It’s the Culture, Stupid.

November 9, 2008

The New York Times has an interesting article, which notes a growing consensus that The Cosby Show had a large cultural impact:

“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.

I find this entirely persuasive. We’ve enacted many laws since the passage of the Civil Rights Act with the hope of an increase in black elected officials. But these laws could not do all, even most, of the work. The culture needed to change. While the changes may have been too slow for some, they would have been far more contentious had they been imposed rather than accepted.

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