"Ethnic Notions" Analysis

Essay by jagerbombwvuUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2006

download word file, 2 pages 4.3

"Ethnic Notions" is a historical film that takes the viewer through the entire course of American history from the 1820s to the 1980s. The songs, watching the films and seeing all the artifacts is what makes this film such a powerful tool. The film describes some of the terms that were used to depict black Americans. Well into the twentieth century the "Mammy", the "Coon", and the ""Sambo"" were all terms used in reference to black Americans. In 1941 the cartoon was made and made its way into many of the homes of American culture.

In the early 1900s the image of the "Sambo" spread and it became a portrayal of black men in film. The Character is lazy and irresponsible that will easily avoid work to take part in food and dance. As the civil war approached, a new character accompanied the "Sambo", the "Zip Coon".

This character tried to portray whites that mocked the notion of racial equality. With these two together, they both defended slavery by saying that blacks can't handle freedom.

In films the role of the ""Mammy"" was a servant that was stereotypically a very dark and heavy woman that had her priorities set to doing whatever her master or mistress wished. "Mammy" was shown as a loyal person that was protective over the white household. She was a powerful person which became a stable figure in each image of the south. It became hard to go without seeing this character in a southern home. This character was also a defender of slavery. But within her own family the "Mammy" is the controlling force which is the direct opposite of the way the household is viewed in society. She is shown as being asexual and unattractive.

Once the slaves became emancipated...