Addy de Leon
Kisha Quesada Turner
17 December 2018
Stereotypes and Racism: The Impact They Have on African Americans
Stereotypes are preconceived notions, especially about a group of people. Many of these stereotypes are racist, sexist and homophobic. Stereotypes can and do damage reputations of people and their cultural background, this is extremely prevalent in the African American community. Stereotypes and generalizations about African Americans and their culture have existed since colonial years, especially due to slavery. Overall, stereotypes affect African Americans greatly but do not only affect a single gender or age, but they also affect men, women, and children. Ultimately, causing social, mental, identity, and cultural damage to a person and their community.
Since stereotypes about African Americans have been around for quite some time, there are some historical phrases that are still alive today. This is true according to Laura Green, a graduate student from Virginia Commonwealth University. In her paper, “Negative Racial Stereotypes and Their Effect on Attitudes Toward African-Americans”, written for the Jim Crow Museum, states “The racial stereotypes of early American history had a significant role in shaping attitudes toward African-Americans during that time. Images of the Sambo, Jim Crow, the Savage, Mammy, Aunt Jemimah, Sapphire, and Jezebelle may not be as powerful today, yet they are still alive.” (Green). Another example of racist stereotypes of African Americans is the image, “Wm. H. West's Big Minstrel Jubilee (formerly of Primrose & West).” This image portrays a full length and head-and-shoulder, of Tom Lewis and Charles M. Ernest, in “costume”, but actually blackface. These two men were getting ready to perform a show, that uses stereotypes to make fun of African Americans, as entertainment for white people. Regardless of how old these stereotypes are, many of them are still used to this day, such as the Iowa 1st grade teacher, Megan Luloff, who wore blackface for Halloween as a “joke”. All of these examples show how racism and stereotypes still haunt African Americans and their communities after so many years of fighting to be equal.
Although it may seem unlikely to some, racism and stereotypes can affect children. According to research done by Dr. Priest and others, “... youth racism has been associated with a range of negative mental health outcomes, indicators of poor physical health including allostatic load, immune, inflammatory and chronic disease biomarkers, as well as social and cognitive development.” (Priest, et al. 2). What Dr. Priest and others are saying is that a child can only handle so much negativity in their life before “snapping”Many times the children who are exposed to these harsh words and environment, they suffer from mental conditions. Additionally, these children end up developing poor physical health, along with poor social and cognitive development. According to Priest, “This is...