Stereotypes In The Film Ethnic Notions

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In the film Ethnic Notions, African-Americans were poorly portrayed in many different forms of negative stereotypes from the past. These stereotypes were that of a mammy, coon, Uncle Tom, sambo, pickaninnys, and the brute. Even though these racist caricatures were popular in the past unfortunately some forms of them still exist today. The mammy was portrayed as black older woman who was fat, obedient,eager, and loyal. Furthermore, she was not the most attractive lady “never evoked sexual attention because she would be seen as a threat to the mistress and disrupt the functionality of the household” (Riggs 1987). In the movie “Gone with the Wind” Hattie Mcdaniel earned an Oscar for her portrayal of the faithful mammy” (Wilson, Guitierrez & …show more content…
It is a “form of denigration and represents a stereotype that has been used variously to justify the inhumane treatment of slaves, provide a rationale for Jim Crow segregation, and, most often, to pander to the basest racist impulses in the United States to entertain white popular audiences” (Sambo 2008). The first introduction the Sambo character was in the early 1800s. T.D. Rice, a white performer, dressed in tattered clothing, put on black face, and started doing a dance he had seen a crippled black man doing. “People in small towns who had never seen blacks, and suddenly saw Rice, bought that as a black image” (Riggs 1987). A modern-day example of the sambo can be seen in the comedian and actor, Kenan Thompson. Since Thompson, was a child he played sambo like characters on the Nickelodeon show “All That”. He also had his own show entitled Kenan and Kel in which the boys would get caught up in sticky situations. Furthermore, through many of his characters he is always seen happy or laughing, sometimes even dancing, on television. This is similar to that of a Sambo because both roles are created for the enjoyment of white …show more content…
Before Reconstruction, “there would not have been an image of a brute Negro because it wouldn’t have helped in the defense of slavery [like the caricatures of the mammy and the Uncle Tom]” (Riggs 1987). They were shown as aggressive person who would do rebellious things.. A modern-day example of a brute would be Terry Crews in the movie White Chicks. Crews’s character was a strong and aggressive football player who only wanted white women. Furthermore, other characters were scared of him because he was strong and scary looking.
It is clear that these caricatures of the sambo, coon, the mammy, Uncle Tom, pickaninnys, and the brute can still be seen today. All though these caricatures have been modernized unfortunately they still exist. As time evolves, hopefully these stereotypes will fizzle out and more positive stereotypes will begin to come

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