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The Walter White Project

Randy Stakeman, Jackson Stakeman, Authors

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Gone With the Wind 1939

The "Mammy" stereotype is another one that came out of a nostalgic look by white southerners at golden age of slavery. Marlon Riggs' Ethnic Notions shows a scene from a 1934 film. Hattie McDaniel seemed to specialize in these roles. In "Gone With The Wind" she gives a performance of the "Mammy" that won an Academy Award. The first Academy Award given to an African American performer is for the best performance of a racial stereotype. She is the perfect counterpoint to Scarlett O'Hara. She is practical where Scarlett is frivolous, non sexual when Scarlett is sexual; responsible while Scarlett is irresponsible; lives for others while Scarlett is the supreme narcissist. In short Scarlett's southern lady is only possible because of Mammy.
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