequently praised for the effect it has had on popular culture. From popularizing historically black colleges and universities(HBCUs) to flying in the face of harmful stereotypes, the program undeniably shaped an entire generation, particularly young African Americans. 
Despite his success and influence, Cosby’s star has faded and his name has been tarnished. His legacy is mired by the revelations of his long history of sexual abuse and it is perfectly fair for this to be the case. Abusers must be held accountable and cannot simply have their transgressions passed along and overlooked because of their positive contributions to the world.
The rise and fall of people like Cosby is particularly tragic. Had he not succumbed to his darkest impulses, he would unquestionably be a shining example of what good is. If Cosby had managed to change himself and fix his own failings before he attempted to change the world, he could have given birth to beautiful works of art that would have changed the world far after his time in it.
Instead, Cosby won the world and lost his soul. As a result, all the promise and potential he could have brought into the world remains tragically stillborn. A bad apple spoils the bunch and one dark smudge can tarnish a legacy. 
But Cosby is not the only example of those whose personal failings have threatened their legacy.
Many are taken back upon discovering Martin Luther King Jr. was a philanderer. It is not easy to stomach the fact that Gandhi was a racist and tested his chastity by sleeping in the same bed as young women. 
Even Asia Argento, actress and prominent figure in the #MeToo movement has had her positive contributions amidst allegations that she is guilty of sexual assault. 
The problem with these figures is that they were of weak character. They failed to follow the biblical dictum, from Matthew, that warns one to “remove the plank from your own eye,” before attempting to remove the speck from the eye of another. 
College is a time for dreams- vibrant, powerful, and life-changing dreams. Each of us has an innate drive to make the world a more habitable place for those who are marginalized, neglected, oppressed and forgotten. Every day that we allow ourselves to be anything less than virtuous is a day that we put these dreams in jeopardy. 
So dream, dream fearlessly and tirelessly and when you wake remember to fix yourself before you fix the world. 
Arisson Stanfield can be reached at or on Twitter @OddestOdyssey.