Racism Still Exists Essay

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Stereotypes are "cognitive structures that contain the perceiver's knowledge, beliefs, and expectations about human groups" (Peffley et al., 1997, p. These cognitive constructs are often created out of a kernel of truth and then distorted beyond reality (Hoffmann, 1986).

Racial stereotypes are constructed beliefs that all members of the same race share given characteristics.

However, the Sambo was seen as naturally lazy and therefore reliant upon his master for direction.

In this way, the institution of slavery was justified.

Images of the Sambo, Jim Crow, the Savage, Mammy, Aunt Jemimah, Sapphire, and Jezebelle may not be as powerful today, yet they are still alive.

One of the most enduring stereotypes in American history is that of the Sambo (Boskin, 1986).by Laura Green Virginia Commonwealth University As human beings, we naturally evaluate everything we come in contact with.We especially try to gain insight and direction from our evaluations of other people.The "foppish" black caricature, Jim Crow, became the image of the black man in the mind of the white western world (Engle, 1978).This image was even more powerful in the north and west because many people never had come into contact with African-American individuals.Bishop Wipple's Southern Diary, 1834-1844, is evidence of this justification of slavery, "They seem a happy race of beings and if you did not know it you would never imagine that they were slaves" (Boskin, 1989, p. However, it was not only slave owners who adopted the Sambo stereotype (Boskin, 1989).Although Sambo was born out of a defense for slavery, it extended far beyond these bounds.As an accommodation to this law, African-Americans developed a shuffling dance in which their feet never left the ground.The physically impaired man Rice saw dancing in this way became the prototype for early minstrelsy (Engle 1978).The response was also wildly enthusiastic as 26 million Americans went to the movies to see Al Jolson in the "Jazz Singer" (Boskin 1986).Movies were, and still are, a powerful medium for the transmission of stereotypes.


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