Caricatures

 

In the United States, all racial groups have been caricatured, but none as often or in as many ways as black Americans. Blacks have been portrayed in popular culture as pitiable exotics, cannibalistic savages, hypersexual deviants, childlike buffoons, obedient servants, self-loathing victims, and menaces to society. These anti-black depictions routinely took form in material objects, such as ashtrays, drinking glasses, banks, games, fishing lures, detergent boxes, and other everyday items. Pickaninnies, Golliwog, Tom, Coon, Jezebel, Tragic Mulatto, Sapphire, Brute, Nigger, Nat, and the Mammy.

Recent Submissions

  • Pilgrim, David Dr. (Jim Crow Museum Website, 2000-12)
    The Tom caricature portrays black men as faithful, happily submissive servants. The Tom caricature, like the Mammy caricature, was born in ante-bellum America in the defense of slavery. How could slavery be wrong, argued ...
  • Pilgrim, David, Dr. (Jim Crow Museum Website, 2000-10)
    The picaninny was the dominant racial caricature of black children for most of this country's history. They were "child coons," miniature versions of Stepin Fetchit (see Pilgrim (2000)). Picaninnies had bulging eyes, unkempt ...
  • Pilgrim, David, Dr. (Jim Crow Museum Website, 2000-10)
    The coon caricature is one of the most insulting of all anti- black caricatures. The name itself, an abbreviation of raccoon, is dehumanizing. As with Sambo, the coon was por- trayed as a lazy, easily frightened, chronically ...
  • Pilgrim, David, Dr. (Jim Crow Museum Website, 2002-07)
    The portrayal of black women as lascivious by nature is an enduring stereotype. The descriptive words associated with this stereotype are singular in their focus: seductive, alluring, worldly, beguiling, tempting, and lewd. ...
  • Pilgrim, David, Dr. (Jim Crow Museum Website, 2000-11)
    During the postwar period of Radical Reconstruction (1867-1877), many white writers argued that without slavery-which supposedly contained their animalistic tendencies- blacks were reverting to criminal savagery. The brute ...