1. ethnic groups
Hispanic and Latino Americans
Arabs and Muslims
West and Central Asians
2. Social groups
In centuries before and during the first half of the 20th century black people were often depicted as dumb, evil, lazy, poor, cannibalistic, smelly, uncivilized, un-Christian people. The early British colonists brought these ideas with them to the Americas, and their negative stereotypes persisted in the newly-formed United States, and other former British possessions, once the period of British colonialism ended. White colonists commonly believed that black people were inferior to white people. These thoughts helped to justify black slavery and the institution of many laws that continually condoned inhumane treatment and perpetuated to keep black people in a lower socioeconomic position.
Black people were usually depicted as slaves or servants, working in cane fields or carrying large piles of cotton. They were often portrayed as devout Christians going to church and singing gospel music. In manyvaudeville shows, minstrel acts, cartoons, comics and animated cartoons of this period they were depicted as sad, lazy, dim-witted characters with big lips who sing bluesy songs and are good dancers, but get excited when confronted with dice games, chickens or watermelons (examples: all the characters portrayed by Stepin Fetchit and black characters in cartoons like "Sunday Go to Meetin' Time" and "All This and Rabbit Stew").
A more joyful black image, yet still very stereotypical, was provided by eternally happy black characters like Uncle Tom, Uncle Remus and Louis Armstrong's equally joyous stage persona. Another popular stereotype from this era was the black who is scared of ghosts (and usually turns white out of fear). Butlers were sometimes portrayed as black (for example the butler in many Shirley Temple movies). Housemaids were usually depicted as black, heavy-set middle-aged women who dress in large skirts (examples of this type are Mammy Two-Shoes, Aunt Jemima, Beulah and more recently the title character of Big Momma's House). Children are often pick aninnies like Little Black Sambo and Golliwog. African American Vernacular English speech was also often used in comedy, like for instance in the show Amos 'n' Andy.
African black people were usually depicted as primitive, childlike, cannibalistic persons who live in tribes, carry spears, believe in witchcraft and worship their wizard. White colonists are depicted tricking them by selling junk in exchange for valuable things and/or scaring them with modern technology. A well-known example of this image is Tintin in the Congo. When white people are caught by African tribes they are usually put in a large, black cauldron so they can be cooked and eaten. Sometimes black Africans are depicted as pygmies with childlike behavior so that they can be ridiculed as being similar to children.
Even after slavery ended the intellectual capacity of Black people was still frequently questioned. Lewis Terman wrote in The Measurement of Intelligence in 1916:
"[Black and other ethnic minority children] are ineducable beyond the nearest rudiments of training. No amount of school instruction will ever make them intelligent voters or capable citizens in the sense of the world…their dullness seems to be racial, or at least inherent in the family stock from which they come…Children of this group should be segregated in special classes and be given instruction which is concrete and practical. They cannot master abstractions, but they can be made efficient workers…There is no possibility at present of convincing society that they should not be allowed to reproduce, although from a eugenic point of view they constitute a grave problem because of their unusual prolific breeding.)"
Since the 1960s the stereotypical image of black people has changed in some media. More positive depictions appeared where black people and African Americans are portrayed as great athletes and superb singers and dancers. In many films and television series since the 1970s black people are depicted as good natured, kind, honest and intelligent persons. Often they are the best friend of the white protagonist (examples: Miami Vice,Lethal Weapon, Magnum Force, Walker, Texas Ranger).
Some critics believed this political correctness led to another stereotypical image where black people are often depicted too positively. However those who boycott Political Correctness for its often hypercritical behavior, say that it’s only replacing one negative stereotype with another. Spike Lee popularized the term magical negro, deriding the archetype of the "super-duper magical negro" in 2001 while discussing films with students at Washington State University and at Yale University.
One media survey in 1989 showed that blacks were more likely than whites to be described in demeaning intellectual terms. Political activist and one-time presidential candidate Jesse Jackson said in 1985 that the news media portray blacks as less intelligent than we are. Film director Spike Lee explains that these images have negative impacts. "In my neighborhood, we looked up to athletes, guys who got the ladies, and intelligent people", and the images widely portrayed black Americans as living in inner-city areas, very low-income and under-educated than whites.
Even so-called positive images of Black people can lead to stereotypes about intelligence. In Darwin's Athletes: how sport has damaged Black America and preserved the myth of race, John Hoberman writes that the prominence of African American athletes encourages a de-emphasis on academic achievement in black communities.
In a 1997 study on racial stereotypes in sports, participants were shown a photograph of a white or a black basketball player. They then listened to a recorded radio broadcast of a basketball game. White photographs were rated as exhibiting significantly more intelligence in the way they played the game, even though the radio broadcast and target player represented by the photograph were the same throughout the trial. Several other authors have said that sports coverage that highlights 'natural black athleticism' has the effect of suggesting white superiority in other areas, such as intelligence.
Patricia J. Williams, writer for The Nation, said this of Jar Jar Binks, a character from the 1999 and 2002Star Wars films The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, respectively: "...intentionally or not, Jar Jar's pratfalls and high jinks borrow heavily from the genre of minstrelsy. Despite the amphibian get-up, his man child-like idiocy is imported directly from the days of Amos 'n' Andy." Many aspects of Jar Jar's character are believed to be highly reminiscent of the archetypes portrayed in blackface minstrelsy.
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