Jezebel Investigates: The Mammy Caricature 


For Women’s History Month, Jezebel and The Root are partnering for JezeRoot, a series that focuses on women of color, domestic workers, and sex workers.

It’s no coincidence that the first black actor ever to win an Oscar—Hattie McDaniel, in 1940—was awarded by her white peers for playing a mammy. Nearly 80 years later, we still see black women in Hollywood cast as, and limited by, the racist caricature. In the video above, Dr. Kimberly Wallace-Sanders, author of Mammy: A Century of Race, Gender, and Southern Memory, explains America’s fixation on the stereotype, and charts the “mammification of the nation.”

Video Credits: Jennifer Perry, Zoe Stahl; Script Editor: Jordan Willard; Editor/Animator: Hope Sincere; Animator: Jacqui Robertson

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