The actions of the past cause discrimination and generational curses that hinders the full potential of colored people in America.
The Ethic Notions1 Film, a documentary of depriving African American qualities during the Antebellum period up to Civil Rights Movement. The film dates back to prehistoric events of African Americans being portray in the artistic industry. Comedy was a strong entertainment factor in this time period, as the character of Jim Crow imitated by TD Rice escalated in favoritism of many. TD Rice was a Caucasian performer who painted his face to play an African American. TD Rice’s imitations and roles gave the impression of slavery as a good thing. It portrayed that African Americans enjoy their plantation work, also known as their paradise place. Alternating the meaning of slavery as being an acceptable thing, this story hindered others stories that are not being equally exposed. Adichie2 , a Nigerian writer stated” The consequences of a single story are that it robs people of dignity; it emphasizes how we are different more then how we are similar.” And although TD Rice Portrays different acts, it revolved around the one story of African Americans.
Adichie defines that power is how the stories are told, who tells them, and how many stories are being told. The power of Caucasian stories reflects negative stories of African Americans. Post-Civil War stories of African Americans projected graphic images in which suggested Africans were not civilized and should return back into the slavery industry. The film, ‘Birth of a Nation’, refers African Americans as simple beasts, taking away all human attributes from African Americans. The film displayed aggressive African men sexualizing Caucasian women. Zip Coon, a comedian performer similar to TD Rice, was establish during the Civil Rights Movement. Coon mocked the notion of racial equality created more power and segregation among Caucasians and African Americans.
The stories created by Caucasian Americans were constructed through comedy, implying that African Americans were classified merely as jokes to Caucasians. The danger of these stories being told created many discriminations. The comedians disseminated racist images that cheated out Africans Americans’ true identity. The stereotypes were instilled into politics causing Africans to be viewed as inferior to Caucasian. Because of the devastating historical incident, African Americans are now discriminated against, inferior to Caucasians, and simply have an unfavorable aura around them.
Many people decided to not be aware of this situation or as African American business woman Mellody Hobson3 (07:30) would say, “Color Blind.” Hobson believes everyone should be “Color brave; proactively seeking conversation about racism and discrimination not because it’s the right thing to do but the smart thing to do.” In favor with Melody on the topic of this discussion, many people are uncomfortable on the subject as to not knowing how to bring about the conversation or being able to provide adequate word choices. However, if only one story of African American is told, it will allow inequality to be rectified in every occurrence. One might ask why African Americans continue with such ignorance, given their situation and the era of the event. One of many answer to this question is that this era provided a theatrical workforce out of poverty for most African Americans, which inevitably caused generational disadvantages. Similarly, it also created a continuation of prejudice and discrimination.
As an Asian American, I cannot truly understand and relate to the prejudice and discrimination against African Americans. In my opinion, people in the 21st century use the excuse of how there are greater problems that outweigh racism and choose to ignore the unpleasant topic. In the novel ‘Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in The Cafeteria?’ by Beverly Daniel Tatum PhD4, it compared cultural racism to the smog in the air. Depending on certain scenarios racism can be pointed out however in other cases it is not as clear. Being Color Brave is surely a challenge because not everyone can empathize with it in correct manner. Since racism dates back historically, the damages created cannot be undone but can be learned. If we are able to break down those barriers and tensions, we will soon realize that regardless of the difference in the pigment of our skin color, we are more similar than we think, in agreement with Adichie. A statement in Dr. Tatum’s novel, “We teach what we were taught,” the only possibility to break the racism barrier is to educate the younger generation about this matter. Therefore, they can notice and eliminate the problem and teach each younger generation soon enough it will become a ripple effect. Racism may never be completely resolve but it can definitely be change in so many ways.
1 Ethnic Notions. 1987. Accessed January 17, 2018. https://fod-infobase-com.librarylink.uncc.edu/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=149262&xtid=49775.
2 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “The Danger of a Single Story,” Ted Talk video, 16:21, July 2009, https://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story.
3Mellody Hobson, “Color blind or color brave?,” Ted Talk video, 13:04, March 2014, https://www.ted.com/talks/mellody_hobson_color_blind_or_color_brave.
4 Beverly Daniel Tatum. Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in The Cafeteria? (New York: Perseus Books, 1997),86-87.