Did The Cosby Show Help Obama Win?


If you grew up in the '80s in a less-than-diverse town, the Huxtables may have the been the only African-American family you knew. At some point — probably rather later than was right — you made the connection: Theirs was not the typical American black experience.

Shifts in pop culture precede political and social change — or so I hear. The Cosby Show was about a family that happened to be black and not about a family being black, which sounds an awful lot like what was said about a certain campaign. Gone was the dysfunction and bickering of previous shows, and here was a fun (they put on shows at home!), loving family.

Is it possible that the Huxtables opened the doors to the White House? That’s what people are saying. To see why, read more.

The reactions that came in after the election sounded a lot like research results on why The Cosby Show was so popular among blacks and whites. The author of Enlightened Racism: The Cosby Show, Audiences, and the Myth of the American Dream said, “Black families we interviewed were incredibly proud and incredibly grateful that finally there were images that were dignified, and they were represented as human. White Americans would say, ‘Here is an intact black family.’"

Bill Cosby isn't taking credit for Obama's win, though. Yet he does not deny the effect his show had on racial views. Its legacy, he said, might have played a role in the country’s embrace of Mr. Obama and his family.

I have to agree with Bill Cosby — there are way too many variables in an election to claim correlation. But considering the generation that the The Cosby Show raised is now all voting, it certainly couldn't have hurt.

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