A Modern Day Minstrel Show

1540 WordsOct 3, 20167 Pages
It is clear that our country 's criminal justice system is the new Jim Crow; with a huge majority of felons being African American, it is obvious that people of color have it harder when it comes to crime sentences. We must acknowledge that mass incarceration and the Jim Crow era are greatly similar. Minstrel shows, which showed black men to be lazy, dumb, and clownish, once justified the oppression of african americans. Many now believe that gangsta rap does just the same and is the modern day minstrel show, by portraying blacks to be drug dealers, angry, and violent men. Though many people believe that gangsta rap reinforces these stereotypes, it’s important for one to realize that this form of expression is not a modern day version of blackface performances. Blackface performances were popular in American theaters for roughly 100 years, beginning around the 1830’s. In 1950’s blackface minstrel shows, white and black performers were not able to share the stage therefore they opted to paint their faces black with polish. These “black” characters were always portrayed as either villains or comedic. Blackface had been used to make arguments for slavery and why African Americans should not be given full human rights. These are narratives created by white men that were made to oppress and dehumanize an entire race of people. The minstrel show clip titled “Cotton and Chick Watts Blackface Minstrel Show Comedy” we are shown a very degrading performance put on by two white

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