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Popular American Culture Discussion

Popular American Culture Discussion

Popular American Culture Discussion

Question Description

Due Tues:

Pilgrim Chapter Four and Five- (Book is linked at the end of the page)

1. What do you make of the fact that “Most coon songs were written by white people, but some of the most racist versions were written by black people”? (98). Please refer to specific sections of the book, using summarizing, quoting, and paraphrasing, as well as in-text citations with page numbers.

2. Pilgrim writes that “In his early days [beginning in 1834] Zip Coon was portrayed as a stupid inferior, silly and easily dismissed but not dangerous. By the 1880s, shortly after Radical Reconstruction [a movement supporting civil rights for black Americans freed from slavery in 1865], Zip Coon and other coon-like characters were redefined as razor-wielding thugs. Through this representation, all black people, especially black men, were depicted as hard-partying, habitually violent social deviants. Zip Coon came to symbolize scary black people…” (97). What motivations were behind this shift from depicting black Americans as harmless, “stupid,” and “silly” in the years preceding and immediately following the Civil War, to portrayed black Americans as predatory and violent after the end of slavery, asAmericans began to push for civil rights? (Remember that the 15th Amendment gave black citizens the right to vote in 1870, but at many polling places whites chased black voters away with threats of violence.)

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