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

Nicholas Sammond, Author
Race, page 16 of 25


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Race, Page 245

Predating and participating in a larger set of practices of ethnic stereotyping in early animation, an ad for Larkin Soap from 1881 depicts Irish immigrants as finely dressed apes, in a style reminiscent of Zip Coon.

Using an economy of line, animators often relied on stereotypes to reliably sell a gag. A stereotype was easily legible within the brief span of a cartoon short. The stereotype is itself a commodity fetish, conveniently packaging social and cultural relations into a condensed fantasy.
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