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"There Is Nothing Funny in This World About Rioting in Harlem": Reactions to Bill Cosby as Reflections on the State of the Black Freedom Struggle

Henderson, Simon

Journal of black studies. Volume 45:Number 4 (2014, June); pp 315-337 -- Sage Publications

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  • Title:
    "There Is Nothing Funny in This World About Rioting in Harlem": Reactions to Bill Cosby as Reflections on the State of the Black Freedom Struggle
  • Author: Henderson, Simon
  • Found In: Journal of black studies. Volume 45:Number 4 (2014, June); pp 315-337
  • Journal Title: Journal of black studies
  • Subjects: African Americans--Periodicals; Blacks--Periodicals; Bill Cosby--freedom--struggle; Dewey: 305.896073
  • Rights: legaldeposit
  • Publication Details: Sage Publications
  • Abstract:

    Reactions to Bill Cosby's comedy and his political views show the way in which many have failed to clearly distinguish between these two strands of his connection to the freedom struggle. This has been complicated by Cosby's projection of some of his political ideals through his comedy while he chose to neglect others. The militant and radical words of Cosby in Playboy in 1969, his endorsement of civil rights causes, help for the under-privileged, and critique of systemic racism contrasted with the color-blind worldview projected by his comic creations. His more recent message of Black self-determination and community action that has links to conservative thought exists alongside repeats of The Cosby Show and the associated projection of a color-blind world symbolically led by Barack Obama. Such duality and visibility has so often made Cosby a reference point for the position of Blacks in America in the years since the civil rights movement.


  • Identifier: System Number: LDEAvdc_100056291089.0x000001; Journal ISSN: 0021-9347; 10.1177/0021934714529972
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Physical Description: Electronic
  • Shelfmark(s): ELD Digital store

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