Analysis Of Marlon Riggs ' Emmy Winning Documentary, Ethnic Notions Essay

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Many works claim to understand and uncover the plight of the African American race, but through their art, they perpetuate even more stereotypes. The relationship and dynamic of the black family is one that has been played out and misconstrued for decades, as shown by in Marlon Riggs’ Emmy-winning documentary, Ethnic Notions. Often times the family of four or more have an all powerful mother who can control and help everything except her family, an absent or abusive father, a troubled or deceased son, and a daughter that is overlooked or abused. The continuation of these backwards depictions of the African American family has been plaguing the black community for years. This paper will uncover each of the negative archetypes placed on black family members (mother, father, son, daughter) based on stereotypes and racist ideologies from the past. In many of the films, the mother, not the absent minded son or absent father leads the household, so the ladies stereotypes will go first. The modern day work that best and worst displays the stereotype of the “black mammy” brought up in the film is the bestselling book turned critically acclaimed movie, The Help by Kathryn Stockett.
Despite its recognition for giving a voice to the unheard African American domestic workers, the multi-nominated book turned movie, The Help written by Kathryn Stockett, still perpetuates numerous stereotypes (Stockett). The book and movie pull characters that match into the black mammy, strong

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