Uncle Ben’s lack of a last name is important to many people, because it reflects a time when African American’s were seen by white Southerners as “uncle” or “aunt,” because white Southerners refused to say “Mr.” and “Mrs.” According to The New York Times article, “Uncle Ben, Board Chairmen,” by Stuart Elliot, there is a push to move away from ethnic stereotypes, which portray people of color as servants, “brand characters, and mascots.” Uncle Ben’s lack of a last name reminds people of the days when African Americans had no standing in their community, and were seen as subservient. After the civil right movement, “consumers started to want an image their children could look up to and emulate.”
Understanding the history of the African American experience help accounts for this concern, because many have fought and risked their lives to be seen as equal among their peers. As the article states, if Uncle Ben is going to be portrayed as a chairmen, his office should have something showing what it took to get him there. It’s important to understand and know of the struggles of African Americans in American history, because the adding or changing of a last name won’t seem frivolous. It will symbolize a group of people who were thought of as less than human, but have changed history with hard work and determination.
Even though as a population, we have progressed and have broken down many social barriers, I feel like the entertainment industry still shows African Americans in the same fashion: gangsters, robbers, simpleminded folks, or people strictly with a “ghetto” or “black” mentality. They do not see African Americans as complicated characters with many layers of emotions. We are also seen in one light, and this is why many people still do not understand the African American population. The public portrays them as the same. This attitude hinders individuality and creativity. I would offer closure to this issue, by asking Hollywood to stop typecasting blacks...
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