Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Cosby Show.

For this week, I chose to look at the black identity of The Cosby Show, which was an extremely popular sitcom starring Bill Cosby and aired on NBC from 1984 to 1992. I found an interesting essay with the title "White Racism and The Cosby Show" which can be found here.

The essay writes that the Cosby show obviously starred an African American family, and that it had to deal with the fact that America at this time was still befouled by racism, which made marketing this show quite difficult. The show had to represent race as a positive thing, that made the audience members feel good about themselves, allowing them to continue to tune in each week. The essay says that by the end of the first year of the show starting, it had won its admission into segregated European American's homes.

It continues to write, that the show didn't overtly tackle the issues on racism, as it would have alienated the white audience as well as being a huge commercial failure. In a way, it gave a rather positive representation of Black identity, with the family being quite well off, allowing black audiences to feel good about their racial indentity with this positive black family aired across the nation.

However as the essay suggests "For many white viewers, however, this "positive message" may fortify racism at least as much as it dilutes it. As economic conditions worsen for most blacks in the United States even more than for most whites, more prosperous Americans no doubt find it comforting to imagine the Huxtables as viable role-models for the poor." This goes back on the positive images set off as Cosby wanted when creating the television show.

Overall The Cosby Show allowed a black family into the homes of Americans across the nation, showing them the positive side of African Americans, as well as being a role model, not only for black families but white families as well. With no ulterior motive of attacking racism and the people behind it, it chose to ignore it and focus on family values rather than racial values.

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