Black Like You: Blackface, Whiteface, Insult & Imitation in American Popular Culture

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Penguin, 2007 - Political Science - 370 pages
10 Reviews
A refreshingly clearheaded and taboo-breaking look at race relations reveals that American culture is neither Black nor White nor Other, but a mix-a mongrel.

Black Like You is an erudite and entertaining exploration of race relations in American popular culture. Particularly compelling is Strausbaugh's eagerness to tackle blackface-a strange, often scandalous, and now taboo entertainment. Although blackface performance came to be denounced as purely racist mockery, and shamefacedly erased from most modern accounts of American cultural history, Black Like You shows that the impact of blackface on American culture was deep and long-lasting. Its influence can be seen in rock and hiphop; in vaudeville, Broadway, and gay drag performances; in Mark Twain and "gangsta lit"; in the earliest filmstrips and the 2004 movie White Chicks; on radio and television; in advertising and product marketing; and even in the way Americans speak.

Strausbaugh enlivens themes that are rarely discussed in public, let alone with such candor and vision:

- American culture neither conforms to knee-jerk racism nor to knee-jerk political correctness. It is neither Black nor White nor Other, but a mix-a mongrel.
- No history is best forgotten, however uncomfortable it may be to remember. The power of blackface to engender mortification and rage in Americans to this day is reason enough to examine what it tells us about our culture and ourselves. - Blackface is still alive. Its impact and descendants-including Black performers in "whiteface"-can be seen all around us today.

  

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Review: Black Like You: Blackface, Whiteface, Insult, and Imitation in American Popular Culture

User Review  - Rishaun Deveraux - Goodreads

Must read! Amazing look into the history of the US through the lens of entertainment. Read full review

Review: Black Like You: Blackface, Whiteface, Insult, and Imitation in American Popular Culture

User Review  - Charlie Rosenthal - Goodreads

this book was not very good. Read full review

Contents

Shirley Q Liquor flyer
2
Doing The Mammy
25
List of Illustrations xi
34
Africans at the St Louis Worlds Fair
49
BLACKFACE MINSTRELSY
57
Jim Crow
59
Zip Coon
79
YOU MAY BE A HAWAIIAN ON BROADWAY
99
Anonymous minstrel troupe
148
Topsy
164
Al Jolson
214
Pick n Pat
228
Shaft
256
NEGROBILIA
274
Aunt Jemima ads
277
Ax Me About Ebonics
291

Gortons Original New Orleans Minstrels poster
101
George Thatchers Greatest Minstrels poster
107
William H Wests Big Minstrel Jubilee poster
117
Scene from In Dahomey
139
Laughland cover
146
WIGGAZ NIGGAZ
313
Triolein the Paddies with Uncle Aglio e Oglio
333
Notes
347
Bibliography
363
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

John Strausbaugh, a regular contributor to The New York Times, is the author of Rock Til You Drop and E: Reflections on the Birth of the Elvis Faith. Said Kurt Andersen: "There's quick and lite cultural journalism; there's bitter and snarky journalism; and there's the joyless, preening, homeworky 'cultural studies' of the academy. And then there's John Strausbaugh, who unerringly gets it just right: smart and high-spirited, funny and openhearted, a subtle and companionable mind with a palpable zest for celebrating the good and slagging the bad." Strausbaugh lives in New York City.

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