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Ceramic Uncles and Celluloid Mammies

Black Images and Their Influence on Culture
Patricia A. Turner

BUY Paper · 272 pp. · 6.13 × 9.25 · ISBN 9780813921556 · $21.50 · Nov 2002

Exploring white American popular culture of the past century and a half, Turner details subtle and not-so-subtle negative tropes and images of black people, from Uncle Tom and Aunt Jemima to jokes about Michael Jackson and Jesse Jackson. She feels that far too little has changed in terms of white stereotyping and its negative effects.


"Patricia Turner has produced a brilliant book marked by subtlety and grace. Her panoramic perspective of black popular culture, and the enabling and distorted uses to which it is put, is a tour de force of cultural criticism. Her book is a real treasure.

Michael Eric Dyson, author of Holler If You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur

"An unsettling, often amusing, and consistently penetrating look at the way that race and racism permeate our everyday lives through the images, stories, and material artifacts that saturate everyday life.

Herman Gray, author of Watching Race: Television and the Struggle for the Sign of Blackness

"In this wise, witty, and scholarly book, Patricia Turner investigates the history of anti-black images from racist material objects like black-faced cookie jars to stereotypes of blacks in the mass media, showing that it is a short psychic distance from Aunt Jemima to Driving Miss Daisy. But what I found most powerful in this text is Turner’s superb documentation of the strategies blacks have employed to counter such images.

Mary Helen Washington, editor of Black-Eyed Susans/Midnight Birds and Memory of Kin

About the Author(s): 

Patricia A. Turner, Professor of Rhetoric and Folklore in the Department of African American and African Studies at the University of California, Davis, is the author of I Heard It through the Grapevine: Rumor in African-American Culture and coauthor of Whispers on the Color Line: Rumor and Race in America.

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