The Portrayal Of African Americans

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Throughout the last century, the role that African Americans have played in films has changed drastically, and for the better. When black people first started acting in movies they were strictly relegated to playing the roles of pre-determined stereotypes of the black man. Not only were they forced to play the roles of insulting stereotypes, but also the only aspect that determined what role they would play was essentially their skin color. In a world today where we are taught that we are all equal and that color of skin is simply the product of where your people came from, your culture, and who your parents are. Throughout this research paper I will put forward the numerous stereotypes that are shown in the films that first used black…show more content…
In fact the people of the NAACP agreed, “"Black entertainers were not getting their due on regular awards shows," says Julian Bond, NAACP chairman emeritus and a civil rights activist. "We had to create our own."”1 In 1967 the NAACP created the NAACP Image Awards, “to recognize exceptional performances of people of color in the arts, the awards also were meant to point out the paucity of blacks in movies and television -- as well as at the Academy Awards and Emmys.”1 Even at the end of the article that was cited, the author references how the NAACP Awards and the film industry itself have evolved through time. African Americans in film have evolved strongly over the past several decades, at one point there was essentially only five roles a black person could play in a movie. All of those roles are considered negatively inspired stereotypes of the African American, and are relatively well known today among Blacks and Whites. The first and most likely the best known among the standard black movie stereotypes is the “Tom”. “Toms are always chased, harassed, hounded, flogged, enslaved, and insulted. They keep the faith never turn against their white masters and remain hearty, submissive, stoic, generous, selfless and oh-so-very kind. They endear themselves to white audiences as
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