The reasons that African Americans were depicted in such a dehumanizing way in “Ethnic Notions” was to convey an Image of savagery and ignorance. This was a mind game accomplished by showing visual aids of what the African American Mans worth was for blacks as well as whites. By exploiting these images of blacks world wide White Americans would ensure to maintain their defensive guard and blacks would be placed or should I say know their place in society. I must contend that the process to dehumanizing African Americans was not only an overt application but also a covert application.
In my opinion White Americans were aware what role they wanted African Americans to hold so they openly displayed negative imagery and on the other hand I believe partial accomplishment was mentally embedded which was their covert achievement. The Creators of the Blackface, Sambo and Pickaniny were not only White Americans but also Europeans who were influenced by what they saw being made by White American Filmmakers, Theatre Producers, and Advertisers. Again this was a way to influence the world on the knowledge, actions and capabilities of the African American Man, Woman and child.
Part of the motivating factor for the exploitation was not only for entertainment by mimicking and exaggerating African Americans but also they knew with the majority of people believing this racist depiction it would make for a very profitable market. All Whites European and American exploited this well known fact. By placing Blackend faces on products and in advertising they not only for example showed Aunt Jemima with her nappy hair and scarf who ran the Mrs. house and could make maple syrup um um good but these things helped to keep African Americans believing in a negative self image.
Politically with this imagery it helped many states especially Southern states politicians have something to focus on, something to instill fear into society and something many spoke of controlling as part of their political campaigning. The side effects of this derogatory image helped keep racist attitudes towards African Americans prevalent and also to this day it has been the most damaging part of our self-image. A part of self-respect we can never redeem. In my opinion all of the Coon, Uncle Tom, Watermelon eating Blackie imagery was meant to be demeaning and dehumanizing. Because as the saying goes “without self worth your nothing.
Today’s present day counter parts to the African American undoing are the shows that have African Americans clowning, showing no intelligence, being stereotyped, and stereotyping themselves. Like I said before this imagery has and always will be a market for profit. Not only have the blind stares of the Blackman gone unnoticed but also society has deemed us as better Athletes or Entertainers than Scholars or Professionals. This stereotyping only enforces the fact that we will never in my lifetime as a people be able to change our own self-imagery or the image that was originally depicted upon us.
Although the Civil Rights movement and struggles for equality were at one point our goal somewhere down the line the little power we earned we have so freely given back. The powers that be and even the minority group of the rich definitely profit from our stagnation. Because we ourselves keep from obtaining Political voices and we also keep ourselves out of the Average White American Nominal class. Being materialistic and ignorant we have eaten our own slice of pie before it has had a chance to cool. So we continue to suffer and we have also condemned generations to come by lack of example.
The little slice of pie we had earned we never got to enjoy because we as a people never got to taste our slice we only got burned. To my Knowledge this type of travesty has never happened to any other group to the capacity that it has for the African American People. Even throughout the Holocaust, which was devastating to the Jewish People they were able to hold on to their Ethnic Identity enabling them to trod forth and although the Native American Indian is scarce they continue to fight as a group to keep their Ethnic Identity!!!