Monday, October 8, 2007

Indians Representation


This picture is a popular representation of the Cleveland Indians, a baseball team originating in Ohio. What they used for their logo is a very stereotypical and very inaccurate representation of Indians, or Native Americans. I chose this piece because I believe how Americans stereotypically portray races other than themselves as to be very different, and the majority of the time the representation is inaccurate and most times demeaning as well. The Cleveland caricature is not the only one that skews one’s perception of a certain race or religion. In class there was a website that had a page full of these kinds of caricatures based on their race, religion, and background. All of them seemed to exaggerate a certain type of perception that is commonly stereotyped per each race, religion or background.

As stated previously, this caricature represents how the Indians were viewed, and to this day the symbol still remains the same. The perception of Indians nowadays should be different, but this icon for the baseball team was created purely on the stereotypes that follow those who are Indian or Native American. Such characteristics are the red skin, and the feather sticking up on their head. This relates to the material in class because some of the earlier readings consisted of the Indians when the settlers first came over and “discovered” the Americans. The Indians there at first welcomed the new settlers with open arms, but then as the settlers tried to gain control of the land and use the Indians as slaves, they became hostile towards the new settlers, and did the best that they could to defend their land. From there, the new settlers once again portrayed the people who are different from themselves as savages that needed to be trained in the way of the new settlers. Therefore, saying that the new settlers have a right to claim their land, and have an attempt to capture the Indians, make them slaves, and teach them the Christian ways of life.

Overall, I believe that the icon for the Cleveland Indians should be changed, if anything at least to something that does not represent Indians in a poorly stereotypical way. Even though that this icon has been around for years, it can still be considered offensive to those who are of Indian or Native American descent. What I found most interesting was in class when we saw the other caricatures of different types of race and religion represented on Chief Wahoo to be very stereotypical of each and every race and religion. I’m sure that anyone who is a part of any of those race, religion, and background, could have felt slightly offended by such a stereotype to be exaggerated and included in the representation of all people who fall under that certain category. Though what I find amusing is that why the Cleveland baseball players chose the Indians stereotyped chief Wahoo to be their icon, when they could have chosen another one, such as the Irish, Jewish, or Chinese stereotype. Since the Indians representation is also a part of this stereotype caricatures, what made them so different than the rest that the Cleveland Indians wished to use that instead of another type of image?

Black Face

This picture represents a form of entertainment that occurred after African Americans were emancipated from slavery. I chose this topic because I find how they whites chose to represent the African Americans in plays, and even making African Americans play the role of themselves in black face to be intriguing. Using black face as a form of entertainment within plays during this time period was very popular, and white Americans took advantage of the fact that African Americans were still the minority of this time period, and inferior to the whites that they can skew their perception of the African Americans.

The way the African Americans were represented in America after they were free from slavery was a very drastic skew from how African Americans are in reality. Because many of the white Americans were unhappy about the slaves recent emancipation from slavery, their view of the African Americans were those that were close to savagery, and without being controlled as by slavery, they believe that they just let a bunch of wild animals free to run around among America. The black face was a very popular representation of African Americans during this time period, and they were included as a form of entertainment for the Americans. People in black face could either be black or white, and during the plays they would be represented as either happy or sad characteristics. One could easily tell that the representation of African Americans in black face was completely skewed as to how African Americans really are, because when African Americans use black face to represent their own race, certain features are exaggerated, such as the lips, and how dark their skin really is. Therefore, any other representation of black people, as advertised in various grocery store products, are obviously inaccurate to how the African American’s really are.

Overall, I believe that the white Americans poorly represented how the African Americans were during this time period. Black face is a very obvious case in which the representation of African Americans was completely skewed. Having African American’s dress up in black face only to represent their own selves is an obvious case that it is completely inaccurate. As the years went on, the viewpoints of African Americans slowly reduced from savagery and changed into representing them as actual human beings, even though it did take decades for this transformation to happen, it is still a very good transition.



This picture represents how America was after the emancipation of slavery occurred. I chose to use this piece because I find how they were able to uphold the segregation between the different races for a long period of time to be very interesting. Even if the African Americans were now considered free people, they were still looked down upon by the white Americans, and were still treated as inferiors to them. Almost everything from theatres to school, to even restaurants were segregated as to where people of what race could sit, if the African Americans were even allowed to enter the area at all. Here this picture shows of a theatre for colored people. This theatre is most likely in a worse condition than the white people’s movie theatre, and it is probably less taken care of as well.

The topic of segregation was also brought up during some of the readings and movies that we did in class. Again, in the movie Ethnic Notions, which mainly revolved around African Americans and how they were represented within America, it shows how they are supposedly savage beasts, and that they were not allowed to go to any place where white people were the only “kind” of people accepted in a particular area. Specifically, an example from the movie consisted of an African American actor, who performs in black face tried to go into a place where whites were accepted, but the only way he could get in was to have someone escort him inside. So he waited outside the doors until someone would be kind enough to be his escort. Throughout the time he was outside he was expected by the whites to open the door for people, and that was it. This event, along with the picture, shows that the African Americans were still looked down upon, and were supposedly expected to be of service to the whites in order to gain money during this time period.

I believe that the racial segregation that happened during this time period was absurd. Though then it probably seemed like a very fair thing to do, given how they stereotype the African Americans to be savage beasts, and not actual human beings. I also found that it was quite bad on the white Americans part that instead of just sharing the same building for a movie theater, they went and built another theater specifically for African Americans. In hindsight, the city ended up losing more money to construct a second theatre just for the African Americans, along with losing extra space they could have used for something else. Overall, segregation and having specific buildings only allow certain races is probably the worst idea that could have ever happened in the Americas. Also, it is quite apparent that the African Americans half of the buildings were considerably less cared for by the city, and does not seem as nice as the utilities the white Americans were allowed to use. The segregation that occurred in America is probably one of the worst events that happened within the country.



This is a picture of a Mammy, which represented a happy African American slave back during the slave era. This shows that these "mammy" slaves are typically overweight, jolly, and obedient to their master. I chose to use this piece because I thought the stereotypes of the African Americans and how they were represented in the past were interesting, no matter how wrong they possibly were. They seem to not have any problems with being a slave, because they supposedly feel like they are part of the family they are being a slave to. The mammy is portrayed normally as a happy go lucky slave, and is supposedly treated with some respect by the family she is caring for. Though she may be kind to the slaveholder’s family, it is believed she holds the masculine role within her own family, always in charge of everything within the family. No one in the Mammy’s family wants to disobey her, or else she will punish them with spankings or assign more work depending on the individual.

This picture is related to our course material because the majority of our readings and topics that we discuss revolve around slavery, and how the African Americans came to be the majority of the slave population, if not all of the population of the slaves. There are many different kinds of slaves that came over to America by sea, and Mammy's are one perspective of what a slave could be. One of the movies that we watched in class, Ethnic Notions, specifically talks about the different types of stereotypes of African Americans, one of them being the Mammy. Though the mammy and other stereotypes of slaves were not specifically brought up in some of the readings, they were represented in the movies we watched in class.

Even though the stereotype of the mammy is represented in this way, I believe that the stereotype is only slightly correct. I don’t believe that the Mammy was happy all of the time, and she may have received beatings from her slaveholder, thus feeling bitter towards the slave holder. I have not really heard much about the slave holders being jolly with their slaves, and the slaves never seem to be happy serving their slave holders, no matter how nice they supposedly are to them. The physical features of the Mammy may be accurate, but not all of the Mammy’s within the slave community look the same. I feel that the stereotypes that rose about the African Americans were quite racist, and the stereotypes only got worse after the slaves have become free from slavery. Even though they were free, everyone who was not of the African American race still looked down upon them and segregation was still rather popular during this time period. Also, throughout the country African Americans were represented as people with really large lips, and have extremely dark skin. They also seemed to look much disfigured and more savage like, which was represented on a few of the products sold back during this time period.