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Mammy Stereotype

The Time magazine article of March 1923 is significant in a number of ways, as it addresses conflicting cultural sentiments about the role of African-American female caregivers and slavery in general. The first paragraph of the article describes how two thousand African American women protested the erection of a memorial commemorating the "Black Mammy of the South." The article states that the women protested in "dignified and quiet language." Significantly, the women took issue with the erection of the statue, as it was a "reminder that [they] come from a race of slaves."

In the second paragraph of the article, the tone shifts, as the author suggests that the initiators of the memorial will be offended by the "educated granddaughters'" unwillingness to accept this memorial. It becomes obvious from the author's choice of words that he/she disapproves of the protest. The second paragraph does not just emphasize that the "sentimentalists" intended to honor the "black mammy" but in this context, the words "educated granddaughters" and "snuffed" have ironic and condescending undertones, as if the protesting women were ungrateful and narrow-minded.

The purpose of the memorial was, as the text states for sentimental reasons. It is not unreasonable to assume that the Southern legislators who wanted to erect the memorial had good intentions, as for many of them the "black mammy" represented a person who has cared for them and for whom they might have had affectionate feelings. However, the erection of such a memorial has also racist undercurrents, as it is a cultural reference to a racist stereotype, namely the "black mammy" or "Aunt Jemima" stereotype (Roberts, 1994). It is not clear whether or not the legislators who initiated the erection of the memorial were aware of the offensive undertones of the Aunt Jemima stereotype. It is however clear that the women who protested the erection of the memorial saw the cultural tr...

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Mammy Stereotype. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 09:02, July 24, 2024, from