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Birth of An Industry: Blackface Minstrelsy and the Rise of American Animation

Nicholas Sammond, Author
Race, page 8 of 25


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Race, Page 225

Echoing minstrel characters such as Jim Crow in his dress, his makeup, and his gestural repertoire, Mickey Mouse is not like a minstrel, he is a minstrel.

The practice of chattel slavery was designed to render human being as animals. As part of that process of dehumanization, slaves were described as as animalistic, infantile, lazy, as embodiments of a "natural" racial hierarchy. Blackface minstrelsy celebrated the image of the plantation "darky" resisting the white civilization that demonized her/him, becoming a projection of racial anxiety and regulation made into a joke. 

Jim Crow Image Courtesy of the Library of Congress
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