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ColorBlind Magazine

WIN TER 2013 / TRAVEL & CULTURE

THE POTRAYAL +

BETRAYAL OF BLACK WOMEN

IN POP CULTURE By Erica Monet

I’m sure many of you are wondering how fashion and pop culture can be a part of history, let alone black history. Fashion and pop culture can teach you just as much about the ever changing world and society just by looking at it. These two topics are the cultural expression of our history. Like many of you, I feel that Black History Month should be more than 28 or 29 days in February. In today’s society, the younger generation needs to be properly educated on what our ancestors did for them to even be here. We are living in a world where social media is the focus and it is causing irreparable damage to the minds of the young. Young girls are very impressionable and have a tendency to emulate what they see, read, or hear. Black women have never had a great reputation in the eyes of America. African American women have always been criticized for their darker skin tones, coarse hair, voluptuous bodies, and full lips. Case in point consider, a 1943 seven minute cartoon aptly titled “Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarfs,” a blatant, stereotypical parody of “Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs” which was released by Warner Brothers Pictures in 1943. The portrayal of these characters is a hurtful example of dark iconography, or blackface, which at that time was accepted by this country. The leading lady is “So White” and the differences between her and “Snow White” shows how black women were viewed back then. Snow White is seen wearing a short skirt and a low-cut, cleavage baring top, a far cry from the “fairest of them all.” Snow White has always been seen as an angelic being, so beautiful that the animals just flock to her. But, even the evil queen is more beautifully presented than the cartoonish dark, big bone, big lipped queen in “Coal Black.” It is ever apparent that throughout history, society found another way to throw racism in cartoons. “Coal Black” is not the only racially charged cartoon that Warner Brothers produced. “Goldilocks and the Jivin Bears” and many Looney Tunes cartoons


ColorBlind Winter 2013