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Black Face in the Mirror

***The staff of the Jim Crow Museum receives dozens of letters and emails. Some of these communiques offer insight into race relations -- historically and in the present. While some are hateful, we have decided to share some of these letters and emails with our Internet visitors.***

Wow...I'm in a paroxysm of anger here; I can't explain this eloquently, but hopefully you'll understand. I am a teenage black girl who has to deal with embarrassing stereotypes and ignorance everyday. You know, it really infuriates me is the cliche "We've come a long way." That's very naive. The stereotypes of the past such as watermelon, toms, and mammies have been replaced with much worse stereotypes such as bucks, wanton jezebel sluts, "smoking' crack and rapine' bitches," etc. I think the bigger problem here is modern-day minstrelsy, and it's not being emphasized enough in your museum. And what's even worse is that these modern stereotypes are self-debasing ones that blacks bring upon themselves, and whites and black youth glorify this sh*t. It also imposes an inferiority complex on black youth. I have a great disdain for hip-hop and modern-day minstrel "coons" such as Snoop Dogg and Dave Chapelle, not because I hate my people, but for the complete opposite reason. And all of this so-called political correctness bullsh*t -- they'll waste all this effort censoring a blackface bunny in a Looney Tunes cartoon, but they'll regard these rap videos and degrading vulgar low comedy as acceptable? They ignore the real problems. Let me show you an excerpt of something my older brother wrote; he expresses my same views a lot better:

"Blacks used to be a brilliant, rich and special culture, impoverished or not. The Negro has made countless contributions to many fields like science and the arts, many unaccredited or plagiarized. Africa hasn't always been a cesspool of famine, AIDs, and poverty, but unfortunately it's been that way for a few hundred years. However, Black America has only been at an all-time low since the 1970s, with the increase of inner-city poverty that correlates with the superficial hip-hop culture that glorifies underachieving and all things detrimental to society. Fortunately there are still some black youth like me who still have our dignity. Don't judge all of us. Let's just hope hip-hop culture dies...I'll give it another 10 years. Hip-hop culture isn't the only catalyst. Affirmative Action is THE number one vicissitude that is restraining too many black peoples' intellect, willpower, and success. Do you think geniuses like Frederick Douglass and W.E.B. DuBois got to where they were with Affirmative Action and political correctness? I think not. Do you think I gained entry to a prestigious university by sitting on my arse, hoping my skin color would drag me through life? I had to WORK, just like our white brethren do. See a pattern here? An additional note to underachieving blacks: If you want to be treated equal, then you need to ACT equal. Respect goes both ways. Get off your ass and get a job. Focus on aggrandizing your IQ instead of your sneaker collection. It's no longer "whitey's" fault. It's YOURS. Bottom line: I agree there's still some oppression, but in this day and age, the black man's three worst enemies are:

This information may be pretty ironic to most of you. If you are offended, then you simply don't want to hear the truth.

However, this isn't supposed to be an aggressive verbal attack. I appreciate what you're doing with this museum. I think by educating people about the black man's plight in the past, they can have a more substantial understanding of modern problems by relating them.

-- Feb. 5, 2005