The Portrayal Of The African American Woman Essay

The Portrayal Of The African American Woman Essay

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In South to a Very Old Place, Murray travels down South to get a feel for what is really going on down there for the North, through Harper’s Magazine. As he travels down and through, and converses with fellow writers, journalists, and even some family, the novel turns into a commentary on Southern Blackness, Southern Whiteness, Northern Blackness, Northern Whiteness, and the self bullshitting snobbishness of it all, a trait that could arguably be used in today’s society.

One of the most apparent forms of self bullshit snobbishness discussed in the book is the portrayal of the African American woman, as well as the African American man, better known in the novel as “Uncle Remus” and “Aunt Hagar.”

Aunt Hagar was a wonderful woman. She took care of the White children, many times even nursing them. She taught the children right from wrong, she cooked, she cleaned, and still took care of the children’s mother. During slavery, she did all of this for free. In fact historically, the “mammy” caricature was always drawn smling as they were “happy” to be enslaved. After slavery, she did it for a very little amount of money. Aunt Hagar raised children, and those children’s children, but was still not good enough to be considered a person in societal terms. In fact, outside of Aunt Hagar and her “mammyness,” the Black woman is almost nonexistent in the society during this time. How is it that many White people, even ones as talented as William Faulkner all of the way into the 1960’s attribute their upstanding characters to the lessons taught to them by their Black mammies, their Aunt Hagars, but still do not recognize that person as an upstanding character? To go so far as to feel entitled to a mammy, and feel that she is there to love o...


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...avery, the Jim Crown Era, and even during the Civil Rights movement. Today, it can kind of fear never went away, and that is why African American men are being shot even when they haven’t done anything that warrants death. This can be further examined in the cases of Trayvon Martin, a young 17-year-old boy shot in 2012 simply for walking around a neighborhood with his hoodie on, an Arizona tea, and a bag of Skittles, or even in the case of Alton Sterling, a Black man shot in his car in front of his girlfriend and child when he was not even the one that was pulled over. It is this type of fear, this that Murray explains is present in his time, and the time before that. It can be seen as a part of culture in authors such as Faulkner, or in movies during the present day like Fruitvale Station. Today, many call it cognitive dissonance, Murray just called it bullshit.

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