Fighting Charges of Assimilation in Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun and The Cosby Show

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Fighting Charges of Assimilation in Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun and The Cosby Show

The critical reception of The Cosby Show, an enormously popular television sitcom in the 1980's, roughly paralleled that of A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry's highly acclaimed play of the 1950's. Both the television series and the play helped change the way Blacks are portrayed in the entertainment media. But despite being initially greeted with critical praise, both subsequently fell under heavy scrutiny by many critics for being too assimilationist. However, in both cases, the charges of assimilation may perhaps be too harsh. A Raisin in the Sun, a drama of a middle-class family in Chicago, should not be regarded as a wholehearted endorsement of black assimilation into "white society. " Instead, the play offers a rather realistic view of the complexity of struggles that involves this issue. The Cosby Show, a comedy series about a successful upper-middle-class black family in New York, must also not be viewed as an endorsement of black assimilation into "white society." Instead, the sitcom dealt with universal family issues and posited traditional family values and morals. But most importantly of all, both tried to do away with the prevailing negative black stereotypes in order to promote more positive and realistic representations.

The claim that A Raisin in the Sun expresses the idea of black assimilation can be somewhat justified. Walter Lee Younger and George Murchison openly and consciously admit that desire for the white lifestyle. George has willingly denounced his race rather than uplifted it and is the epitome of a black man that has fully assimilated into the White mainstream. Walter, on the other hand,...

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...revolution, not the just the entertainment industry.

Works Cited

Color Adjustment.Videotape. Dir. Marlon Riggs. Narr. Rudy Dee. California newsreel.1991. 87 min.

Crenshaw, Anthony. "The Cosby Show Changed the Way Blacks are Viewed." Once Upon a Time in the Eighties. (1995) n. pag. Online. Internet. 3 Aug. 1998.

Link to above site:

Pouissant, Alvin. "The Huxtables: fact or Fantasy." Ebony. Oct. 1988. 72-74.

Turner, Darwin T. "Visions of Love and Manliness in a Blackening World :Dramas of Black Life Since 1953." The Black Scholar. vol. 25. No.2. 2-12.

Link to the Lorraine Hansberry Page:

Link to an interesting site which provides some helpful info and question about A Raisin in the Sun:
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