Minstrelsy in the new millenium

America would like to think that it’s made a lot of progress in the last two centuries.  The land of the free and the home of the brave has abolished slavery, promoted universal suffrage, won wars in search of a freer world and even elected an African American president.  But one not so pleasant tradition has persisted throughout the years – minstrelsy.  Even though America promises racial democracy, minstrelsy continues to thrive in new forms, creating a gray space in regards to the racism of modern-day blackface.  Blackface minstrelsy began as shows intended to amuse white audiences.  Performers would “black up” their appearance and attitude in their caricatures of slaves and other African Americans.  While such blatant depictions are scarce in modern times, minstrelsy still prevails in subtle ways.

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