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Little Black Sambo Doll and Cultural Conformism
According to Douglas Cardinal, a member of the Canadian Blackfoot Tribe, “Chief Wahoo actively contributes to the mockery of American Indians” (Taylor). This “mockery” dehumanizes American Indians, hence additional isolating them from high society. The enhanced alienation minority groups face, along with full disregard of their concerns, leads them to dissociate from their roots in order conform to American culture and fit into society. This allegiance makes it possible for the dominant culture to really feel entitled and paternalistic more than minorities, which continually provides them a sense of approval to entirely ignore the issues of ethnic communities. The novel starts as the Narrator, is invited by the town’s scholarly white citizens to give a speech at the Battle Royal. Unbeknownst to him, the Narrator need to participate in the brawl ahead of delivering his speech. By coercing the eight black males to fight one particular yet another, the White’s are abusing them for absolutely nothing but pure entertainment. The ease with which the dominant culture is in a position to “Shake Sambo the dancing doll, shake him, you cannot break him” (431), emphasizes the social ladder gap in the South. Knowing they “cannot break him”, the white’s easily “Shake Sambo” by forcing the black males to fight for their amusement. Seeing the black neighborhood by way of the lens of their white-culturally formulated stereotypes and treating them as practically nothing but Sambo Dolls, the authoritative Southerner’s further separate the minority from American society.
The maltreatment the Battle Royal consists of, disrespects and dehumanizes the Narrator and his race, thus further complicating the climb up the social ladder towards hierarchy in American society. Similarly in today’s society, the most well-known representation of Native Americans is the Cleveland Indians’ mascot, Chief Wahoo. Lack of expertise with regards to American Indian culture, in addition to the graphic caricature that inaccurately represents them, makes it possible for Americans to simply ignore the reality that, “The use of racist mascots dehumanizes Native Americans, and thereby, tends to make it straightforward for society to ignore their concerns…It makes it possible for individuals to treat us as invisible” (Waldstein).This claim by Philip Yenyo, the Executive Director of the American Indian Movement of Ohio, demonstrates how classifying all American Indian’s into the ‘Wahoo’ caricature enables the dominant culture to sequester the ethnic group and their concerns. This straightforward, unconscious characterization leads American’s to disregard the people’s concerns, forcing Natives to identify significantly less with their own culture in exchange for getting heard and understood. In the novel, the Narrator attempts to distinguish himself away from his culture throughout his speech by withholding his correct feelings about society and only expressing what the White’s want to hear.“‘Social…Equality’ ‘What you just said!’ ‘Social duty, sir’ ‘You weren’t getting intelligent, were you, boy? You positive that about equality was a error? You had much better speak much more gradually so we can recognize. We mean to do correct by you, but you have got to know your location at all times’” (31). By retracting “equality” and replacing it with “responsibility” the Narrator is suppressing his beliefs so that the White’s will “do right by [him]”, and possibly even support him be recognized by other folks of higher society.Getting as influential as it is, the well-liked culture in America lures minorities outdoors of their cultivation and traditions — many of which have been passed down for generations — in exchange for getting accepted into society.
In Invisible Man, the Narrator’s undying belief, “‘If you’re white, you’re right’”(217) continually propels him away from his culture and family. The Narrator constantly strives to dodge his past in an attempt to keep away from societal isolation, usually refuting connections produced to his Southern or Black identities. For instance, the Narrator denies himself of a really enjoyable breakfast: “‘Pork chops, grits, one particular egg, hot biscuits and coffee!’” as an attempt to step away from his isolating African American identity and toward integration. As an alternative of accepting his culture via the pleasure of a delicious meal, the Narrator orders “‘orange juice, toast and coffee’”, then quickly states, “I [was] proud to have resisted the pork chop and grits. It was an act of discipline, a sign of the alter that was coming more than me” (178). So deeply influenced by the white dominant society, the Narrator believes his refusal of savory satisfaction is “an act of discipline”. “Disciplining” himself to reject his desires to achieve White toleration lets the Narrator think “a sign modify was coming more than [him]”. By disassociating from his culture the Narrator is increasingly ‘white-washing’ himself to be capable to really feel “a sign of change coming over [him]” that would assist him climb the social ladder. The continuous avoidance and subhuman therapy the Narrator is exposed to influences him to match the accepted traits of society. Native American’s right now are similarly discounted by the very same influential method, except alternatively of Sambo, American’s arrange the minority into the racial caricature Chief Wahoo. Lindsay Gibbs, a sports reporter whose focus is racism and protests, believes, “Chief Wahoo fosters disrespect of Native Americans” (Gibbs). Native Americans are viewed as nothing at all but a caricature which “fosters [American] disrespect” of the culture, allowing the majority to easily deride them. This dehumanization and dismissal of Native American’s and their issues leads a lot of to leave their culture in search of toleration. Philip Weeks, a retired professor of American Indian Research in the United States specially Ohio, states, “The myriad of problems facing [Native Americans] in urban America lead several to protest. Yet most other individuals did not agree, instead they chose to identify much less strongly as Indians. Frequently marrying non-Indians, they sought avenues by which to discover a house in, and the acceptance of, mainstream America” (Weeks). Suffering from neglect of their folks and their issues, several Native Americans decide on to “identify less strongly as Indians” in order to discover “avenues by which to discover a property in, and the acceptance of, mainstream America”. According to a US History on-line textbook some Native Americans in search of recognition replaced, “The core of individual identity — one’s name — to ‘AMERICANIZE’ the children” (40.d Life on the Reservations). By altering even “the core of individual identity” Native Americans “cho[o]se to identify less strongly as Indians” so as to “Americanize” themselves and further their integration into “mainstream America”. Present in the novel and today’s society, racial caricatures disrespect and dehumanize minority cultures, disallowing them to obtain social equality therefore sequestering the minority and subjecting them to step outdoors of their delicacy to try to attain societal amalgamation.
The ethnic communities’ strong and continually growing allegiance to American hierarchy further affirms the majority men and women of their “superiority”. This assurance of energy gives the majority a sense of entitlement, enabling them to treat the minority and their issues paternalistically. Although the Narrator does not initially realize it, the real purpose of the Brotherhood is not to further the rights of the Black Neighborhood, but to deceive them into thinking they are performing so. The Brotherhood was created to channel revolutionary energy from the frustrations of the Black’s who were failing to further themselves in the dominant White society. By hiring Black spokesmen such as the Narrator and Clifton into the group, the Brotherhood is misleading the black community and feeding them the false hope that they will aid them. In reality, and as articulated by Brother Jack, these so-referred to as leaders, “‘Were hired to talk’ ‘[And to] say absolutely nothing unless it is passed by the committee. Otherwise I recommend you hold saying the final point [you] were told.’” (470). Reminding the Narrator that he was only “hired to talk” and be a mouthpiece for the Brotherhood reassures Jack and the rest of the white committee members of their supremacy. This affirmed dominance enables them to authoritatively advise the Narrator to “say nothing at all unless it is passed by the committee” and to “keep saying the last issue you have been told”. The Brotherhood feels entitlement over the Narrator, because of his repeated die-hard devotion to the organization. This authorizes them to treat him in a paternalistic manner that repeatedly outcomes in his compliance. Reassurance of their comprehensive handle licenses the Brotherhood to ignore the Narrator’s growing unease concerning the politically failing Harlem district. Noticing the many political shortcomings in Harlem, which are causing intense inhibitions in the advancement of blacks, the Narrator asks Brother Hambro for approaches to revive hope and restore activism. Brother Hambro, a white leader, knows he is superior to the Narrator and his concerns, which makes it possible for him to simply veto the Narrator’s proposition. Hambro discloses to the Narrator, “[the Negroes] need to be brought along far more gradually. They can not be permitted to upset the tempo of the master plan’” (504). In this context, Hambro is employing his paternalistic power to prove the Brotherhood — the dominant culture — knows what is very best for Harlem. Stating, “they can not be permitted to upset the master plan” Hambro is upholding the present social ladder that grants him the entitlement to simply ignore the minority’s anxieties. This dispensation authorizes Hambro and all of the dominant white society to treat non-whites and their concerns with no considerably regard, which prevents them from acceptance.
These days, American society makes use of the overbearing influence of Key League Baseball to practice its paternalistic energy. By recognizing the distresses Native American’s have concerning Chief Wahoo and refusing to alter the Cleveland Indians’ mascot, the dominant white society “view[s] American Indians in a paternalistic manner evocative of damaging stereotypic imagery” as noted in a psychological study carried out by Alexander, Brewer, & Livingston in 2005 (Freng, Scott, and Cynthia Willis-Esqueda). Rob Manfred Jr, the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, has addressed issues posed by Native Americans stating, “I know that specific logo (Chief Wahoo) is offensive to some individuals. And all of us at Key League Baseball understand why. Logos are, even so, mainly a regional matter. The local club makes decisions about its logos. Fans get attached to logos. They become element of a team’s history. So it’s not as straightforward as coming to the conclusion and realizing that the logo is offensive to some segment” (Oz). Manfred acknowledges the concerns of the Native Americans when announcing, “I know that certain logo is offensive..and all of us comprehend why”, but then continuing his statement by saying, “logos are a regional matter…fans get attached to logos…so it’s not as straightforward as coming to the conclusion and realizing that the logo is offensive,” he is exploiting the influential manage the MLB withholds to excuse the lack of modify to the logo. Fully ignoring the effects of the racial caricature that disrespects and dehumanizes American Indians’, Manfred and American society believe it is their prerogative to act paternalistically more than the minority. Folks have travelled to America considering that its founding in search of new possibilities and a much better life. Though the United States prides itself on the principles of freedom and individuality, for minority groups, who do not match the requirements of American society, it is really challenging to be accepted. Their differences, exaggerated by racial caricatures, complicate their integration. For example, according to Charlene Teters — an activist for the National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media — “Chief Wahoo is Little Black Sambo, it is a single of the most blatantly racist logos in professional sports” (Blackhorse). Referring to “Chief Wahoo as the Tiny Black Sambo” Teters straight connects Invisible Man to today’s society, proving that though Ellison’s novel was written more than 50 years ago, the troubles the Narrator suffers by way of are nonetheless prevalent these days. Attempting to avoid these caricatures and the photos they behold, minorities abandon their cultures in order to conform to American society. This continual conformity leads the dominant culture to think they are superior, enabling them to ignore the subdominant group and their anxieties by treating them in a paternalistic manner that evokes their caricatures.
Type: Free Essay Example
Level: Law School
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