Essay On African Masks, What I Have Learned In English Essay
Outside reporters invariably focus on the issues of racism, sexuality, and alcohol. It is important that people not misunderstand this as a racial issue. Reversing social order and pretending to be someone else go much farther back than our immediate roots of racism in the south. Still today, Black Creoles frequently whiten their faces and the earliest illustrations of African and Caribbean carnival include Blacks in white face. Related to this is the fact that most older Cajun runners identify themselves with the sauvage, which is the Cajun French term for Native American. This is their version of l'homme sauvage or the wildman in European tradition. Evidence includes the traditional Cajun costume which from shoulder to ankle is clearly Native American and the many masks that bear a striking resemblance to illustrations of the wildman. Concerning alcohol, many people forget that Mardi Gras is based on rites of passage that have for centuries used mind-altering drugs which loosens inhibitions and allows participants to "play the other."
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Whites became associated with positive meanings such as superiority, safety, and cleanness while African Americans became associated with negative meanings such as sexual monsters, dangerous, and deviance.
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