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In fact, "a stereotype may be so consistently and authoritatively transmitted in each generation from parent to child that it seems almost a biological fact" (Boskin, 1986, p. The stereotyping of African-Americans was brought to the theatrical stage with the advent of the blackface minstrel (Engle, 1978). His inspiration for the famous minstrel dance-and-comedy routine was an old, crippled, black man dressed in rags, whom he saw dancing in the street (Engle, 1978).Beginning in the early 19th century, white performers darkened their faces with burnt cork, painted grotesquely exaggerated white mouths over their own, donned woolly black wigs and took the stage to entertain society. This "city dandy" was the northern counterpart to the southern "plantation darky," the Sambo (Engle, 1978 p. During that time, a law prohibited African-Americans from dancing because it was said to be "crossing your feet against the lord" (Hoffmann, 1986, video).
It is essential to realize the vast scope of this stereotype.
It was transmitted through music titles and lyrics, folk sayings, literature, children's stories and games, postcards, restaurant names and menus, and thousands of artifacts (Goings, 1994).
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.
Acts of racial violence were justified and encouraged through the emphasis on this stereotype of the Savage.
The urgent message to whites was, we must put blacks in their place or else (Boskin, 1986).
These attributed characteristics are usually negative (Jewell, 1993).
This paper will identify seven historical racial stereotypes of African-Americans and demonstrate that many of these distorted images still exist in society today.
In fact, the notion of the "happy slave" is the core of the Sambo caricature.
White slave owners molded African-American males, as a whole, into this image of a jolly, overgrown child who was happy to serve his master.