Essays On Blackface Minstrelsy Essay On Rhetorical Devices
explores how fantastic performative relationships between animators and their minstrel creations modeled larger social and discursive formations in the United States, especially those perdurable racial fantasies that linked caricatures of African American bodies and behaviors to concepts of enthralled labor and its resistance to domination.The book is organized to reflect animation’s key trope of repetition; “the examination of cartoons encourages a repetitive mode of reading in which the same objects and practices are viewed from different vantage points, as different facets of the same object.” The chapters, then, are each thematically structured around an organizing perspective: performance, the labor of cartoon creation, the alteration and regulation of on- and off-screen space, and the implications of minstrelsy on racial formation.takes a “bad object”—in this case, blackface minstrelsy—and details its centrality to the rise of early American animation and, by extension, the development of the national film industry more broadly.
Comedian and writer Paul Mooney often says, “everybody wants to be black but nobody wants to be black.” To be sure, Mooney is known for provocative claims and bold language in his own standup and with his work with Richard Pryor, but this statement is not just a colorful play on words: it also describes the strange dance of desire and repulsion regarding blackness in the American cultural imagination.For more information, read Michigan Publishing's access and usage policy.Indeed, Taylor argued that the film’s racial politics held the key to its formal mastery, undercutting the often-taught position that Griffith’s technological achievements could be discussed in isolation from its objectionable representation of African Americans. “The Re-birth of the Aesthetic in Cinema” gave the field an accessible, concrete, and eminently teachable way to approach Griffith’s epic in all of its complexities without having to make excuses for or ignore key aspects of its significance.Sammond’s book does not lend itself to quantitative analysis, but it provides a necessary hermeneutic frame for those types of inquiries.Similarly, some readers might desire a more direct treatment of how contemporary audiences read blackface minstrelsy and its vestiges in cartoons, but that terrain has been well covered by scholars, and so Sammond can serve as a counterpoint.Moving beyond the familiar territory of blackface and minstrelsy, these essays present a fresh look at the history of African Americans and mass culture.With subjects ranging from representations of race in sheet music illustrations to African American interest in Haitian culture, Beyond Blackface recovers the history of forgotten or obscure cultural figures and shows how these historical actors played a role in the creation of American mass culture.It also gives the reader, perhaps more familiar with the history of animation than with minstrelsy, a primer in its forms and iterations.This ambition will make the Introduction useful for teaching subjects related to American racialized performance outside of animation per se, and especially for understanding contemporary iterations of blackface performance and their sheen of irony. While the relationship between blackface minstrelsy and humor permeates the whole book, Sammond gives it special focus in the conclusion.” Of course in the Trump era, any pretenses of postracialism have been proved laughable; it was a concept that was met with a stern side eye by most Americans attuned to entrenched racism, but it now seems quaint to think it was once celebrated as an achievement, as if the arc of racialized hierarchies that birthed blackface minstrelsy had found its resolution in the election of Barak Obama (who, notably, had his share of blackface imitators).Sammond asserts that in these instances of blackface minstrelsy, “we witness iterations of an anxious and mutually constitutive process through which whiteness leans heavily on a fantastic and hyper-genuine blackness for its paradoxically inauthentic superiority.” The question of how to read the persistence of blackface minstrelsy in the Trump era is an open one; if Sammond lacks a clear answer, he nonetheless provides the tools to approach such a question, noting that the very premise of “a shared investment in fantastic blackness as a liberatory force in democratic capitalist America, In these ways, Sammond’s study will prove generative not only for scholars of race or of animation but for anyone approaching subjects ancillary to his main focus, whether that is media industry or audience reception.