Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Stereotyping Black Men with Chicken

Today we are going to discuss chapter 2 of Williams-Forson's work, which deals with negative stereotypes of black men and their relationship with chicken. This chapter covers many facets, and I have included some material here that will supplement what we have read.

Ben Vareen played the role of "Chicken George" in the landmark 1977 television miniseries, Roots. This is a brief interview segment with Oprah that we can interpret in class together.

Williams-Forson also has a lot to say about Paul Laurence Dunbar's Work, Clorundy, Origin of the Cakewalk

If you haven't seen the movie Hollywood Shuffle, then you should. Here is a scene that we will watch together. Robert Townsend wanted to make a film about how Hollywood treated black actors. No studio would make it, so he paid for it on his credit cards. It's incredibly poignant and remains very relevant, though it came out in 1987. And another scene "Black Acting School."

We also have many opportunities to consider images - both drawn and photographic - as well as oral histories. Let's be sure to spend some time discussing the ways in which Williams-Forson interprets or "listens" to these sources.

Let's also consider the power of the stereotyping of black men in our own era: Just this weekend we saw a Ferguson reference in college football when an FSU fan held up a sign that read "Hands Up! Don't Spear." Ironically, they were in support of FSU's African American QB. Jaemis Wilson. While at the same time, Oklahoma State fans got on Jaemis Wilson for his stealing of crab legs last summer.

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