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Bill Robinson dancing with Shirley Temple in ‘The Little Colonel.’ (20th Century Fox)

How ‘Uncle Tom’ still impacts racial politics

‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin,’ the best seller of the 19th century, is not a relic from the past. The complex Uncle Tom figure still has a hold over Black politics.
Many films that address race end up lulling audiences into complacency. TriStar Pictures

How popular culture hobbles protest movements

Books, movies and records that seem to challenge racism also subtly advance the idea that progress shouldn’t happen too quickly.
The historical depiction of ‘the mammy’ is a racist stereotype, with an enduring impact. Hattie McDaniel (right) won an Oscar for her role in ‘Gone with the Wind’ with Vivien Leigh (left). Selznick International Pictures

I am not your nice ‘Mammy’: How racist stereotypes still impact women

Stereotypes of Black women continue to impact how they are treated in institutions.
Demonstrating in Washington state, November 2015. David Ryder/Reuters

Syrian refugees: will American hearts and minds change?

Many groups have been labeled ‘enemy’ in the American past. A literary scholar looks at the role literature and philosophy have played in dispelling fears and shifting public attitudes.

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