Essay on stereotypes of african americans

They were not given strong sexual or feminine attributes Zeisler, In their futile attempts to be regarded as white rather than colored, this group faces prejudice from both sides of the racial line.

Negative Racial Stereotypes and Their Effect on Attitudes Toward African-Americans

Black males also existed but their tendency to stick more to their black community diminishes their significance, leaving the female characters in illustrating the plight of the mixed individuals. The mammy is another of the female black stereotypes related to the coon characters and degraded to their level by association.

Distinguished by her gender, the mammy is described to the viewer usually as big and fat, with an argumentative and difficult nature.

She displays the black family matriarch as bad tempered and fiercely independent. Hattie McDaniel played the mammy role in the movie Gone with the wind, eventually landing her an academy award; the first for an African American. Despite their tough stand, mammies are also depicted as soft hearted, sweet, jolly and kind to others Zeisler, The last of the male roles is described by the irrational and rather shortsighted buck, who in many instances showcases hypersexual tendencies.

It brought out a depiction of the Negroes as being lustful and arrogant in an idiotic way. Exposed as savages and brutes without much regard to rational approach to issues, with all actions revealing more uncivilized attributes, this role mostly came up against a white hero who emerges triumphant in the conflicts. Painting the black Negroes as psychopaths, with strong tendencies of revealing beastly characteristics, through these characters, exemplifies the wrong racial stereotypical views attached to the black individuals and community as a whole.

All these racially projected stereotypes were not representative of the Negroes; separately as individuals or collectively as a community. Black actors basically took these roles within the movies but did not ascribe to them as part of the black behavior, attitudes or nature. Many of these black actors openly rebelled against these stereotypes painted by their roles in popular movie and TV programs Bogle, Black attributes alluded to only served to degrade the Negro image to a point of humiliation, pointing out to their presumed lower capability and intelligence which in turn justified their lower position within the American society.

Impact of these stereotypes painted a social divide along racial lines with implications of huge differences between the white and black races. Admired black performers of the s, including comedians Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor, found it hard to shake away these lingering stereotypes in their roles. Having majorly created such images within its audience and the industry at large, meant some vestiges of these characters continued on, especially the glamorized coon roles Bogle, Most comic roles were assigned to black actors in this era, albeit with sharp street wise skills and intelligent demeanors, far from the nitwit coons depicted in the s movies.

Female roles slowly adopted significant positions in movie plotlines with a modern depiction of sexual appeal glaringly missing from early movies. During the late 18th century, white had immersed themselves into blackness depicting violence and men conceptualized African men as having a vigorous sexuality. By then, blackness was the way to go which brought rise to blackface. Even whites started wearing black masks to depict their blackness. Unfortunately, this was not the true representation of the black culture.

It is therefore justified that the black community of the African Americans taking issues with their fellows who made their way into the movie industry and took roles which showed negatively the black culture. Apparently, it was quite difficult for black actors and actresses to refuse a role offered to them since they were still struggling for recognition in the movie industry.

Similar Topics

This means that they were always at loggerheads with people from their African American communities for lowering their standards. As early as , George Walker of the Williams and Walker Minstrel duo had criticized black actors in an essay where he commented that they wrongly portrayed the black community in their roles by using makeup that exaggerated their darkness, usually by painting their lips luminous red. The argument is that the caricatures in which the black actors played on the screens asserted the superiority of whiteness and were therefore responsible for escalating the discrimination of the black Americans.

Some actors like Williams and walker, enlightened at how the caricature presented their race, moved out of blackface to begin their own minstrel where they distanced themselves from the caricatures. Unfortunately, most of the black actors, due to the financial gains they got from the roles they played, failed to notice this and thus maintained the status of the white seniority Crum, The movie industry by them was selective of the roles to be given to black actors as much as it was hard for any black actor to gain acceptance to the theatres.

One black actor who had to struggle this much was none other than Sydney Portier, who went ahead to become the first African American to win the Grammys in It goes without saying that this did not come easily to Portier. The roles allocated to him were usually demeaning as compared to white actors. Although he received the most advanced roles for a black actor at the time, he was criticized by his fellow African Americans that his roles did not display the causes of the real problems affecting the black community. Note that in his films, he had roles that were of upper class and professional status which were only held by white.

It therefore was viewed by the black community as unacceptable as the roles were so far removed from the majority of the blacks.


Another rising star in the black community was Dorothy Dandridge who was also a musician and therefore played more in musicals. The roles she had on the screen were viewed to be stereotypic by the black community who thought that she had aligned herself too much to the white community and was therefore not a good representation of the black community.

Aeon for Friends

This fact rose because she doubled up as a musician who constantly entertained at exclusively whites clubs Mills, Tragic mulattos were the leading roles for black female actresses. These were the roles in which many African Americans were afforded which afforded them the status of sex objects. This was not a true representation of the African Americans and therefore they usually took to tasks the females like Dorothy Dandridge who played these roles that were demeaning to the culture.

It is also important to know that African Americans also prided in having women like Dandridge because they addressed the plight of the blacks. Well, the movies production rights belonged to the whites and the blacks only played the roles offered to them Pilgrim, The mulattos were women born of white fathers and black slaves and therefore were beautiful.

Stereotypes of Large Black Women Essay - Words | Cram

Although all black women slaves were vulnerable to rape, the black mulattos were more susceptible because of their radiant beauty and white skin which was appealing. Apparently, the white men viewed the black skin as insult. Such roles played by black actresses depicted mulattos as seductive and were therefore viewed by whites as party to concubinage and other sexual abuse, putting women in the black community at harms way.

However, it was in some way responsible for bridging the gap which existed that denied legitimate sexual relationship between men and women of different races Pilgrim, Dorothy was the most successful tragic mulatto in the theatres being the first ever black woman to be held romantically in a movie by a white man in the film Carmen Jones Pilgrim, Dorothy Dandridge suffered nervous breakdown since just like in her movies on the tragic mulatto, she was like one in real life with a life of broken marriages. In this context, according to Spike Lee, was a failure of understanding exactly the grounds they stood on.

Blaxploitation began as a result of the black power movement of the s which was expected to depict a community that had illuminated with civil rights and wanted to free African Americans from political and social exploitation.

  1. american studies senior thesis?
  2. Positive functions of all stereotypes?
  3. ceremony leslie silko essay?
  4. difference between introduction and literature review thesis.
  5. Criminal stereotype of African Americans.
  6. teenage driving accidents essay.

It accredited to the movie song sweetback by Melvin Van Peebles. What the movie writer and director did not know is that his movie, instead of showing African Americans as free and liberated had opened a new way in which they would be exploited. There was great success in the movie and therefore other movie directors and producers, seeing that the black community would support anything that had a black cast, rushed to cash in on this. Soon many movie productions like shaft were released. However, when asked which doll was ugly, dumb, dirty and evil Continue reading this essay Continue reading.

Toggle navigation MegaEssays. Saved Essays. Topics in Paper. Example Essays. African americans and stereotypes. Continue reading this essay Continue reading Page 1 of 7. Next Page. There's even a video game about with an African American as the main character and the only thing that he does is kill, rob and have sex with people.

What are positive stereotypes?

The people who stereotype are mainly people who haven't been around African Americans and go by the only thing that they see about African Americans. So therefore the media is a large part of the part of stereotyping of African Americans.

One of the most famous examples of internalization of stereotypes is the experiment first used in the case of Brown vs. The Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision that the "separate but equal" clause was unconstitutional because it violated the children's rights by separating them solely on the classification of the color of their skin.

The Case 2 In this experiment black children were shown almost identical dolls, the only palpable difference being skin color, because one doll was black and one was white. When the children were questioned on which doll was pretty, nice, smart, clean and gregarious, child after child pointed to the white doll.

However, when asked which doll was ugly, dumb, dirty and evil Continue reading this essay Continue reading.