Visual Encyclopedia

Stereotypes of African Americans

'' Stereotypes and generalizations about African Americans and their culture have evolved within American society dating back to the colonial years of settlement, particularly after slavery became a racial institution that was heritable. A comprehensive examination of the restrictions imposed upon African-Americans in the United States of America through culture is examined by art historian Guy C. McElroy in the catalog to the exhibit "Facing History: The Black Image in American Art 1710-1940." According to McElroy, the artistic convention of representing African-Americans as less than fully realized humans began with Justus Engelhardt Kühn's colonial era painting Henry Darnall III as a child]. Although Kühn's work existed "simultaneously with a radically different tradition in colonial America" as indicated by the work of portraitists such as Charles (or Carolus) Zechel, (see [1] and [http://artmuseum.princeton.edu/collections/objects/31157 Portrait of a Negro boy) the market demand for such work reflected the attitudes and economic status of their audience.

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We all experience the effects but we never fully realize the impact these stereotypes have on society. As a black teen in America, I am influenced by the many stereotypes in society today. These stereotypes definitley change the perspective from which people judge me espescially if they dont know me.

Contributed by Nanna Minaj

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