Identifying Black Caricatures - Brutes, c00ns, Toms, and Sapphires etc..

Discussion in 'The Root' started by TheReckoning, Jun 8, 2014.

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    Lets take a moment to examine the Black Brute

    The Brute Caricature
    MORE PICTURES

    [​IMG] The brute caricature portrays black men as innately savage, animalistic, destructive, and criminal -- deserving punishment, maybe death. This brute is a fiend, a sociopath, an anti-social menace. Black brutes are depicted as hideous, terrifying predators who target helpless victims, especially white women. Charles H. Smith (1893), writing in the 1890s, claimed, "A bad negro is the most horrible creature upon the earth, the most brutal and merciless"(p. 181). Clifton R. Breckinridge (1900), a contemporary of Smith's, said of the black race, "when it produces a brute, he is the worst and most insatiate brute that exists in human form" (p. 174). George T. Winston (1901), another "Negrophobic" writer, claimed:

    • When a knock is heard at the door [a White woman] shudders with nameless horror. The black brute is lurking in the dark, a monstrous beast, crazed with lust. His ferocity is almost demoniacal. A mad bull or tiger could scarcely be more brutal. A whole community is frenzied with horror, with the blind and furious rage for vengeance.(pp. 108-109)
    During slavery the dominant caricatures of blacks -- Mammy, c00n, Tom, and picaninny -- portrayed them as childlike, ignorant, docile, groveling, and generally harmless. These portrayals were pragmatic and instrumental. Proponents of slavery created and promoted images of blacks that justified slavery and soothed white consciences. If slaves were childlike, for example, then a paternalistic institution where masters acted as quasi-parents to their slaves was humane, even morally right. More importantly, slaves were rarely depicted as brutes because that portrayal might have become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
    During the Radical Reconstruction period (1867-1877), many white writers argued that without slavery -- which supposedly suppressed their animalistic tendencies -- blacks were reverting to criminal savagery. The belief that the newly-emancipated blacks were a "black peril" continued into the early 1900s. Writers like the novelist Thomas Nelson Page (1904) lamented that the slavery-era "good old darkies" had been replaced by the "new issue" (blacks born after slavery) whom he described as "lazy, thriftless, intemperate, insolent, dishonest, and without the most rudimentary elements of morality" (pp. 80, 163). Page, who helped popularize the images of cheerful and devoted Mammies and Sambos in his early books, became one of the first writers to introduce a literary black brute. In 1898 he published Red Rock, a Reconstruction novel, with the heinous figure of Moses, a loathsome and sinister black politician. Moses tried to rape a white woman: "He gave a snarl of rage and sprang at her like a wild beast" (pp. 356-358). He was later lynched for "a terrible crime."

    The "terrible crime" most often mentioned in connection with the black brute was rape, specifically the rape of a white woman. At the beginning of the twentieth century, much of the virulent, anti-black propaganda that found its way into scientific journals, local newspapers, and best-selling novels focused on the stereotype of the black rapist. The claim that black brutes were, in epidemic numbers, raping white women became the public rationalization for the lynching of blacks.

    The lynching of blacks was relatively common between Reconstruction and World War II. According to Tuskegee Institute data, from 1882 to 1951 4,730 people were lynched in the United States: 3,437 black and 1,293 white (Gibson, n.d.). Many of the white lynching victims were foreigners or belonged to oppressed groups, for example, Mormons, Shakers, and Catholics. By the early 1900s lynching had a decidedly racial character: white mobs lynched blacks. Almost 90 percent of the lynchings of blacks occurred in southern or border states.

    Many of these victims were ritualistically tortured. In 1904, Luther Holbert and his wife were burned to death. They were "tied to trees and while the funeral pyres were being prepared, they were forced to hold out their hands while one finger at a time was chopped off. The fingers were distributed as souvenirs. The ears...were cut off. Holbert was beaten severely, his skull fractured and one of his eyes, knocked out with a stick, hung by a shred from the socket." Members of the mob then speared the victims with a large corkscrew, "the spirals tearing out big pieces of...flesh every time it was withdrawn" (Holden-Smith, 1996, p. 1).

    [​IMG] A mob lynching was a brutal and savage event, and it necessitated that the lynching victim be seen as equally brutal and savage; as these lynchings became more common and more brutal, so did the assassination of the black character. In 1900, Charles Carroll's The Negro A Beast claimed that blacks were more akin to apes than to human beings, and theorized that blacks had been the "tempters of Eve." Carroll said that mulatto 1 brutes were the rapists and murderers of his time (pp. 167, 191, 290-202). Dr. William Howard, writing in the respectable journal Medicine in 1903, claimed that "the attacks on defenseless White women are evidence of racial instincts" (in blacks), and the black birthright was "sexual madness and excess" (Fredrickson, 1971, p. 279). Thomas Dixon's The Leopard's Spots, a 1902 novel, claimed that emancipation had transformed blacks from "a chattel to be bought and sold into a beast to be feared and guarded" (Fredrickson, p. 280).

    [​IMG] In 1905 Dixon published his most popular novel, The Clansman. In this book he described blacks as "half child, half animal, the sport of impulse, whim, and conceit...a being who, left to his will, roams at night and sleeps in the day, whose speech knows no word of love, whose passions, once aroused, are as the fury of the tiger" (Fredrickson, 1971, pp. 280-281). The Clansman includes a detailed and gory account of the rape of a young white virgin by a black brute. "A single tiger springs, and the black claws of the beast sank into the soft white throat." After the rape, the girl and her mother both commit suicide, and the black brute is lynched by the Ku Klux Klan. This book served as the basis for the movie The Birth of a Nation (Griffith, 1915), which also portrayed some blacks as rapist-beasts, justified the lynching of blacks, and glorified the Ku Klux Klan. Carroll, Howard, and Dixon did not exceed the prevailing racism of the so-called Progressive Era.

    In 1921-22 the United States House of Representatives and Senate debated the Dyer Bill, an anti-lynching bill. This bill provided fines and imprisonment for persons convicted of lynching in federal courts, and fines and penalties against states, counties, and cities which failed to use reasonable effort to protect citizens from lynch mobs. The Dyer Bill passed in the House of Representatives, but it was killed in the Senate by filibustering southerners who claimed that it was unconstitutional and an infringement upon states' rights (Gibson, n.d., p. 5). The following statements made by southern Congressmen during the Dyer Bill debate suggest that they were more concerned with white supremacy and the oppression of blacks than they were with constitutional issues.


    • Senator James Buchanan of Texas claimed that in "the Southern States and in secret meetings of the Negro race [white liberals] preach the damnable doctrine of social equality which excites the criminal sensualities of the criminal element of the Negro race and directly incites the diabolical crime of rape upon the white women. Lynching follows as swift as lightning, and all the statutes of State and Nation cannot stop it." (Holden-Smith, 1996, p. 14)
      Representative Percy Quin of Mississippi, spoke of lynch law, "Whenever an infamous outrage is committed upon a [Southern] White woman the law is enforced by the neighbors of the woman who has been outraged? The colored people of [the South] realize the manner of that enforcement, and that is the one method by which the horrible crime of rape has been held down where the Negro element is in a large majority. The man who believes that the Negro race is all bad is mistaken. But you must recollect that there is an element of barbarism in the black man, and the people around where he lives recognize that fact." (Holden-Smith, 1996, p. 15)
     
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    • .............
      Representative Sisson of Mississippi said, "as long as rape continues lynching will continue. For this crime, and this crime alone, the South has not hesitated to administer swift and certain punishment....We are going to protect our girls and womenfolk from these black brutes. When these black fiends keep their hands off the throats of the women of the South then lynching will stop..." (Holden-Smith, 1996, p. 16)

      Representative Benjamin Tillman from South Carolina claimed that the Dyer Bill would eliminate the states and "substitute for the starry banner of the Republic, a black flag of tyrannical centralized government...black as the face and heart of the rapist...who [recently] deflowered and killed Margaret Lear," a White girl in South Carolina. (Holden-Smith, 1996, p. 14) Tillman asked why anyone should care about the "burning of an occasional ravisher," when the House had more important concerns. (Holden-Smith, 1996, p. 16)

      Senator T.H. Caraway of Arkansas claimed that the NAACP, "wrote this bill and handed it to the proponents of it. These people had but one idea in view, and that was to make rape permissible, and to allow the guilty to go unpunished if that rape should be committed by a Negro against a white woman in the South." (Holden-Smith, 1996, p. 16)
    [​IMG] Despite the hyperbolic claims of those Congressmen, most of the blacks lynched had not been accused of rape or attempted rape. According to the Tuskegee Institute's lynching data, the accusations against lynching victims for the years 1882 to 1951 were: 41 percent for felonious assault, 19.2 percent for rape, 6.1 percent for attempted rape, 4.9 percent for robbery and theft, 1.8 percent for insulting white people, and 27 percent for miscellaneous offenses (for example, trying to vote, testifying against a white man, asking a white woman to marry) or no offenses at all (Gibson, n.d., p. 3). The 25.3% who were accused of rape or attempted rape were often not guilty, and were killed without benefit of trial. Gunnar Myrdal (1944), a Swedish social scientist who studied American race relations, stated:

    • There is much reason to believe that this figure [25.3 percent] has been inflated by the fact that a mob which makes the accusation of rape is secure from any further investigation; by the broad Southern definition of rape to include all sexual relations between Negro men and white women; and by the psychopathic fears of white women in their contacts with Negro men. (pp. 561-562)
    Lynchings often involved castration, amputation of hands and feet, spearing with long nails and sharpened steel rods, removal of eyes, beating with blunt instruments, shooting with bullets, burning at the stake, and hanging. It was, when done by southern mobs, especially sadistic, irrespective of the criminal charge. Most white southerners agreed that lynching was evil, but they claimed that black brutes were a greater evil.

    Lynchings were necessary, argued many whites, to preserve the racial purity of the white race, more specifically, the racial purity of white women. White men had sexual relations -- consensual and rape -- with black women as soon as Africans were introduced into the European American colonies. These sexual unions produced numerous mixed-race offspring. White women, as "keepers of white racial purity," were not allowed consensual sexual relations with black men. A black man risked his life by having sexual relations with a white woman. Even talking to a white woman in a "familiar" manner could result in black males being killed.

    [​IMG] In 1955, Emmett Till, a black fourteen year old from Chicago, visited his relatives in Mississippi. The exact details are not known, but Till apparently referred to a female white store clerk as "Baby." Several days later, the woman's husband and brother took Till from his uncle's home, beat him to death -- his head was crushed and one eye was gouged out--and threw his body into the Tallahatchie River. The men were caught, tried, and found innocent by an all-white jury. The case became a cause celebre during the civil rights movement, showing the nation that brutal violence undergirded Jim Crow laws and etiquette.

    There were black rapists with white victims, but they were relatively rare; most white rape victims were raped by white men. The brute caricature was a red herring, a myth used to justify lynching, which in turn was used as a social control mechanism to instill fear in black communities. Each lynching sent messages to blacks: Do not register to vote. Do not apply for a white man's job. Do not complain publicly. Do not organize. Do not talk to white women. The brute caricature gained in popularity whenever blacks pushed for social equality. According to Allen D. Grimshaw (1969), a sociologist, the most savage oppression of blacks by whites, whether expressed in rural lynchings or urban race riots, has taken place when blacks have refused or been perceived by whites as refusing to accept a subordinate or oppressed status (pp. 264-265).

    [​IMG] The civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s forced many white Americans to examine their images of and beliefs about blacks. Television and newspaper coverage showing black protesters, including children, being beaten, arrested, and jailed by baton-waving police officers led many whites to see blacks as victims, not victimizers. The brute caricature did not die, but it lost much of its credibility. Not surprisingly, lynchings, especially public well-attended ones, decreased in number. Lynchings became "hate crimes," committed secretly. Beginning in the 1960s the relatively few blacks who were lynched were not accused of sexual assaults; instead, these lynchings were reactions of white supremacists to black economic and social progress.

    The brute caricature has not been as common as the c00n caricature in American movies. The Birth of a Nation (Griffiths, 1915) was the first major American movie to portray all the major anti-black caricatures, including the brute. That movie led to numerous black protests and white-initiated race riots. One result of the racial strife was that black male actors in the 1920s through 1940s found themselves limited to c00n and Tom roles. It was neither socially acceptable nor economically profitable to show movies where black brutes terrorized whites.

    In the 1960s and 1970s "Blaxploitation" movies brought aggressive, anti-white black males onto the big screen. Some of these fit the "Buck" caricature -- for example, the private detective in Shaft (Freeman & Parks, 1971) and the pimp in Superfly (Shore & Parks, 1972) -- but some of the Blaxploitation actors were cinematic brutes, for example Melvin Van Peebles' character in Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (Gross, Van Peebles & Van Peebles, 1971). Sweetback, the main character, is falsely accused of a crime. On the lam he assaults several men, rapes a black woman, and kills corrupt police officers. The movie ends with the message: A BAADASSSSS ****** IS COMING BACK TO COLLECT SOME DUES. That frightened whites. Young blacks, tired of the Stepin Fetchit portrayals, flocked to see the low-budget movie. Although dressed in the clothes of a rebel, Sweetback was as much a brute as had been the lustful Gus in The Birth of a Nation.

    [​IMG] American Gigolo (Bruckheimer & Schrader, 1980) had a poisonous and despicable black pimp. He was one of the many black sadistic pimps who have abused and degraded whites in American movies. Mister---, the husband in The Color Purple (Jones, Kennedy, Marshall, Spielberg & Spielberg, 1985), is an angry and savage wife abuser, and so is Ike Turner in What's Love Got To Do With It? (Chapin, Krost & Gibson, 1993). Both are brutes whose victims happen to be black. Turner's real life criminal behavior (which predated the movie) was used to give credibility to his character's portrayal as a brute and, more importantly, to reinforce the belief that blacks are especially prone to brutish behavior.

    In the 1980s and 1990s the typical cinema and television brute was nameless and sometimes faceless; he sprang from a hiding place, he robbed, raped, and murdered. He represented the cold brutality of urban life. Often he was a gangbanger. Sometimes he was a dope fiend. Actors who played the black brute were usually not on screen very long, just long enough to terrorize innocent victims. They were movie props. On television shows like Law and Order, Homicide: Life on the Streets, ER, and NYPD Blue, nameless black brutes assault, maim, and kill. On October 2, 2000, NBC debuted Deadline, a drama involving an irascible journalism teacher. In the first episode two young black males brutally kill five restaurant workers. They kill without remorse.
     
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    The recent depiction of black males as brutes is not limited to television dramas. Mike Tyson, the former heavyweight boxing champion, has embraced the brute image. Tyson was marketed as a sadistic and savage warrior who was capable of killing an opponent. His quick knockouts bolstered his reputation as the world's most feared man. Joyce Carol Oates wrote, "Tyson suggests a savagery only symbolically contained within the brightly illuminated ring" (Souther, n.d.). She wrote this a decade before Tyson was convicted of several criminal charges, including the rape of a beauty pageant contestant, and later, the battering of two motorists. After his boxing skills had diminished, Tyson gained greater notoriety by biting the ear of an opponent during a bout. In a news conference Tyson said, "I am an animal. I am a convicted rapist, a hell-raiser, a loving father, a semi-good husband." Referring to Lennox Lewis, the heavyweight boxing champion, Tyson said, "If he ever tries to intimidate me, I'm gonna put a fu--ing bullet through his fu--ing skull" (Serjeant, 2000). Tyson benefited from the brute image. His boxing matches were "events." Spectators paid thousands of dollars for ringside seats. Tyson became the wealthiest and best known athlete on earth. In his mind, he was a twenty-first century gladiator; to the American public, he was simply a black brute.

    [​IMG] Tyson is a violent and emotionally unstable man, but he is more than a one-dimensional brute. He has donated thousands of dollars to civic, educational, and humanitarian organizations. Without media fanfare, he has visited hundreds of hospitalized patients, especially seriously ill and injured children. He is smarter than his public image, and has worked diligently to "deepen" his intellect. Yet, he was marketed, with his permission, as a crude savage. Americans see him as an affirmation of the black brute caricature, and he has, especially in recent years, embraced the stereotype outside the boxing ring. Tyson can no longer distinguish the (Iron Mike) myth from the (vicious criminal) madness, and many white Americans cannot separate Tyson's criminal behavior from his blackness.

    During the 1988 presidential campaign, George Bush's election committee sought to portray his opponent, Michael Dukakis, as weak on crime. Bush's team used television advertisements which showed a menacing mug shot of Willie Horton, a black convicted murderer. Horton, while out of prison on an unguarded 48-hour furlough, kidnapped a young white suburban couple. He repeatedly stabbed the man and raped the woman several times. The image of Horton's threatening face on the nation's television screens helped Bush win the election. It also reinforced the belief that a black brute is worse than a white brute.


    • My wife's been shot. I'm shot.... He made us go to an abandoned area. I don't see any signs. Oh, God!
    This frantic telephone call came into the Massachusetts State Police on the night of October 23, 1989. After a desperate search, using only the sound from the open cell telephone as their guide, police discovered an injured couple. Carol DiMaiti Stuart, seven months pregnant, had been shot in the head; Charles, her husband, had a serious gunshot wound to the abdomen. Hours later, doctors performed a Cesarean section on the dying woman and delivered a premature baby boy who died days later. Charles Stuart told the police that the murderer was a black man.

    The city of Boston, which has a history of racial discord, experienced heightened racial tensions as police searched for the black brute. Officers went into black neighborhoods and rounded up hundreds of black men for questioning. The black community was outraged. Charles Stuart picked Willie Bennett out of a lineup; Bennett was subsequently arrested for the crime (Ogletree, n.d.).

    Later, police were informed by Stuart's brother that Charles Stuart probably killed his wife for insurance money. The police began investigating Charles Stuart and were building a strong circumstantial case when, on January 4, 1990, he committed suicide.

    In 1994 Susan Smith, a young mother in Union, South Carolina, claimed that a man had commandeered her car with her two boys: 14-month-old Alex and 3-year-old Michael. She described the carjacker as a "black male in his late 20s to early 30s, wearing a plaid shirt, jeans, and a toboggan-type hat." A composite of her description was published in newspapers, nationally and locally. Smith appeared on national television, tearfully begging for her sons to be returned safely. An entire nation wept with her, and the image of the black brute resurfaced. The Reverend Mark Long, the pastor of the church where Smith's family attended services, said in reference to the black suspect, "There are some people that would like to see this man's brains bashed in" (Squires, 1994).

    After nine days of a gut-wrenching search and strained relations between local blacks and whites, there was finally a break in the case: Susan Smith confessed to drowning her own sons. In a two-page handwritten confession she apologized to her sons, but she did not apologize to blacks, nationally or locally. "It was hard to be black this week in Union," said Hester Booker, a local black man. "The whites acted so different. They wouldn't speak (to blacks); they'd look at you and then reach over and lock their doors. And all because that lady lied" (Fields, 1994).

    The false allegations of Charles Stuart and Susan Smith could have led to racial violence. In 1908, in Springfield, Illinois, Mabel Hallam, a white woman, falsely accused "a black fiend," George Richardson, of raping her. Her accusations angered local whites. They formed a mob, killed two blacks chosen randomly, then burned and pillaged the local black community. Blacks fled to avoid a mass lynching. Hallam later admitted that she lied about the rape to cover up an extramarital affair.

    How many lynchings and race riots have resulted from false accusations of rape and murder leveled against so-called black brutes?
     
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    we obviously have individuals in our community whom embody this stereotype. I'm sure many of us a black men have been identified as black brute under false assumptions and preconceived notions.
     
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    The c00n Caricature
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    http://www.ferris.edu/htmls/news/jimcrow/c00n/sleep.jpg​
    The c00n caricature is one of the most insulting of all anti-black caricatures. The name itself, an abbreviation of racc00n, is dehumanizing. As with Sambo, the c00n was portrayed as a lazy, easily frightened, chronically idle, inarticulate, buffoon. The c00n differed from the Sambo in subtle but important ways. Sambo was depicted as a perpetual child, not capable of living as an independent adult. The c00n acted childish, but he was an adult; albeit a good-for-little adult. Sambo was portrayed as a loyal and contented servant. Indeed, Sambo was offered as a defense for slavery and segregation. How bad could these institutions have been, asked the racialists, if blacks were contented, even happy, being servants? The c00n, although he often worked as a servant, was not happy with his status. He was, simply, too lazy or too cynical to attempt to change his lowly position. Also, by the 1900s, Sambo was identified with older, docile blacks who accepted Jim Crow laws and etiquette; whereas c00ns were increasingly identified with young, urban blacks who disrespected whites. Stated differently, the c00n was a Sambo gone bad.
    The prototypical movie c00n was Stepin Fetchit, the slow-talking, slow-walking, self-demeaning nitwit. It took his character almost a minute to say: "I'se be catchin' ma feets nah, Boss." Donald Bogle (1994), a cinema historian, lambasted the c00n, as played by Stepin Fetchit and others:




    • Before its death, the c00n developed into the most blatantly degrading of all black stereotypes. The pure c00ns emerged as no-account ******s, those unreliable, crazy, lazy, subhuman creatures good for nothing more than eating watermelons, stealing chickens, shooting crap, or butchering the English language. (p. 8)
    The c00n caricature was born during American slavery. Slave masters and overseers often described slaves as "slow," "lazy," "wants pushing," "an eye servant," and "trifling."1 The master and the slave operated with different motives: the master desired to obtain from the slave the greatest labor, by any means; the slave desired to do the least labor while avoiding punishment. The slave registered his protest against slavery by running away, and, when that was not possible, by slowing work, doing shoddy work, destroying work tools, and faking illness. Slave masters attributed the slaves' poor work performance to shiftlessness, stupidity, desire for freedom, and genetic deficiencies.

    http://www.ferris.edu/htmls/news/jimcrow/c00n/lazy.jpg The amount of work done by a typical slave depended upon the demands of individual slave owners and their ability to extract labor. Typically, slaves worked from dawn to dusk. They were sometimes granted "leisure time" on Saturday or Sunday evenings; however, this time was spent planting or harvesting their own gardens, washing clothes, cooking, and cleaning. A slave owner wrote: "I always give them half of each Saturday, and often the whole day, at which time...the women do their household work; therefore they are never idle" (Stampp, 1956, pp. 79-80)

    Slave owners complained about the laziness of their workers, but the records show that slaves were often worked hard -- and brutally so. Overseers were routinely paid commissions, which encouraged them to overwork the slaves. On a North Carolina plantation an overseer claimed that he was a "'hole hog man rain or shine," and boasted that the slaves had been worked "like horses." He added, "I'd ruther be dead than be a ****** on one of these big plantations" (Stampp, 1956, p. 85). After the closing of the African slave trade, the price of slaves went up, thereby causing some slave owners and their hired overseers to be more careful in their use of slaves. "The time had been," wrote one slave owner, "that the farmer could kill up and wear out one Negro to buy another; but it is not so now. Negroes are too high in proportion to the price of cotton, and it behooves those who own them to make them last as long as possible" (Stampp, 1956, p. 81).

    Slaves are generally associated with the harvest of cotton; however, slaves worked in many industries. Almost every railroad in the ante-bellum South was built in part by slave labor. Slaves worked in sawmills, fisheries, gold mines and salt mines. They were used as deck hands on river boats. There were slave lumberjacks, construction workers, longshoremen, iron workers, even store clerks. Slaves monopolized the domestic services. Some slaves worked as skilled artisans, for example, shoemakers, blacksmiths, carpenters, mechanics, and barbers. These artisans were generally treated better than the slaves in the cotton and tobacco fields; therefore, it is not surprising that the artisans did better work. They included "many ingenious Mechanicks," claimed a white colonial Georgian, "and as far as they have had opportunity of being instructed, have discovered as good abilities, as are usually found among [white] people of our Colony" (Stampp, 1956, p. 63).

    The supporters of slavery claimed that blacks were a childlike people unequipped for freedom. Proslavers acknowledged that some slave masters were cruel, but they argued that most were benevolent, kind-hearted capitalists who civilized and improved their docile black wards. From Radical Reconstruction to World War I, there was a national nostalgia for the "good ol' darkies" who loved their masters, and, according to the proslavers, rejected or only reluctantly accepted emancipation. In this context, the conceptualization of the c00n was revised. During slavery almost all blacks, especially men, were sometimes seen as c00ns, that is, lazy, shiftless, and virtually useless. However, after slavery, the c00n caricature was increasingly applied to younger blacks, especially those who were urban, flamboyant, and contemptuous of whites. Thomas Nelson Page, a white writer wrote this in 1904:




    • Universally, they [white Southerners] will tell you that while the old-time Negroes were industrious, saving, and when not misled, well-behaved, kindly, respectful, and self-respecting, and while the remnant of them who remain still retain generally these characteristics, the "new issue," for the most part, are lazy, thriftless, intemperate, insolent, dishonest, and without the most rudimentary elements of morality....Universally, they report a general depravity and retrogression of the Negroes at large in sections in which they are left to themselves, closely resembling a reversion to barbarism. (p. 80)
    At the beginning of the 1900s many whites supported the implementation of Jim Crow laws and etiquette. They believed that blacks were genetically, therefore permanently, inferior to whites. Blacks were, they argued, hedonistic children, irresponsible, and left to their own plans, destined for idleness -- or worse. It was not uncommon for whites to distinguish between ******s (c00ns and Bucks) and Negroes (Toms, Sambos, and Mammies), and they preferred the latter.

    http://www.ferris.edu/htmls/news/jimcrow/c00n/drink.jpg Racial caricatures are undergirded by stereotypes, and the stereotyping of blacks as c00ns continued throughout the 20th Century. The pioneer study of racial and ethnic stereotyping in the United States was conducted in 1933 by Daniel Katz and Kenneth Braley, two social scientists. They questioned 100 Princeton University undergraduates regarding the prevailing stereotypes of racial and ethnic groups. Their research concluded that blacks were consistently described as "superstitious," "happy-go-lucky," and "lazy." The respondents had these views even though they had little or no contact with blacks. This study was repeated in 1951, and the negative stereotyping of blacks persisted (Gilbert). The Civil Rights Movement improved whites' attitudes toward blacks, but a sizeable minority of whites still hold traditional, racist views of blacks. An early 1990s study conducted by the National Opinion Research Center found that the majority of the white, Hispanic, and other non-black respondents displayed negative attitudes towards blacks. For example, 78 percent said that blacks were more likely than whites to "prefer to live off welfare" and "less likely to prefer to be self-supporting." Further, 62 percent said blacks were more likely to be lazy; 56 percent said blacks were violence-prone; and 53 percent said that blacks were less intelligent than whites (Duke, 1991). Stated differently: the c00n caricature is still being applied to blacks. Martin Gilens (1999), a Yale University political scientist, argued that many white Americans believe that blacks receive welfare benefits more often than do whites and that "the centuries old stereotype of blacks as lazy remains credible for a large number of white Americans." He claimed that opposition to welfare programs results from misinformation and racism, with whites assuming that their tax money is being used to support lazy blacks. Gilens blames, in part, the media. "Pictures of poor blacks are abundant when poverty coverage is most negative, while pictures of non-blacks dominate the more sympathetic coverage."

    The c00n caricature was one of the stock characters among minstrel performers. Minstrel show audiences laughed at the slow-talking fool who avoided work and all adult responsibilities. This transformed the c00n into a comic figure, a source of bitter and vulgar comic relief. He was sometimes renamed "Zip c00n" or "Urban c00n." If the minstrel skit had an ante-bellum setting, the c00n was portrayed as a free black; if the skit's setting postdated slavery, he was portrayed as an urban black. He remained lazy and good-for-little, but the minstrel shows depicted him as a gaudy dressed "Dandy" who "put on airs." Unlike Mammy and Sambo, c00n did not know his place. He thought he was as smart as white people; however, his frequent malapropisms and distorted logic suggested that his attempt to compete intellectually with whites was pathetic. His use of b*stardized English delighted white audiences and reaffirmed the then commonly held beliefs that blacks were inherently less intelligent. The minstrel c00n's goal was leisure, and his leisure was spent strutting, styling, fighting, avoiding real work, eating watermelons, and making a fool of himself. If he was married, his wife dominated him. If he was single, he sought to please the flesh without entanglements.

    Hollywood films extended the brutalization inherent in the c00n image. The first cinematic c00n appeared in Wooing and Wedding of a c00n (Selig, 1905), a stupendously racist portrayal of two dimwitted and stuttering buffoons. Several notable slapstick "c00n shorts" were produced in 1910-1911, including How Rastus Got His Turkey (Wharton, 1910) (he stole it) and Chicken Thief (1911). In the blackface comedy c00n Town Suffragettes (Lubin, 1914), a group of domineering mammies organize a "movement" to keep their good-for-nothing husbands at home. These early c00ns laid the foundation for the "great" movie c00ns of the 1930s and 1940s.
     
  8. MyAccount

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    In the 1929 Fox film Hearts in Dixie (Sloane), Chloe is married to Gummy, a "languid, shiftless husband whose 'mysery' in his feet prevents him from being of any earthly good as far as work is concerned, although once away from his wife's eye he can shuffle with the tirelessness and lanky abandon of a jumping jack" (Leab, 1976, p. 86). Chloe dies of swamp fever, and Gummy remarries. The new wife is portrayed as a shrew because she tries to force Gummy to work. This movie was a comedy, and most of the humor centered around Gummy's attempts to avoid work and his c00n dialogue, for example, "I ain't askin you is you ain't. I is askin you is you is." The actor who played Gummy was Stepin Fetchit, the "greatest" c00n actor of all time.

    Stepin Fetchit was born Lincoln Theodore Perry on May 30, 1892. A medicine show and vaudeville performer, he arrived in Hollywood in the 1920s. Perry claimed that he got the name Fetchit from a racehorse that won him money. However, he also told an interviewer that he came to Hollywood as a member of a comedy team know as "Step and Fetch It," and later adopted a variant of the name. His first featured movie role using the name Stepin Fetchit was in MGM's In Old Kentucky (Stahl, 1927). Whether as Gummy, Stepin Fetchit, or other names, he essentially performed the same role: the arch-c00n. Daniel J. Leab (1976), a cinema historian, said this:




    • Fetchit became identified in the popular imagination as a dialect-speaking, slump-shouldered, slack-jawed character who walked, talked, and apparently thought in slow motion. The Fetchit character overcame this lethargy only when he thought that a ghost or some nameless terror might be present; and then he moved very quickly indeed. (p. 89)
    Fetchit was the embodiment of the nitwit black man. As with the Zip c00n and Urban c00n, this old-fashioned c00n character could never correctly pronounce a multisyllabic word. He was portrayed as a dunce. In Stand Up and Cheer (Sheehan & MacFadden, 1934), he was tricked into thinking that a "talking" penguin was really Jimmy Durante. Fetchit, scratching his head, eyes bulging, portrayed the c00n so realistically that whites thought they were seeing a real racial type. His c00n portrayal was aided by his appearance. According to Donald Bogle (1994), a film historian:




    • His appearance, too, added to the caricature. He was tall and skinny and always had his head shaved completely bald. He invariably wore clothes that were too large for him and that looked as if they had been passed down from his white master. His grin was always very wide, his teeth very white, his eyes very widened, his feet very large, his walk very slow, his dialect very broken. (P. 41)
    http://www.ferris.edu/htmls/news/jimcrow/c00n/fetchit.jpg Fetchit's c00n characters were racially demeaned and often verbally and even physically abused by white characters. In David Harum (Cruze, 1934) he was traded to Will Rogers along with a horse. He was traded twice more in the movie. In Judge Priest (Wurtzel & Ford, 1934), he was pushed, shoved, and verbally berated by Will Rogers; even worse, his character was barely intelligible, scratched his head in an apelike manner, and followed Rogers around like an adoring pet.

    In black communities, Stepin Fetchit remains a synonym for a bowing and scraping black man. In 1970 he sued CBS unsuccessfully for $3 million, charging defamation of character for the way he was portrayed in the television documentary Black History: Lost, Stolen, or Strayed (Rooney, 1968). "It was Step," he claimed, "who elevated the Negro to the dignity of a Hollywood star. I made the Negro a first-class citizen all over the world...somebody it was all right to associate with. I opened all the theaters" (Bogle, 1994, p. 44). That statement is hyperbole; however, Stepin Fetchit was a talented actor who added depth -- albeit, slight -- to the movie c00n's portrayal.

    http://www.ferris.edu/htmls/news/jimcrow/c00n/jarjar.jpg​
    What is his legacy? He was the first black actor to receive top billing in movies, and one of the first millionaire black actors. He spawned imitators, most notably, Willie Best (Sleep 'n Eat) and Mantan Moreland, the scared, wide-eyed manservant of Charlie Chan. In 1978 he was elected to the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame. But he will always be remembered as the lazy, barely literate, self-demeaning, white man's black. He attempted a comeback in the 1950s, but it was unsuccessful; his c00n caricature then seemed merely embarrassing. In the late 1960s he converted to the Black Muslim faith.

    In 1999 Fetchit's name was again in the headlines. Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace (McCallum & Lucas) included a character named Jar Jar Binks. Critics claimed that Jar Jar, a bumbling dimwitted amphibian-like character, spoke Caribbean-accented pidgin English, and had ears that suggested dreadlocks. Wearing bellbottom pants and vest, Jar Jar looked like the latest in black cinematic stereotypes. Newspaper editorials and internet chat room discussions repeatedly invoked Stepin Fetchit's name. For example, Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal described Jar Jar as a "Rastafarian Stepin Fetchit on platform hoofs, crossed annoyingly with Butterfly McQueen" (Fleeman, 1999). This incident suggests that Fetchit's legacy is to be remembered as a c00n caricature: lazy, bewildered, stammering, shuffling, and good-for-little except buffoonery.

    © Dr. David Pilgrim, Professor of Sociology
    Ferris State University
    Oct., 2000
    Edited 2012
     
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  9. MAKAVELI25

    MAKAVELI25 the heir apparent

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    Great read :ehh:
     
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  11. BelowTheMasonDixon

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    Post the others.
     
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    I visited this site when I was 15 and knew next to nothing about true racism. It really fukked me up for a year.
     
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    Good shyt.
     
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    MostReal 1/2 Normal 1/2 Amazing

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    wow haven't read the entire thread but they are marketing athletes like this now :ohhh:
     

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