From The Melanin Man:
I haven’t actually written a post in a couple of months. I’ve been itching to get done with this memoir of mine and I’ve finally finished it.
Now to edit…oh dear.
So now I can get back to churning out more posts. I have so much to catch up on, but I’ll pace myself. There’s no rush, I have the time now.
Back to work I go…
I get a feeling of nostalgia and a reminder of a long-gone childhood innocence I once had when I watch reruns of old shows like Family Matters, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Martin, Living Single, and of course, my all-time favorite The Cosby Show. Recently I watched the entire eight seasons of The Cosby Show on Amazon Prime (yeah, I know right?! Binging on reruns!) It was refreshing to see Black, Melanin-Dominant families and people in a positive light on the television again, even if it was from thirty years ago.
A time more receptive to the concept of Black prosperity although NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX and the various big-time networks greatly benefited the most by exploiting it.
But anyways, I remembered the countless laughs and good vibes I would get from the Heathcliff’s perplexing behavior , Claire’s sultry style, the different worldly quirkiness of Denise, Theo’s shenanigans, etc. I could go on and on. Many of the themes and topics that were discussed on the show, from drugs and sex education to the extreme importance of college and marriage values, hit home for many of us. The unconditional love and respect that was shared between each family member on the show appeared genuine and honest. Anyone raised in even a semi-decent family environment can relate to the type of love displayed on the show.
Note: I was born during the production of the show, so obviously I watched the majority of the show during its subsequent rerun cycle.
For those reasons, The Cosby Show is and will always be a timeless treasure to the once innocent inner child in me. And for those reasons, I love the show.
So again, why do I hate the show?
Eventually over time, that youthful childhood innocence of mine fleeted within this paradigm of illusions. Watching the show with the lens of a uncalcified THIRD EYE as a young Black husband and father, who now values the essence of blackness more than ever, I realize that my all-time favorite show ultimately does not challenge the status-quo.
Its premise (a Black high middle-class family featuring a male doctor married to a female lawyer raising five kids) creates the notion that through hard work, dedication, and attitude (see: assimilation), in spite of your race, creed or even gender, the American Dream is achievable. You will be acceptable, and tolerable, to the world as a whole.
But should that be the goal for Black, Melanin-Dominant families?
Achievement through assimilation? Losing your value (if there is one) for blackness in the process?
The Cosby Show, and shows of its ilk, do not challenge that status-quo whatsoever. It seeks to justify the current parasitic capitalistic paradigm with white viewers, and draw in “wayward” Black-Melanin Dominant viewers who may still question the system’s validity. It paints the typical glamorous, “happily ever after” picture: by securing financial freedom, a better overall quality of life is possible for the financially challenged, which consist mainly of the Black and Brown population.
What about the sacrifices that have to be made by those who choose to pursue careers in medicine and law, specifically those of the Black Melanin-Dominant population?
You go through eight to ten years of training, for most, in the prime of your youth. Paid merely pennies through training as a law clerk or medical resident, you rack up hundreds of thousands dollars in debt. More than likely you endure overt and subtle incidents of prejudice and racism in the process. You even put off marriage and having kids, all the while under the impression that a prestigious career path in medicine or law will you put you in the forefront of helping those people, your people, that are truly in need of your services.
You realize, ten to twenty years later down the road, that the medicine you prescribe or promote to the public does more harm than good to those people, your people, you seek to help. You realize that the people and/or companies you represent are thieves, rapists, and murders with a seemingly unlimited amount of resources to influence the decisions of lawmakers and law enforcers to their benefit and to the detriment of the people, your people, you wish to seek justice for.
You realize that the main objective of the medical field is to profit instead of heal. You realize that the law you so deeply uphold was written by men, who do not look like you, who once promoted the ownership of men and women who resembled you.
All the while you have no spouse or offspring to show for it. If you happen to find yourself married with kids, somebody(s) is probably being neglected. Either the spouse, the kids, or both. If both spouses have such demanding careers , I guarantee someone else besides the parents are raising the kids. Ain’t that something?!
Then maybe, hopefully, one day you arrive to that point of cognizance and you ask yourself, “Now what?? Shall I awake or stay sheep?”
NOW…does The Cosby Show depict that reality one iota? Does it even try to invoke that sort of thought in the minds of its viewers?
(I’ll put my life on it that the reality I just illustrated occurs wayyyyy more often than you think.)
Smoke and mirrors, ladies and gentlemen, smoke and mirrors. It’s not just entertainment, folks.
Thus, that is why I hate The Cosby Show. Nothing to do with, according to the mainstream media,the now despicable Bill Cosby. That’s another story , but I’m getting into that one.
Peace and Love to my melanated family,
The Melanin Man