Monday, Sep 22nd

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The Huxtable Effect

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America has elected her first Black President! But before Obama - there was Bill Cosby.

They are calling this the Huxtable Effect!
Some theorists argue that political and social change is preceded by shifts in popular culture. So it’s not surprising that the debate has heated up over who, or what, in arts and entertainment presaged Barack Obama election as president.

Many ideas have ricocheted around academia and the blogosphere — from Oprah Winfrey to Tiger Woods to Will Smith to “The West Wing,” to the many actors who have played black presidents, among them Morgan Freeman and Chris Rock (although not that many people actually saw Mr. Rock’s film “Head of State”).

But one idea seems to be gaining traction, and improbably it has Bill Cosby and Karl Rove in agreement: “The Cosby Show,” which began on NBC in 1984 and depicted the Huxtables, an upwardly mobile black family — a departure from the dysfunction and bickering that had characterized some previous shows about black families — had succeeded in changing racial attitudes enough to make an Obama candidacy possible.

On election night Mr. Rove, the former Bush strategist, said on Fox News: “We’ve had an African-American first family for many years in different forms. When ‘The Cosby Show’ was on, that was America’s family. It wasn’t a black family. It was America’s family.”

Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint, a psychiatrist at the Jude Baker Children’s Center in Boston and a professor at Harvard Medical School who was a script consultant on “The Cosby Show,” said in an interview that “there were a lot of young people who were watching that show who are now of voting age.” Link

These positive past images of Black Men & Women on TV laid the groundwork and prepared America to received and embrace her first Black President. I so believe this. Visibility is Power!

Hatred breeds hatred. When a child is sheltered from diversity - and all they are taught is how evil or detestable a certain diverse group is, that is all they will know. They are not taught to see beyond the ugliness - therefore, building a bigoted and racist perspective. This is so evident among the KKK, skinheads and Rev. Fred Phelps (Westboro Church).

Visibility is power. Silence equals Death!

Today, one can see diversity on mainstream TV. Today, Race is much more acceptable and embraced.

We need to see more positive images of other groups - mainly Gays, Lesbians and Transgender on TV and media. This visibility would bring the same Huxtable effect where future generations would see Gays and TGs as normal and productive as themselves.

Shows like Ellen, Will and Grace, the L Word, Queer as Folks have already laid a foundation. Keep going! I do hope to see America embrace this diversity and provide the same equality that every American derserves.

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