Analysis Of The Film Ethnic Notions

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The film Ethnic Notions is a documentary about the developments and effects of Black stereotypes throughout U.S. history. It touches on imagery which kept African Americans oppressed in the eyes of popular culture. Ethnic Notions trace caricatures in stories, children books, animations, theatre, and other forms of popular media. Caricatures serve as a catalyst to sustaining an America that sees African Americans in an unfavorable light. The theme throughout this documentary is dehumanization of African Americans. Finally, the documentary concerns itself with the dehumanization of Americans through stereotypes and racially charged objects because these elements have contributed to a misrepresentation of African Americans. Ethnic Notions demonstrated society’s ability to uphold demoralizing values to stifle change. The abolitionist movement faltered when white society kept building stereotypical figures such as the Sambo and Zip Coon. These figures portrayed…show more content…
history of anti-black propaganda. The documentary showed that the white dominant culture made sure to elicit a feeling of superiority through the demeaning of African Americans. Donald Carter’s quote: “The momentum of over 150 years of derogatory images and characterization flowed down… with real consequences because white power enforced and depended on black racial identity” really resonates with how external eyes set the social identity of the African American community (Carter 39). Ethnic Notions shows how African Americans were portrayed from infants to adults as either deviant or submissive members of society. The history began with people like T.D. Rice who saw African Americans and wanted to portray them absurdly. T.D. Rice created the Jim Crow character, and many other characters rose later as other whites saw this mockery as entertainment and soon these characters began taking power on their own within politics and business (Ethnic

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