OUR COMMON GROUND Voice, Dr. Mark Anthony Neal reflects on the 30th Anniversary of The Cosby Show
“This weekend marks the 30th anniversary of when The Cosby Show first aired. The sitcom – which focused on the lives of two African American professionals and their five children – was groundbreaking for its consistent depiction of black middle-class life, without any of the stock stereotypes that had largely accompanied previous presentations of black life on television and in film.
Neal writes, " To be clear, no one could ever accuse the Huxtables of being a black family in whiteface, but we also understood that there would be no Malcolm X speeches in between segments. Cosby navigated race much like the first black president, Barack Obama, does – letting the images of black respectability do the heavy lifting. To Cosby’s credit, he was aware of the criticisms of the show’s tepid race politics, launching the spin-off A Different World in the fall of 1987, with daughter Denise at the center."