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Black boys and black girls in comics : an affective and historical mapping of intertwined stereotypes

Book Contribution - Chapter

This chapter examines the representation of black boys and black girls in comics, with a strong focus on early comics from the late nineteenth century. It combines the study of gender with the study of racist representations. Weaving connections with related cultural products such as animation and childrenU+2019s literature, the chapter shows how racist stereotypes permeate representations of black children regardless of gender. Performative and persistent racist stereotypes such as the pickaninny transcend genders and coalesce the bodies of both black boys and black girls. Although black boys outnumber black girls in comics, they channel stereotypes that can be traced back to the visualization of Topsy, the slave girl in Harriet Beecher StoweU+2019s Uncle TomU+2019s Cabin. This chapter proposes the concept of soft hate in order to explain how denigrating imagery persists and serves as a conduit of racist sentiment even in contexts that would otherwise condemn such feelings.
Book: Routledge companion to gender and sexuality in comic book studies
Pages: 28 - 41
Publication year:2020