Presentation Outline: The Evolution of Blackface

Lexi had the opportunity to present to her college class this week and decided to talk about the Evolution of Blackface. Perfect timing, as we had just watched Spike Lee’s Bamboozled a few weeks prior, but this was going to be a particularly “interesting” topic before a majority white classroom. 

She has allowed me to repost her presentation outline (so it does not read like an essay) here on our site. Actually, that is the whole point that I’m teaching her, it is HER work! We write so many papers and do so much research for teachers or our employers, but it is our work, and something in us that we should share for our own purposes and not the benefit of others. 

I must also say CONGRATULATIONS to my girl. In one month, she graduates with her Associate’s degree right after clocking the odometer over to her 18th birthday.  Since she’s is going to be an English guru, hopefully she can edit dad’s sloppy grammar here on the site (and get him to write more) as well. 

 

Topic: The Evolution of Blackface

Specific Purpose: To Inform my COM 206 class on the evaluation of blackface.

Central Idea: Everyone believes that blackface ended in the 1980’s, but there are still many examples of its presence online and in the news. From its racial beginning, controversial middle, and still foreseeable future.

INTRODUCTION

Attention-getter: Lisa R. Pruitt looked at her 1985 yearbook she edited when she was an undergraduate at the University of Arkansas. She was looking to see if any of the students appeared in blackface. After everything that has been starting to surface from other people’s college years, Pruitt believed she would find some photos depicting the same thing. After some searching, she was surprised to see that there weren’t any, but wouldn’t be surprised if she would have some.

Relevance to audience: The controversy about blackface has been spreading in the news lately, and this issue is one that is important to understand. Not only to judge future politicians and clothing, but to understand history as a whole.

Preview of speech: So, I will give a quick overview of how blackface came to be, what was happening with college students in the 80s, and how it’s being used in the 21st century.

(Let’s first start with the quick history.)

BODY

  1. The history of blackface is a very controversial and hidden history.
    1. According to Eric Lott from the book Love & Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class writes that the minstrel show is a, “transparently racial curiosity, a form of leisure that, in inventing and ridiculing the slow-witted but irrepressible ‘plantation darky’”.
      1. Eric Lott continues to say that this was a way of conveniently rationalizing the oppression of black people.
      2. Movies like The Birth of a Nation is an example of blackface. In which white people put on blackface and then made black people look savage and animal like.
    2. The use of blackface dates back to minstrel shows in the mid-19th century
      1. Minstrel shows were the biggest form of entertainment in America before TV shows and movies. These shows often depicted falsehoods about black people to make them seem idiotic and stupid.
    3. After the 1980’s, blackface started to lose its value and instead was being ridiculed. Attitudes started to change about how African Americans are being depicted and whether or not it was right.

(Now that we know some history, let’s jump to the 80s. Where blackface flared until it died, our so we thought.)

  1. For blackface, the 1980’s had many white college students taking part in the practice. This is referred to as the “Great College-Yearbook Reckoning”, stated by Zipporah Osei in “The ‘Great College-Yearbook Reckoning’: Scholars Say Blackface Images Aren’t Outliers”.
    1. Lisa Pruitt also said, “that back then, she and her white classmates weren’t sensitized to the overt racism of blackface”.
    2. This article continues to explain how politicians wore blackface to parties and events during their college years.
      1. Hafsa Quraishi for NPR writes, “both the (Virginia) governor and the attorney general admitted to instances of dressing in blackface for parties in the 1980s”.
      2. Zipporah Osei continues to say that, “Mark Herring, Virginia’s Democratic attorney general, admitted that he too had donned blackface in the 1980s”.

(Now after this time period of college rebellion, we enter the 21st century. This is when we start to see another rise of blackface, but in a different form.)

  • There are still images of blackface being created today in the 21st century. What’s to say that it will end any time soon.
    1. The NPR article says that, “Back in 2000, when comedian Jimmy Kimmel was the host of The Man Show, he had a recurring skit in which he wore blackface to impersonate former Utah Jazz basketball player Karl Malone”.
      1. In this skit, he would mock Malone’s speech and intelligence while wearing full-body blackface.
        1. Jimmy Fallon also wore black face while portraying comedian Chris Rock in an episode of Saturday Night Live in 2000.
      2. This was being talked about so much that Spike Lee, a famous black director, made a movie called Bamboozled that was released in 2000.
        1. This movie touched on the reality of what would happen if minstrel shows were brought back today in the form of a television show. Not only did it talk about blackface, but it also touched on how black people can sell each the out.
      3. The Italian brand Gucci just got ridiculed for selling a black turtle necked sweater that included a red-lined cut out for costumers’ mouth.
        1. Other brands that had similar racist moments include Burberry with a hoodie that had a noose around it, and H&M with its ad controversy of a black boy wear a shirt that said, “coolest monkey in the jungle”.

CONCLUSION

Summary Statement: To conclude, blackface is still very much alive and well. Even though we think that no one uses blackface anymore; brands still release clothing that are blatantly racist. Famous comedians today also have put on blackface, yet they seem to be surprisingly quite during this blackface controversy toward the Virginia governor.

Audience Response Statement: Staying on top of this situation is important to understand how your century thinks. Will you still feel the same way you did when you shopped at Gucci before the sweater outrage, or will you know feel disgusted to own their products?

WOW Statement: We can’t get to a world of no racism, it is virtually impossible. But things as blatant as Gucci’s sweater can be resolved with a little common sense and understanding of history.

Eternity – A Poem By Reggie Reg

Doing some Spring Cleaning, I ran across something Reggie Reg wrote for me (i.e. class) back when he was around ten years old.

I have always been so proud of his biblical understanding on so many issues and the maturity he has in Christ. Now, as year 18 approaches, he must answer this question in a whole new way himself.

That said, I just had to share…

Eternity By Reggie_IMG_4725

 

The College Writing Series: Translating Your Evidence

Now that we have gone through the first step of the essay process (picking evidence), it’s time to analyze your evidence. As I’ve said in past posts, college writing is about creating your own insight, rather than writing about other individual’s insight (for example, writing a book report). Professors do not want a review of the reading, they want to know what you thought about it. Being able to present your thoughts in an organized, easy-to-understand manner will earn you the better grade.

“How do I go about analyzing my evidence,” you ask? In CEA format, there are three steps:

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The College Writing Series: How to Pick Great Evidence For Your Essays

A few weeks ago, I started the first true series of Teach Them Right, called The College Writing Series. My first post for the series gave a very brief overview of the format I will be using (CEA – Claim, Evidence, Analysis), and what to expect in future posts.

Now on my second post of this series, I would like to touch on the first step of writing a college-level essay in CEA format, picking evidence for your paragraph. By picking your evidence before doing anything else, you are able to form your argument based off of the evidence instead of picking evidence that fits your argument.

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The College Writing Series: An Overview of CEA Format

I’m happy to announce that I will be starting the first true series of Teach Them Right called The College Writing Series, aimed to assist you in teaching your child the basics of writing in college! In my last post, 7 Rules to Writing in College, I pointed out a few things that differentiate high school writing from college writing, so it is best to check out that post before reading this one.

In this new series, I’ll teach what is called CEA Format, and is essentially a method to help your body paragraph structure. CEA (which stands for Claim, Evidence, and Analysis) was taught to me in my first semester of the Early College Alliance, the college prep program I entered in the 10th grade. Over the past few years of writing for college professors, I have found that when I use CEA format my essays are generally complimented for their flow and logical progression, both of which are important for a reader. Now I use CEA in almost all of academic writing, sometimes even in short answer questions.

“So why should I use this format?”

CEA format is extremely helpful when it comes to organization of an essay.

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7 Rules to Writing in College

As the summer starts to wind down and supermarkets start their “Back to School” sales, that can only mean one thing… the start of a new school year.

Maybe you have a high schooler that you’re going to homeschool, and you’d like to prepare them for college. One of the biggest things that I had to learn is that high school writing is not the same as college writing. Usually, freshmen get slapped in the face because the same essays that were earning “A’s” in high school start to be labelled as “not really there yet” in college.

Here are a few rules that you can start using in your teaching to help your student prepare for college:

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