Talk to your kids about…
Eddie Murphy, Tyler Perry, and Martin Lawrence have all portrayed the obese African-American matriarch. Mel Watkins, the author of “On the Real Side: A History of African-American Comedy” justified these types of depictions in the Philadelphia Daily News by saying:
“There’s a humorous tradition about aggressive black women. It goes back to the 19th-century minstrel shows, even when the minstrel shows didn’t have black performers. They would do it in blackface ... It showed black women to be unattractive and the black man to be weak because he was controlled by his woman. It’s been part of Americana for a hundred years and will remain as such because nobody seems to be interested in getting rid of it.”
How do you feel about his observations? Do you feel this “tradition” is beneficial, just benign, or guilty of perpetuating a negative stereotype?