Who's Blacker?


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While African Americas may have similar cultural backgrounds, no two African American families are the same when it comes to culture. However, this may be the same for ethic groups such as Irish Americans or Chinese Americans that may live in the same neighbor hoods as their ethic counterparts or even abide by the same social norms as their counterparts, living and growing up together, helping each other in the process while also sharing the same culture. This cannot be seen with in the African American community, the old philosophy of it taking a village to raise a child is no longer existent for within African American it is either whatever is our family business stays our family business where the community of help and love aspect is taken out of raising and family life. In addition, the aspect of crabs in a barrel is also a factor in the African American community. In the aspect of crabs in a barrel, certain African Americans believe that since another individual looks like they are on the plan of success and instead of encouraging them, it is frowned upon, pulling them back in to the standard level of success within the community. To other ethnic groups on the outside looking in they might not be able to notice these differences, television has not only made it apparent, and it has also exaggerated it on a larger scale.

Cosby vs Smith



Shows such as The Cosby Show and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air show the major cultural differences while also showing the small similarities within them. Although both shows show two rich African American families, they also show many cultural differences. An example of this can be seen within the theme songs. While first tuning in into The Cosby Show, a nice jazz beat is played while the family dances together and comes together until the ending of the introduction where they all hug.


Although this a show based off the immediate family which in African American families is greatly united and “was a show that not only overcame traditional stereotypes.” (pg. 2, Jhally & Lewis)

While watching introduction The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the main character Will starts off rapping while in the on the basketball court saying , “ In west Philadelphia born and raised , On the playground is where I spent most of my days, Chillin out, maxin, relaxing all cool, And all shooting some b-ball outside of the school, When a couple of guys who were up to no good, Started making trouble in my neighborhood, I got in one lil fight and my mom got scared, And said "You're moving with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air.” Will was moving from rags to riches, making a great transition from West Philadelphia to Bel-Air California an area full of wealth.

As he got there, he was kicked out of the cab, and his luggage thrown at him. Compared to The Cosby Show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air introductions did show unity within the African American family, it showedindependence where Will was sent to Bel-Air by himself into an area he knew nothing about and forced to adapt which was seen as he pulled his suitcase up and started to walk to the door. He could have allowed himself to sit and waited for the butler to come pick his bag from him. Or even after being kicked out the cab, he could have sat in misery of the unknown neighborhood he moved to in fear of the unknown.

Compared to The Cosby Show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air introductions did show unity within the African American family, it showedindependence where Will was sent to Bel-Air by himself into an area he knew nothing about and forced to adapt which was seen as he pulled his suitcase up and started to walk to the door. He could have allowed himself to sit and waited for the butler to come pick his bag from him. Or even after being kicked out the cab, he could have sat in misery of the unknown neighborhood he moved to in fear of the unknown.

78A1AAD943C06DB246BA3C3586AEB.jpgAnother example of the difference within African American and cultures lies with many of the plots within the shows. An example of this is seen in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, although Will and Carlton are extended family members, the difference between the upper-class and working lower class is evident. In the episode Mistaken Identity, “Will and Carlton voluntarily drive Mr. Firth's car to Palm Springs, They get lost and drive slow to find the street. They get pulled over and arrested because they meet the description of local car thieves for whom the local law enforcement officers had been searching. Will and Carlton state a confession on live TV in an attempt to be released from jail.” (TV.com) As the episode goes along, “The police treat Carlton and Will roughly due to being racist. Carlton's comments exacerbate the situation and make things worse for Will and himself.” (TV.com) In the conclusion of the episode, “Back home, Carlton refuses to think ill of the officers, claiming they were only trying to do their jobs. Will is disgusted by Carlton's attitude. Philip, in the end, tells Carlton what really happened by saying he went through a similar experience when he was younger. Carlton finally realizes that the police officers who stopped him were racist.” (TV.com) Although Carlton and Will are both African American, Will once again is placed in a situation where he is dependent on himself where his support system, Carlton is not able to aid him due to the difference in class backgrounds, he is unable to relate. Will is placed within a situation where he needs his family whether it is immediate or extended family, he does not have the support he needs.

Compared to The Cosby Show, where it takes a village to raise a child or even children whether it be a situation they go thru or even to teach them a lesson. In the episode, Warning: A Double-Lit Candle Can Cause a Meltdown, “Rudy and her friends are determined to get into a 16-and-over club to see a birthday performance by rapper JT Freeze. They also hope to win a drawing and get to dance with him. Rudy tries to con her parents into letting her go by claiming that they will be going to a cultural center.” (TV.com) As the episode goes on, “Cliff and Clair learn the truth about the club from Lance, Pam and Charmaine.” And as a result to this, “Rudy and her friends are forced to work at a retirement home as punishment for their deception.” (TV.com) Instead of punishing just Rudy, Cliff and Clair child, in this situation, the Cosbys punished her friends also. The punishment showed the relation of the African American Community, the unity and protection that it has. Showing, “the reality of what was good about black childhood.” (pg. 2, Enlightened Racism) Within black childhood, the community is the law and order.

Within both shows although the African American family differs where Will is an extended family member and the Cosbys are immediate family members, the audience would predict that many of the values would be the same. The Cosbys according to Jhally and Lewis were, “a family portrayed without any of the demeaning stereotypical images of black people common in mainstream popular culture.” (pg. 2, Enlightened Racism) Compared to the Fresh Prince, were Will was independent and relayed mostly on himself when it came to emotions and adaption. Probably, this shows the difference with in the African American family over time, where the village to raise a child or even I am my bothers keeper fades into the distant society.


Works Cited

Jhally, Sut. Justin Lewis. (1992) Enlightened Racism, Westview Press

Bill Cosby Show Opening Retrieved from <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyzXRSe6WU0>
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Retrieved from <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBe0VCso0qs>
Warning: A Double Lit Candle Can Cause a Meltdown Retrieved from <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h9UV-GD9QI>