From Black Voices — Since stepping down from her role as America’s sweetheart on NBC’s “Today Show” to make history as the first female anchor of “CBS Evening News,” media mainstay Katie Couric has had a tumultuous time.
From charges of plagiarism and incompetence to being named Keith Olbermann‘s “Worst Person in the World” to being the catalyst behind the “Evening News” worst ratings in history, Couric’s image as a media darling has more than frayed at the edges.
This past weekend, Couric commented about the “seething hatred” many Americans have toward Muslim Americans:
“Maybe we need a Muslim version of ‘The Cosby Show‘… I know that sounds crazy, I know that sounds crazy,” said Couric. “But ‘The Cosby Show‘ did so much to change attitudes about African Americans in this country, and I think sometimes people are afraid of things they don’t understand.”Islamophobia in this country most recently stems from the 9/11 attacks and has manifested into atrocious hate crimes (up 70 percent in the years following the bombing of the World Trade Center) against Muslims, discriminatory legislation such as the Patriot Act and the fervent opposition to the mosque near Ground Zero.
Katie Couric’s statement reeks of well-intentioned ignorance and arrogance.
In essence, Couric is saying that to diminish discrimination against and hatred of Muslims, we must show them in a light that is non-threatening to Americans. A safe, feel good, family dramedy-similar to Canada’s “Little Mosque on the Prairie,” which only skims the surface of real life issues such as drinking and overeating.
At the time the “Cosby Show” was running, it was the 1980s. The decade of AIDS, the crack-cocaine epidemic, the Cold War and hip-hop as an emerging voice to convey the societal issues that were rampant in our communities … and the “Cosby Show” avoided these issues like the plague.
I would be the first to say that there are ample negative depictions of African Americans, and Dr. Bill Cosby filled a need in mainstream culture absent for too long:a glimpse at a successful black family.