Racism has been around for many years and till this day it exists, a lot of the times African-American people are portrayed negatively in Hollywood films which effects the way people see African-American people. We humans tend to naturally prejudice any person we meet based on the stereotypes we know, these stereotypes are formed in the movies we watch which portrays African-American people to be dangerous, domestic workers, and not educated.
How African-Americans were treated in the past, how they are portrayed in films like the film “Get Out”, and how people treat them now has created stereotypes that we humans believe in and it created racism against African-Americans. Racism began in North America in the 1619 where Africans were sent to America and were involuntarily enslaved, slavery ended in 1863 after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation but racism has never ended.
African-Americans were still treated differently even after slavery ended, in the first half of the 20th century African-American women increasingly became domestic workers and it all started because of the prominent figure of the mammy also known as Mauma Mollie, the mammy figure arose durning the Reconstruction Era which was a time period after the American Civil War and the end of slavery.
The mammy is an African-American woman who was enslaved to work in a White American household, she was known for being loyal to the family and was happy to served them, “The image of the mammy becomes essential in the early 20th century to justify an unequal racial order in the South and as an apology for slavery, with its assumption that African Americans were content to serve white families” (The Historical Roots of American).
African-American women were not content to serve white families because it was not treated as real work, their duties consisted of cleaning the house, preparing meals, and taking care of their owner kids while not getting paid because it was assumed that the work they did was out of love and being framed by the white families that they were “one of family” and that they didn’t need to get paid for the work they did, unlike the mammy she was happy to serve the white family and saw the white family as her own and the children she nursed described her as a “second mother”.
Although the popular stereotype of the mammy was clear for many white Americans, the history of the African American domestic workers tells a different story, many African-Americans did not enjoy being domestic workers and they wanted people to recognize that it was labor and that they weren’t getting paid. The stereotype of the mammy has created this idea that African-American are supposed to work as domestic workers which impacted the way people see African-Americans and created this untrue stereotype now.
The stereotypes that are created in the past have given people the idea that all African-Americans should work as domestic workers and that created racism against African-American people. The stereotypes that were created in the past has impacted African-American greatly, because in the past African-American were put into slavery and were domestic workers it gave the idea of directors and producers that’s how they should portray African-American in Hollywood films which has made a big impact on the African-American community.
For example, in the movie “Get out” which is about a young African-American named Chris who is in a relationship with a white woman named Rose, their relationship starts getting serious which means it was time for Chris to meet Rose’s parents the Armitage’s, Rose’s mother is a psychiatrist who specializes in hypnosis while Rose’s father is neurosurgeon.
When Chris goes to visit the Armitage’s he notices that the family is surrounded by only African-American servants, which then soon he realizes that this family is hiding something and that he was going to become one of the servants. This film is produced by an African-American producer named Jordan Peele, he felt the need to produce a film that shows how racism still exists till this day since a lot of the films that are produced don’t clearly show the racism against African-Americans but do show the stereotypes of of African-Americans making people believe these stereotypes shown are true.
In the film “Get Out” African-Americans were hypnotized into being servants for the white family, they were turned into servants simply because of their race which clearly depicts the racism that happens in our world, because African-Americans worked as domestic workers and were slaves in the past it, some white people still believe that they should still be doing that no matter how much time has changed.
The producer was trying to show how racism still existed but in a unique way, which is in a horror movie and to raise awareness that these type of things actually happen. We often don’t see movies that talk about racism as much as we see how they are negatively portrayed through untrue stereotypes such as being in gang, not educated, domestic workers and etc.
These stereotypes are formed in the films we watch making us believe they are true, although stereotypes can be true sometimes for an individual but it not true for a whole group of people. The stereotypes shown in films creates untrue image of how we should treat African-Americans which leads to racism and makes people treat African-Americans unfairly.