I remember going on an college tour in the early nineties, and visiting a school in Maine. It was the height of the Cosby Show/A Different World phenomenon, but apparently Maine was one place where it didn't catch on. I was told that A Different World didn't air in Maine at that time because the residents couldn't grasp the idea of black college students. Sounded nuts to me, but whatever, right?
Truth was, I was probably one of the few people to whom the Cosby Show made perfect sense. My mom was a doctor, my dad was a lawyer and they both graduated from a historically Black university. What was unrealistic to me, was the amount of time that Cliff and Claire had to create the elaborate teachable moments, teach the kids lyrics to really old songs and put on concerts, go on dates, bedazzle things, and have funerals for fish. My parents certainly didn't have that kind of time.
Image: SocaMom.com - Yep, that's my family. I didn't rent them. You'd be surprised how many people ask me that.
I'm not a doctor, and my husband isn't a lawyer, but you know what? We do have plenty of concerts and dance battles around here. My seven year old can belt out a Belinda Carlisle song like a karaoke goddess, and the boys can Wop, Cabbage Patch, Running Man, Pop and Lock with the best of em. Oh, and we just had our first fish funeral.
So yes, there are Black families out there who work full time, spend time with the kids, and work really hard to create some special, teachable moments. You know what WAS unrealistic about the Cosby Show? Being able to do all of that with no maid, and STILL have a house that is always clean enough for company. The lack of a "Cleaning for Company" episode is one of the things that makes it more of a work of fiction than an actual blueprint for Black family life... or any color family for that matter. Two working parents with an immaculate house and no housekeeper.... Psh.
To read about the fish funeral, click here: http://socamom.com/soca/en/de-gyal-dem/936-goodbye-angel-the-fish-funeral
To check out the Barbie Wedding, click here: http://socamom.com/soca/en/de-gyal-dem/919-like-it-or-not-barbies-getting-married
I won't lie to you and say that I knew plenty of Black families like mine, cause I didn't. I am sure they were out there somewhere, because WE were out there. The Cosby Show gave me hope that my family wasn't as strange as I thought... or as strange as people said it was.
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