2450: Introduction to African American Studies
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Anyiwo, Spring 2014
Name: Helder Andrade
Date Due: 3/18/2014
Discuss the origins and meaning of any one stereotype of black men (The Brute, Sambo, Uncle Tom, the Coon, the Thug, the Gladiator). Include in your answer, the impact this image has had on either the treatment or identity development of black men.
In United States lots of races are stereotyped against but African Americans are one of the most frequent racial groups stereotyped against. One of the most common and damaging stereotype against African American is that all black males are brutes. The brute stereotype portrays black men as dangerous criminals. This is a problem we have been facing in America for over a century and there are no signs that this issue is getting better. The media still keeps on portraying this false image that all black males are violent dangerous criminals and nowadays there are even video games that are about black males going around killing and robbing people. This stereotype has a major impact on how black men view themselves and more importantly how the rest of society views and treat them.
To get a better understanding of why United States views black males as brutes we would have to look at its origin. At first blacks were not seen as brutes, during slavery African Americans was viewed as docile and virtuously harmless. It was not until the Radical Reconstructive period when slavery was abolished that black were seen as brutes. White’s southerners argued that without slavery blacks would revert to “criminal savagery”. Writer Thomas Nelson said that the “good old darkies” have been replace with blacks born after slavery who he described as dishonest, disrespectful and drunks. Nelson also published Red Rock a novel about Moses a black man who tries to rape white women he is then executed for his “terrible crime”. At this anti-black propaganda was flooding the streets in local newspaper, books, scientific journals all labeling blacks as brutes. There were even movies made called The Birth of Nation that depicts African Americans “rapist beast”. This is the how the stereotype that blacks are brutes originated.
Due to this stereotype that labeled African Americans as brutes they were severely mistreated. According to the o Tuskegee Institute data 3,437 blacks were lynched in United States from 1882 to 1951 90 percent of them took place in the south. Lynching involves amputation, burning, shooting and hanging done by a white mob. Southerners knew lynching was evil but believed that black brutes were more evil. Many whites argued that lynching was necessary in preserving the purity of the white race. However 25.3 percent of black that was charged with rape was not guilty. An example would be when 14 year old Emmett Till was visiting his relatives in Mississippi was beaten and tortured to death because he supposedly called a white women “baby”. Although things are not as bad as the use to be African Americans are still being treated different because of the false stereotype that say all black males are violent criminals. In the article The War on Drugs through The Wire the author states that the war on drugs was not about drugs but about who was using them. Independent studies show that both blacks and whites use and sell drugs at similar rates, it’s the response that’s different about 37 percent of African Americans...
Bibliography: Pilgrims, D. (2000). The brute caricature
Balboni, J. The war on drugs through the wire looking glass. (pp. 189-203). Durham, Carolina Academic Press
Hurt, B. (Producer) (2002). The black man in america [DVD].
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