Please follow the files. What are some other cultural referents that are destructive and commonly used? What symbols do we find in our current culture to define ourselves in a positive way? MUST BE 500 words.
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Unflattering images of African Americans have been common in popular culture over the
past 150 years – for example, the pickaninny, Little Black Sambo, and Uncle Tom. Another is
Aunt Jemima, a domestic servant whose title of ‘aunt’ was a commonly used term of
subordination and familiarity for African American domestic servants, nannies, and maids.
Aunt Jemima is a caricatured jolly, fat character who has been used recently to sell
commercially prepared pancake mix. In the 1972 mixed-media piece ‘The Liberation of Aunt
Jemima,’ Betye Saar used three versions of Aunt Jemima to question and turn around such
images. The oldest version is the small image at the center, in which a cartooned Jemima
hitches up a squalling child on her hip. In the background, the modern version shows a
thinner Jemima with lighter skin, deemphasizing her Negroid features. The older one makes
Jemima a caricature, while the new one implies she is more attractive if she appears less
“The middle Jemima is the largest figure and the most emphasized. Her checked and
polka-dotted clothing is very bright and colorful. Her black skin makes her white eyes and
teeth look like dots and checks, too. This Jemima holds a rifle and pistol as well as a broom.
A black-power fist makes a strong silhouette shape in front of all the figures, introduing
militant power to the image. The idea of Aunt Jemima, in any of its forms, can no longer
seem innocuous. Saar enshrined these images in a shallow glass display box to make them
venerable. Symmetry and pattern are strong visual elements.”
What are some other cultural referents that are destructive and commonly used? What
symbols do we find in our current culture to define ourselves in a positive way? MUST BE
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