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Former Cosby Show Kids Malcolm-Jamal Warner and Raven-Symoné Talk Discrimination and Race

Malcolm-Jamal Warner and Raven-Symoné. Photo: Corbis

In two separate occasions this week, former Cosby Show stars Malcolm-Jamal Warner and Raven-Symoné addressed the thorny topics of race, representation, and discrimination. Warner gave his thoughts on the ongoing Bill Cosby scandal, telling the AP he was saddened the series’ once-proud legacy was now “tarnished” by the dozens of sexual-assault allegations against its star. “My biggest concern is when it comes to images of people of color on television and film, no matter what … negative stereotypes of people of color, we’ve always had The Cosby Show to hold up against that,” Warner explained. “And the fact that we no longer have that, that’s the thing that saddens me the most because in a few generations the Huxtables will have been just a fairy tale.”

On the same day Warner’s remarks were published, his onscreen step-niece Raven-Symoné also addressed the topic of black respectability politics during a View discussion on racial discrimination in hiring. As Raven told her co-panelists, she believed that employers were within their rights to refuse to hire workers with “black” names. “Can we take back ‘racist’ and say ‘discriminatory,’ because I think that’s a better word,” she told the panel. “And I am very discriminatory against [unconventional names]. I’m not going to hire you if your name is Watermelon-Andrea. That’s not going to happen.”

UPDATE: A week later, Warner appeared on The View to clarify his Cosby Show remarks. “I said, ‘Of course it can’t help but be tarnished, because it’s no longer on the air, it’s been pulled off the air,’” he said. Warner also explained that he continued to be proud of the show’s legacy: “All the good that that show has done cannot be taken away … that’s a show that we’re all very proud to have been on.”

The Cosby Show Kids Talk Discrimination and Race