Racism Still Exists Essay

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Stereotypes are "cognitive structures that contain the perceiver's knowledge, beliefs, and expectations about human groups" (Peffley et al., 1997, p. These cognitive constructs are often created out of a kernel of truth and then distorted beyond reality (Hoffmann, 1986).

Racial stereotypes are constructed beliefs that all members of the same race share given characteristics.

Early silent movies such as "The Wooing and Wedding of a Coon" in 1904, "The Slave" in 1905, "The Sambo Series" 1909-1911 and "The Nigger" in 1915 offered existing stereotypes through a fascinating new medium (Boskin, 1986). Griffith film, the Ku Klux Klan tames the terrifying, savage African-American through lynching.

The premiere of "Birth of a Nation" during the reconstruction period in 1915 marked the change in emphasis from the happy Sambo and the pretentious and inept Jim Crow stereotypes to that of the Savage. Following emancipation, the image of the threatening brute from the "Dark Continent" was revitalized.

In 1830, when "Daddy" Rice performed this same dance, "..effect was electric..." (Bean et al., 1996, p. White actors throughout the north began performing "the Jim Crow" to enormous crowds, as noted by a New York newspaper.

"Entering the theater, we found it crammed from pit to dome..." (Engle, 1978, p. This popularity continued, and at the height of the minstrel era, the decades preceding and following the Civil War, there were at least 30 full-time blackface minstrel companies performing across the nation (Engle, 1978).

The "foppish" black caricature, Jim Crow, became the image of the black man in the mind of the white western world (Engle, 1978).

This image was even more powerful in the north and west because many people never had come into contact with African-American individuals.

However, the Sambo was seen as naturally lazy and therefore reliant upon his master for direction.

In this way, the institution of slavery was justified.

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