Choosing two posts by other students, provide your thoughts/feelings/reactions to the characters chosen and how they are portrayed. Respond with 3-4 sentences, and 2-3 provoking questions in order to promote discussion. Consider such questions as, how do they compare to each other? What message are they portraying in contemporary culture today? At least one of your responses should pose as devil’s advocate, finding ways to disagree and to gently prod at weaknesses in the original post. In order to receive full credit, you must respond to posts made on your own discussion post. Make sure that you are citing all sources, or being clear that your statement is your idea/belief/observation.
The Tom Caricature portrays black slaves as faithful submissive servants, implying that slavery was a beneficial institute. An example of this is the role of the black nanny in The Help. These nannies are hired to raise and care for the children of white families, however are treated simply as servants rather than a friend looking after their child temporarily. The segregation and disrespect for the help displayed in the film is what allows the characters to be filed similarly to the Tom Caricature. The help (black nannies) are dressed and groomed presentably, well spoken and dignified, however behind the scenes they are still considered less of a person because of the color of their skin. But the services they provide are seen as “beneficial” (for the whites). A contrary example of the Tom caricature would be Jordan Belfort from “The Wolf of Wall Street”. This character is a white wealthy male who is sexualized throughout the entire film. These are completely opposite values of the Tom caricature. I feel that white privilege, as described in lecture 4, is relevant in the representation of the black servant. The white characters in both these films are profiting off of the works of their servants. The money status of both the black and white characters are representative of privileged white culture and oppressed black culture.
Written Lecture Unit 4, Oliver, Rachel. University of Colorado, Boulder. Boulder, CO. 26 June 2019. Unit 4.
The Brute/Buck Caricature portrays black men as destructive animals/criminals. This brute is known to be a sociopathic, anti-social menace, who is made out to be a monster, predator, someone who targets “helpless” victims (specifically white women). Charles H. Smith (1893) claimed, “A bad negro is the most horrible creature upon the earth, the most brutal and merciless”. When thinking of a movie/television/cartoon/internet character that fits this caricature, the first thing that came to my mind was the drama series about the Central Park Five. This is a four part series that takes place about 30 years after a white jogger was raped in New York City and five Black and Latino teens were falsely accused of the crime. Basically, because of the color of their skin and the prejudices about Black/Latino men, it was easy to label them without an actual fair trial. To them, it made sense. Black/Latino people were “violent predators” in the eyes of the court at that time. They were all sentenced to 5-15 years in jail even though there was zero proof. For the counter character, I have found an article about Brock Turner, a white male that attended Stanford University who raped an unconscious woman behind a trash can. Though he is an ACTUAL predator, a monster, a true menace… he only got 3 months of jail time, instead of the 6 years he should have faced, because the color of his skin allowed him to pull connections and make bargains that no Black or Latino man could ever do. These stereotypes of Black men that started many many years ago, that should have been destroyed by now, are unfortunately still present and being felt.
“The Brute Caricature.” The Brute Caricature – Jim Crow Museum – Ferris State
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