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The Impact of Racialization

Autor:   •  May 8, 2018  •  1,021 Words (5 Pages)  •  108 Views

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Her purpose is to serve and to love, and following the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the vast majority of any American literature or cinema with concern to the slavery or reconstruction era will include an “Aunt Chloe.” This single dynamic of female slave behavior becomes an ideal so prevalent within American history, that Oprah Winfrey, one of America’s most influential African American women, will portray an Aunt Chloe. In recent years Hollywood has been under attack for being too white, for providing roles with little diversity and substance. This example, one of the most influential black women in America orchestrating this single prominent narrative of female behavior during the slavery era, supports that attack.

The introduction of Topsy, a young slave void of any education, does not offer any exception to the theme of behavioral restraint embedded within Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Topsy is deemed a mischievous, clever child who hasn’t been raised with any moral or intellectual grounding. Although St. Clare buys Topsy out of guilt, what he does with her is unfair in its own way, as he gives her to Miss Ophelia as a gift, to train and instruct. This portrayal, along with the image of Topsy compared to Eva, is the most last lasting image of unfair stereotyping.

While Eva was portrayed as pure, modest and very white, Topsy was represented as rough, improper and very black. This vast perception of white and black children is another example of division among racial lines. Even today, black children are not regarded as initially equal or angelic as their white counterparts. The stereotype of Topsy implies an inevitable personality among black children: they will be uneducated, unhelpful, and inherently unequal. For the next century, this scrutiny will partake in decisions pertaining to the funding of black schools and police patrol of black children and neighborhoods. Why financially fund a minority that is inherently less intelligent? Why not patrol a neighborhood more diligently if we are certain these children of color are inherently dangerous?

Despite Stowe’s desire to portray slavery as a powerful scourge upon the country, her rhetoric and presentation of stereotypical black characters encouraged anti-black sentiment. In hindsight, the novel entails a plot of hope and triumph through the rare success of particular characters. However, the aftermath of fueling racist rhetoric offers a consequence of utter defeat. Was winning the battle, enough to lose the war?

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