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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,


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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chatondeneige chatondeneige 7 years
I've never watched the Cosby Show. Does that make the vote I cast, and the votes of people like me, somehow different than the votes that people who did watch the show? This is the most ridiculous thing I've seen posted on here.
Melo-D Melo-D 7 years
Thank you caryatid. If any show had an impact, it was 24. David Palmer paved the way! Lol. As much as I am proud that he is a black american (I cried for hours over this accomplishment but it's not the end of the road people), I'm getting tired of it already. When will we see him as just President Obama.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
I knew many African Americans and Latino families, my extended family included who at the time in the (80's) thought that the Cosby show was unrealistic and went so far as to say there are no black families like that. Every white person I knew loved the show and I had a white teacher in H.S. who yammered about it all the time. It is a sad state of affairs when you have people who feel so low about themselves as a people that they can't even give into the notion that people who look like them could be so successful, educated, excellent parents and positive members of society. Like Bill Cosby said the Obama's prove that there are families like the Huxtables out there and it's about time we believe, yes we can.
theglossarie theglossarie 7 years
The Cosbys are my all time fave
caryatid caryatid 7 years
uhhh sorry bill cosby, two words: david palmer.
PiNkY-PiNk PiNkY-PiNk 7 years
exactly wadewifey3 and lorenashley!! why can't we all get over it and admit he won because people were ready for change!?
lorenashley lorenashley 7 years
why the hell are all well off, "functional" black families always compared to the cosby's?? goodness gracious.
lorenashley lorenashley 7 years
oh please drop this! he won! end of story! :oy:
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 7 years
I'm so tired of this Cosby shit being the reason Obama won. Obama won because he went to school and worked hard not a damn television show with fictional characters.
Mykie7 Mykie7 7 years
I don't think you can relate the presidential win to the cosby's. Not only did it now show the typical black american life, it didn't even really show the typical AMERICAN life regardless of color. It was a great show, but come on, a Doctor and a Lawyer, perfect kids and parents that were always home? (And a doctor and lawyer that were always home?) It wasn't realistic in any way, shape or form.
jenintx jenintx 7 years
lmao @ blue. when i was 8, i didn't know what a boner was, but i've always known what a cockroach is, so my point goes to cockroach for being the grosser of the two.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 7 years
Mental Note: It is NOT a good idea to Google "Growing Pains, Boner" on my work computer.
em1282 em1282 7 years
Cockroach was a better nickname than Boner on "Growing Pains". Or is that gross too? ;)
Jessiebanana Jessiebanana 7 years
Of course the Cosby Show didn't directly get Obama elected :oy:, but I do think that every show that increased visibility for people of color in a positive way contributed to the environment that let Obama have a shot at running and winning.
Shadowdamage Shadowdamage 7 years
Maybe generationally...dunno. I grew up on 70s shows that were more powerful, hard-hitting...some quite challenging for the times. You had SOAP, in which Billy Crystal's character was the first, long-term openly gay character on a primetime program. You had All In The Family, where Carroll O' Connor's family so brilliantly exhibited the generational strife and covered everything from bigotry and racism to sexism (in both generations - not just the parents), "intellectual elitism" (witness the fights of Archie vs "The Meathead") and on. You had shows featuring black or nearly all-black casts that yes - were perhaps less upwardly mobile as the Cosby family were portrayed to be, but nevertheless were filled with relevant and strong characters...particularly Good Times had some really sad and powerful moments. Then there's M.A.S.H. which was a whole other can of worms, and another brilliant program too. I especially liked how All In The Family and The Jeffersons was intermingled..the upwardly mobile Jeffersons (the blithering, emotional husband and the strong and articulate wife) clashing eternally with Archie Bunker. It may have been wrapped up in a sitcom setting but the issues were often, and hard-hitting. I guess what I am trying to say is if Cosby did contribute in some way, that's great. But I think in some ways the 70s had laid the groundwork before Cosby did for bringing African-American families into every household, and in a far more confrontational and groundbreaking way, at a time when such things were still quite new to American audiences.
momma-tikita momma-tikita 7 years
And I also don't like shows that feature minorities and only focus on their idenity as members of the group - "Aliens in America" "Girlfriends" "Everybody Hates Chris" etc... zeze one my main reasons for loving the cosby show...well put!
momma-tikita momma-tikita 7 years
Rudy grew up to be really pretty! I saw on House of Payne on some episode and I cant believe its the same little Rudy who dance and lip synced in one of my favorite episodes!
Kkkkkkkkkkk Kkkkkkkkkkk 7 years
Did the Cosby Show help Obama win? :rotfl: Wait... seriously? Oh yeah, it was the Cosby Effect, for sure!
zeze zeze 7 years
I think people are missing the point - the Cosby show didn't get Obama elected, but it did help him, along with a whole bunch of other pop culture that advanced the idea that black people are smart, hard working, intellectual human beings too - and no, u didn't think about this casting your vote, and even those people who were effected by things like the Cosby show, probably didnt think of it when they cast their vote - but for many, I do believe seeing a successful, functional black family on TV enhanced the idea of a different, more favorable view of African-Americans. ...that being said, my pet peeve is the token minority, which is why I LOVED the Cosby show. I hate how on most shows there is never a Jew, Muslim, homosexual, handicapped person, Indian, Native American or any other minority group unless the episode is about that person being whatever group they are - it has gotten a little better with jews and homosexuals though. And I also don't like shows that feature minorities and only focus on their idenity as members of the group - "Aliens in America" "Girlfriends" "Everybody Hates Chris" etc...
liliblu liliblu 7 years
cockroach, yuk. I hated that nickname.
liliblu liliblu 7 years
Dave, I liked Commander and Chief. I would watch it with my mom.
geebers geebers 7 years
COCKROACH! Oh man I am feeling nostalgic. Rudy grew up to be gorgeous by the way.
bellaressa bellaressa 7 years
:lol: I'm upset you were down with cockroach. If you claim to have any sweaters, I have no idea what I will do.
momma-tikita momma-tikita 7 years
:rotfl: cockroach...
girlA girlA 7 years
lol, geebers. Perhaps. The was THE show to watch.
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