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The Cosby Show - Essay Example

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This research aims to evaluate and present the role of The Cosby Show that is posed a threat to elites who desired to have African Americans boxed into negative stereotypes. The Cosby Show provided a healthy change in the way mainstream society viewed African Americans. From a conflict perspective. …
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Download file to see previous pages This study looks into The Cosby Show that would be best categorized under the conflict area of sociological theory. The sitcom challenged negative ideas of African Americans that have been embedded in American society for far too long. On the surface, The Cosby Show may have seemed like a simple television show, but the series had a far-reaching impact on American pop-culture and society. The show made people rethink how African Americans were perceived in the United States. Because of The Cosby Show, it was possible for other African American shows such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Family Matters to be successful on television. Even though African American shows like Good Times preceded The Cosby Show, Bill Cosby’s series was the first to present black people as having esteemed professions and living an upper-middle class life. In the show, Cosby’s character was Heathcliff Huxtable, a prominent obstetrician, and his wife, Clair Huxtable, was an attorney. Even though the show premiered in the middle of the eighties, there was still widespread prejudice and racial fears of black people. In the minds of many Americans, professions such as a doctors and lawyers were traditionally reserved for whites. In previous years, not only were blacks not qualified for these jobs but also they were deemed inept and unable to be successful in these professions according to the widespread notion of racial superiority. The Cosby Show had proved this assertion wrong. Not only did the show have a positive, successful black male, but the inclusion of a professional, black woman on television was groundbreaking within its own right. In America’s history, black women could only attain jobs as wash-maids or domestic servants. To see a woman of color doing neither of those jobs and being a successful lawyer was also a monumental shift in the way black women have been categorized and stereotyped. For far too long, black women have had to face hurdles and obstacles of their own. Within the confines of America’s racial and patriarchal history, black women have had to carry the extra burdens of being black and female. Black women have had to contend with their own stereotypes, including the mammy role, the sensual mulatto woman, and the docile domestic servant. The image of Clair Huxtable contradicted assumed roles of not only black women but also women as a whole. The image of a black, professional woman who was not dependent on her husband challenged established racial bias and female and gender roles within American society. The show pushed back and made people question gender norms and racial categorization. The series defied not only established assumptions of gender but also of class. Because of America’s racial caste system, African Americans were thought to remain forever at the bottom of the social ladder. One of the main selling points for coming to America has been the typical rags to riches story, the idea of coming to the land of opportunity and moving beyond one’s social station. However, the reality was that where a person was born and what skin color he or she had determined a person’s social status in life and still does to this day. With the odds stacked against non-white people, however, there have been ethnic groups that have managed to move within the American class structure, including African Americans. The Cosby Show was an example of African Americans being able to become successful and not remaining at the bottom of the class scale as prescribed by many white Americans. The series also created conflict by defying who could rise above class and who could become wealthy. The Cosby Show revealed the fact that the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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