Have you been following the discussion on the Huxtable Effect? The term refers to an idea circulating about The Cosby Show and its impact on how people voted in this year’s presidential election. Many white Americans, it is believed, experienced their first realistic glimpse inside the lives of African Americans through the fictional Huxtable family. Some theorists say this appealing depiction of a middle-class black family on the ’80s sitcom made possible the candidacy and election of Barack Obama as President of the United States.
Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, the columnist who coined the term “Huxtable Effect,” has since claimed the media. “What I actually posited was much more complex than that,” she clarified. “I said that the social norms of a population are generally formed through its popular culture.” In other words, our entertainment actually sets the standard for the public perception of what is socially and politically acceptable over time.
When asked what he thought about his iconic show paving the way for a Barack Obama presidency, Bill Cosby dismissed any direct link. “The reason why he’s in the White House is Cosby? No, no, no,” Cosby said.
What do you think? Did The Cosby Show pave the way for a black president?