Black Stereotypes In Advertising

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Images of black icons and non-white racial groups have always been used in advertising in the United States, even prior to the Great Migration, in which millions of African Americans moved from the South to the North. The archetypes used in these various advertisements have went on to become cultural icons, and a prominent example of that is Aunt Jemima, the first black character ever used as trademark for a consumer good. The use of these images is part of the minstrelsy impulse prevalent in American culture, which combined with the progress of mass consumerism and advertising pushed stereotyped images of minorities into American popular culture. This combination of mass consumerism and minstrelsy was prominently displayed in the 1893 Chicago World Fair. There is a common misconception that companies used images of minorities as they were marketing these products to that demographic, and while that may be the case in later use of black imagery in advertising, at the beginning, advertising was mainly targeted at the white middle class. It was perceived at the beginning that only white people had the economic power to purchase various consumer goods, safe for a few black middle-class people (Corey, Lecture). Aside from black people, other ethnic minorities were also used to promote different products, such as the use of Chinese-American images to sell laundry products, which follows the stereotype that most, if not all Chinese people worked as launderers (Corey, Lecture).
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