I know I wouldn’t.
The award-winning actor/comedian/author turned education advocate isn’t publicly addressing offers by Obama (right now anyway), but he is speaking out about his influence on the nation’s first African-American president.
There’s an argument circulating around media-types that Cosby’s mega-successful NBC sitcom “The Cosby Show” (which aired from 1984-1992) laid the groundwork for President-elect Obama by presenting an appealing black family to influential young voters, who grew up equipped to foil stereotypes.
Ask 71-year-old Cosby if his show was in fact a “political groundbreaker,” and he’ll tell you that while he is honored by the suggestion, he firmly believes that viewers embraced the Huxtables as “America’s family” and not a black one.
“The reason why Barack’s in the White House is Cosby? No, no, no,” he told reporters earlier this week.
Rather, the comedian credits the future president’s real family for influencing his winning personality.
In the interview with reporters Cosby cited Obama’s now-famous account of being woken up early by his mother to do his homework minus the complaints. The actor also tipped his hat to Michelle Obama’s family, especially her father, who refused special treatment despite having multiple sclerosis.
“This is what Michelle and Barack are made of, the things they see” in their parents, Cosby said.
It’s no secret that Cosby firmly believes in parental responsibility. This fact was clearly illustrated in his popular sitcom, which he starred as a kid-friendly physician who, with his lawyer-wife (played by Phylicia Rashad), kept a loving, yet firm hand on their five children.
In regards to using his show as a platform to shatter racial stereotypes Cosby told reporters: “Look, I’m already black so pressing the race issue gets to be stupid after all.”
Though he added, “What I did have in mind was that the images that you see on television are not the behaviors of Americans who are black. Racism is so stupid, but it is and it does exist. Period.”
Cosby also acknowledged that the show took hits for failing to connect with low-income black families and ignoring what it’s like being a black family in middle-class America. To that the actor simply stated that his TV series showed what African-Americans could, and had, achieved.
Not unlike the Obamas.