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Black Stereotypes in Media

The problem with cultural stereotypes such as the "black mammy" is that they idealize and distort a historic reality (Johnson, 2005). The Time magazine article states that the African American women did not want to be reminded of their ancestry. However, it is also reasonable to assume that these women were very much aware of the fact that the happy and good-natured stereotype of a middle aged or older woman did not represent the historical reality female salves. The extent of violence, sexual abuse, and human rights violations female slaves were subject to make stereotypes such as the "black mammy" unacceptable. The author of the article however, appears to be utterly unaware of the historical facts. Moreover, the "black mammy" stereotype suggests that slavery was a mutually beneficial system in which every member of society "had their place" and was happy with the social order. From today's perspective, the stereotype of the "black mammy" is as offensive as the stereotype of "Jezebel," the lustrous and promiscuous African American woman who "seduces" innocent white men (Givens & Monahan, 2005).

One example today in which white people are insisting on maintaining racist stereotypes of a non-white ethnic group is the representation of Native Americans in popular culture. A number of universities, colleges, and schools maintain names for their sports teams that allude to cultural stereotypes of Native Americans (Connolly, 2000). Intended to summon school spirit and serve as a school symbol, school mascots such as the "Chief Illiniwek" of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are in fact offensive because they grossly distort Native American culture by reducing it to a stereotype of a feather-clad, dancing caricature. Moreover, this stereotype like the stereotype of the "black mammy" distorts historical reality, as Na


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Black Stereotypes in Media. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 07:43, September 19, 2017, from
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