Feature

Bill Cosby, Obama, and race

Conservative &lsquo;darling&rsquo; Cosby weighs in on Jimmy Carter and whether <em>The Cosby Show</em> helped elect Obama

“Thank goodness Bill Cosby is on my side on this one,” said Tony Norman in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The “right-wing’s most quotable black comedian” took to Facebook to agree with former President Jimmy Carter that “racism is playing a role in recent outbursts against President Obama.” Now that the “only black ‘pundit’” seen as “an honest broker by both the mainstream media and the Right” has sided with Carter, can we end the “snarkiness and ridicule”?

Not likely, said Bruce Maiman in Examiner.com. Bill Cosby became a “darling of the Right” for telling African-Americans to shape up and stop blaming others for their problems. So his suggestion that some “congressional fools” and other critics “oppose Obama’s plan because the president is African-American” is unlikely to get him back on Fox News. It would be equally “fair and balanced,” though, if “his old critics on the Left” now embrace him.

Cosby doesn’t think race—or The Cosby Show—had much to do with Obama’s election, though, said Mark Silva in the Chicago Tribune’s The Swamp. In an interview with The Root, Cosby says Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil-rights movement had much more to do with Americans electing a black man—that, and the “inept” governance of “George W.” and the GOP.

“There are plenty of reasons for people to feel uncomfortable about the direction of the country” now, too, said The Baltimore Sun in an editorial. Sure, Obama’s race probably makes “some people profoundly uncomfortable,” but so do his policies and the times we live in. Even if Carter and Cosby are right that “racism is at the root of the unrest, the course Mr. Obama has chosen to deal with it is the wise one: not to talk about it but to do his job.”

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