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African American Portrayal in Media

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by

Tyler Shepherd

on 11 December 2013

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Transcript of African American Portrayal in Media

African Americans & Stereotypes Within Media

The Watermelon Stereotype
Given the stature of the postcard, we can conclude that the postcard was made between 1910 and the 1920's, due to the washed out color and the white border around the postcard. The African American people who are represented in the postcard are viewed in a negative stereotypical way. Racism is illustrated by them sitting on the ground eating watermelon and the spelling indicates a stereotype that blacks are not intelligent.
Our Projects Thesis
The popular yet offensive stereotypes of African Americans are encouraged, sustained, created, and portrayed in the media both in the past and present. Postcards were an older form of initiating stereotypes but in the 21st century the themes of the postcards live on through comedic stand up, interviews, and videos ect.)
In Conclusion
As the postcards are being compared with modern day media it is clear that the same stereotypes are being evoked thus furthering the racial issues we still have in America.
The Stereotypes
The Unintelligent/Less Qualified Stereotype
This picture on this postcard, mailed out on November 30th, 1906, and delivered on December 1, 1906 shows a little black boy holding a raccoon. This postcard was most likely sent between two white people as a joke, which proved how they actually felt towards blacks.
The Dysfunctional Black Family/Mad Black Woman Stereotype
This postcard emphasizes white superiority by suggesting that it is better to have white kids rather than black kids. This postcard was probably made by racist whites who believed the stereotypes of black families. Those sterotypes being; big families with many kids out of wedlock and with different men, wild, restless and dumb black children, and less guarantte for success as a black child rather than a white child.
The Illiteracy/Slang Stereotype
This postcard was mailed out on September 17th 1952, but produced in 1949 by L.H Larsen in Utah. The front of the postcard depicts a shocked black woman along with the title "What would you have done?" and a block of text from the white people's bridge game she overheard.
The Lying/Cheating/Criminal Stereotype
The post card depicts three cartoonish looking black men with largely exageerated lips, wearing flashy clothes. The men are playing poker, and each of the men has extra cards on their laps. The post card shows the men cheating. The wallpaper looks like watermelons and there is a sign that says "Rules". Rule number one reads, "Don't Starz Nothin". The second rule reads, "Don't muss the Wallpaper"
In My Opinion
I found this postcard very interesting because I don't understand why a postcard that holds so much racism would be allowed to be made in the first place. This postcard was definitely made when racism was a standard way of living. The people that created this post card were most likely slave owners who thought this would be a humorous joke and this shows how much society has changed and adopted to a new way of thinking.
In My Opinion
This demonstrates that racism was still very prevalant during this time period. The postcard is very demeaning in the sense that it shows how white folks viewed blacks as inferior and as though blacks were animals because the postcard say both the boy and the animal are coons, which was a derogatory name for blacks back then.
Video Reference
0:52-1:39
In My Opinion
It is heartbreaking to see that even black children are targeted and humiliated within these racist postcards. The illustration is clear set to portray African Americans as unappealing and dumb and this seemingly innocent almost "helpful" image can appear realistic when in actuality skin color has nothing to do with the value of a child. In this day and age black kids and white kids still have different family dynamics however neither one should be considered wrong or right. The postcard says differently.
Video Reference
1:47-2:53
Stereotypes, we will cover and reprimand
1. Black people love watermelons
2. Black people lie, cheat, and steal, and are violent
Blacks are less qualified
3. White children are more well behaved and better than black children
4. Blacks are unintelligent and illiterate

Book Relation
Our research and project contained elements and themes that were also implemented in books we read but specifically "For Colored Girls" which documented and fictionalized the lives of african american women. Shange's play also conveys the struggles of being African American but in a more positive light than the media in our presentation
THE END
When we can learn that while perhaps comedic, stereotypes are wrong and dividing, only then can we unite.
In My Opinion
Not only does this postcard mock the way African American's speak by the spelling of the words, but it also depicts African Americans (especially women) as being stupid sexual deviants. I thought this postcard was interesting because not only was it blatantly racist but also the comment on the back side of the postcard reads "Hi-this is pretty cute isn't it. Ha Ha. Guess who" The sender's message on the card is more that slightly disturbing to me. They take this racist card and can laugh about it and even call it cute. I guess this really goes to show you how far society has come.
In My Opinion
The postcard is racist because it concludes that black men not only like flashy things and gambling, but also cheat while doing so. The first rule on the wall stereotypes black males by concluding that they always start fights. The second rule indicates that the men were too unintelligent to realize the wallpaper wasn't watermelon. The "dues due" rule followed by many names shows that they still owe money. This postcard was made to amuse white people when it was not uncommon to make racist jokes.
http://www.comedycentral.com/video-clips/jwy71h/chapelle-s-show-the-world-series-of-dice
Based on Jim Harvey's speech structures
"N-----s an' watermillyuns
Jes natchully agree:
An' when we gits a pile lak dis,
We's happy as kin be."
Video Reference
00:00-00:54
"Black Men Gambling"
"She Do Love Watermelon"
"Just Two Coons"
"Could I Interest You In Some White Kids"
"What Would You Have Done"
The Big Dysfunctional Family
Unintelligent and Illiterate
Violent Gangsters and Criminals
Love Watermelon and Fried Chicken
Ghetto, Sexual Mad Black Women
Poor and Less Qualified
Palmer, Colin A. Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History: The Black Experience in the Americas. 2nd ed. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2006. Print.
Lester, Neal A. "Shange's Men: For Colored Girls Revisited, and Movement Beyond." African American Review. Vol. 26-43. St. Louis: African American Review, 2007. N. pag. Print.
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