Movie Ethnic Notions

Topics: Black people, African American, Negro Pages: 2 (717 words) Published: December 4, 2003
Movie Ethnic Notions-Response Paper
The movie "Ethnic Notions" describes different ways in which African-Americans were presented during the 19th and 20th centuries. It traces and presents the evolution of the rooted stereotypes which have created prejudice towards African-Americans. This documentary movie is narrated to take the spectator back to the antebellum roots of African-American stereotypical names such as boy, girl, auntie, uncle, Sprinkling Sambo, Mammy Yams, the Salt and Pepper Shakers, etc. It does so by presenting us with multiple dehumanized characters and cartons portraying African-Americans as carefree Sambos, faithful Mammies, savage Brutes, and wide-eyed Pickaninnies. These representations of African-Americans roll across the screen in popular songs, children's rhymes, household artifacts and advertisements. These various ways to depict the African –American society through countless decades rooted stereotypes in the American society. I think that many of these still prevail in the contemporary society, decades after the civil rights movement occurred. The film observes and analyzes the origins and consequences of more than one-hundred years of bigotry upon the ex-slaved society in the U.S. Even though so many years have passed since the end of slavery, emancipation, reconstruction and the civil rights movement, some of the choice terms prejudiced still engraved in the U.S society. When I see such images on the movie screen, it is still hard, even for me, to accept these vicious stereotypes. I view myself as an individual who grew up separated from racist influences. If a movie of this sort had such an emotional impact on me, it is no wonder people embraced these ideas back then. The use of new and popular media methods in those days was more than adequate in transferring the black inferiority ideas to the general public. Beginning at the early 19th century with the happy, dancing, toothless, drunken Negro with big, bold and white...
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