A Letter To My Nephew Analysis

1971 Words8 Pages
America the free, land of opportunity--but only if you fit a specific mold. Slaves, especially women, were certainly not included. Even after their emancipation, African Americans struggled with exclusion, whether it be direct, indirect, political, social or other. James Baldwin, an African American man, contrasts the types of oppression he, and others, have faced in “A Letter to my Nephew” , drawing parallels from slavery to the discrimination of the 60’s. He explains how many think blacks must assimilate into “white” culture, but, in reality, it must be those who think that way who must escape from the mentality of needing to assimilate. In the case African American women, they confront backlash from not assimilating into the ideal “white…show more content…
Since the Civil Rights movement, activists have deemed underrepresentation the and malrepresentation of African American women in media a concern. A research report led by Joanna Schug, a professor with a Ph.D. in behavioural sciences, compiled data about six popular magazines. Her study concluded magazines underrepresented African Americans who were also “ more likely to be men” (Zagursky 14). The study itself is strictly about magazine, but the findings can be applied to other forms of media to some extent. Furthermore, the negative portrayal of African American women reinforces stereotypes in real life. A study from Texas Tech University showed other's views on African American were skewed after being exposed to negative black stereotypes through media. the reiteration of African American stereotypes (Punyanunt-Carter 244). For example, casting African American women to play the typical “angry black woman” stereotype reinforces the thought in Anglo-Americans that all black women present these characteristics. The negative view of African Americans by other ethnicities can be further proven in how, in a film, Anglo-Americans perceived Shaka Zulu as a “madman...hungry for blood” while African Americans themselves perceived the character as a, “historic Zulu,” with, “militaristic wit,” (Punyanunt-Carter 244). This piece of evidence shows the negative connotations perceived by non-blacks regarding African American portrayal in film. Furthermore, the presentation of fair skin as desirable and darker skin as not, as proven by the availability of skin-lightening products, damages the health of black women. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), skin lightening products containing large amounts of mercury are widely used by black women in Nigeria, resulting in kidney damage among other complications (“Mercury”). In
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