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litofaframeslavertopicB - Jason B Neuenschwander Literature...

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Jason B. Neuenschwander Literature of American Slavery Topic B: Number 3 – Examining the Racial Legacy in the 20 th and 21 st Centuries. The Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self- evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (USHistory.org). No one will deny that during the formation of American history, African-Americans were considered far from equals to Whites; in fact, they were looked on as sub-human, as property. Revolutionary thinker and abolitionist David Walker said of the plight of African-Americans in his “Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World”, “We… are the most degraded, wretched, and abject set of beings that ever lived since the world began…” (Walker 21). In order to put Blacks down even further, certain racial typologies, imagery, and symbols began emerging. These typologies accomplished several goals, among them to degrade the African’s already decimated social status, to present a fictionalized and glamorous portrayal of slavery to the ignorant public, and to permanently damage the Black man’s opinion of himself and his people. Things have changed since David Walker wrote his appeal in 1830; yet the effects of racially caricaturized imagery continue into the 21 st century, and in some cases, have survived with the help of the African-American community. While for the most part the original racist caricatures and imagery have faded into obscurity, both white and black people have contributed to new racist notions and marks of segregation today, most notably in the forms of stereotypes of Blacks
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based on physical presentation, media (i.e. films, TV), and language. Physical imagery and appearance have separated White people and Black people ever since the first Africans were brought to America. Racial typologies, as examined in the film Ethnic Notions: Black People in White Minds , have been heavily impacted by physical appearance (Ethnic Notions). The Brute
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litofaframeslavertopicB - Jason B Neuenschwander Literature...

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