African American Women : The Mammy, The Jezebel, And The Matriarch

2946 Words12 Pages
Introduction African American women have been an oppressed group since slavery times and are still being oppressed in one of the simplest ways: through stereotypes. Though there are several stereotypes of African American women we will only focus on three of them, which have transcended through time and taken on new names, the mammy, the jezebel, and the matriarch. All three of these stereotypes have an origin in slavery times and were used to justify mistreatment of African Americans (Collins 2000). In fact, portraying African American women as jezebels, mammies and matriarchs helps to justify the continued oppression of black women in the United States (Collins 2000). These controlling images are designed to make racism, sexism, and poverty appear as a normal part of an African American woman’s life (Collins 2000). These stereotypes have followed African American women into the now and have an adverse effect on the way adolescent, as well as young women look at themselves. These stereotypes, particularly the matriarch and jezebel stereotype cause mistrust in the African American in-group especially with the men. Stereotyping also causes discrimination in the workplace, educational settings and by service providers (Thomas, Hacker, Hoxha 2011). Black women are also more likely to be picked on, lied about or sexually harassed (Thomas et al., 2011). These stereotypes also make black women feel bad about having normal emotions and feelings such as anger and sexual
Open Document