The Cosby Show: The Portrayal Of African American Culture

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The minstrel era stretched throughout the nineteenth century, and is still constantly used to depict African American culture. Today, we as African Americans glorify this instead of acknowledging that for entertainment we don’t have to belittle ourselves. During the minstrel era, white actors would depict the way they seen African American culture by dressing up in certain clothing and painting their faces. “White men in the nineteenth century blacked up (usually with burnt cork) and took to the stage where they mocked African Americans, codifying black life while seeding American culture with stereotypes that blacks still face today” (Richard 784). During these shows, white entertainers would sing, dance, and even tried to alter their speech to draw the audience’s attention. The theme of these shows were for the actors to show how ignorant and senseless African Americans were because that’s the only way they seen us. Incidentally, black sitcoms began their ascension to popularity in the mid 80’s with the debut of the popular television series The Cosby Show. The show introduced the world to a black upper-middle class family who seemingly had it all together. The show lacked the stereotypical characters and attitudes associated with the African American community, which include the Jezebel, Sapphire, and Mammy. Consequently, during this era, many similar sitcoms began appearing on the air, as well. However, while there were spinoff series that likewise showed black people

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