Racist Stereotypes, A Collection of Images

comments 15
discrimination and hate / equality / human rights images / photography and journalism

It was and still is quite common to see non-whites depicted as dumb, evil, lazy, poor, cannibalistic, uncivilized and un-Christian savages with stuff sticking through their noses. Or as odd-looking servants, comical figures, dimwitted people scared of ghosts (and turning white out of fear). As overly joyous fools or overly sexual deviants, bare breasted, heavily hung or with fat buttocks. Such representations serve to signal, confirm and spread the conviction that blacks are inferior. This conviction in turn justifies all sorts of discrimination.

Very common is the caricature of funny looking big-lipped black folk:

big lips curly hair black stereotype

big lips black stereotype

The big lip stereotype is of course closely connected to the monkey stereotype:

negro and monkeys

And a monkey isn’t really that much different from a savage:

black savages eating whites at a jungle banquet

The text reads: “Just leave that cigar with me! Leave, go of it, you chimpanzee”. Most racial prejudices are present in this one: the big yellow eyes, big lips, funny hair, savage customs (cannibalism), leopard skin dress, beads etc. Surprisingly, the savages did manage to produce a professional looking banner announcing the banquet.

racist mickey

And just to show you that we’re not talking about ancient history:

obama as an african savage with a bone in his nose

(I think the original non-photoshopped image is actually of a South American Amazonian Indian, by the way)

The savage nature of blacks wasn’t believed to be limited to their jungle life and cannibalism. Often they were also depicted as being fond of bestiality:

black bestiality stereotype

It’s not just male blacks who are deemed to be sexually deviant. There’s also the stereotype of the oversexualized black female. Typical is the so-called Jezebel stereotype. The Jezebel, named after the Bible figure, is a loose woman who wants sex all of the time. Of course, the usual racist stereotypes are also included: big lips, funny hair…:

jezebel stereotype




Apart from the Jezebel stereotype, there’s also the Sapphire and the Mammy stereotype, both quite common. A Sapphire is an overbearing woman who, often holding her hands on her hips and talking all the time, bullies her man:

sapphire stereotype

The Mammy figure (also called the “Aunt Jemima stereotype”) is a domestic servant, good-natured, overweight, loud and a good cook, invariably wearing a headscarf:

aunt jemima mammy stereotype

Male blacks as well were often depicted as servants:

mr jiggs cartoon black servant stereotype

Rastus, the Cream of Wheat Cook

“Rastus,” the Cream of Wheat Cook, created in 1893 as a likable image to help sell packages of “breakfast porridge.” Rastus is marketed as a symbol of wholeness and stability. The toothy, well-dressed Black chef happily serves breakfast to a nation. The language that he uses is typically “simple”.

And then there’s the strange watermelon stereotype. The origin of the link between blacks and watermelons is unclear. Maybe it has something to do with slaves stealing food from the field:

watermelon stereotype


watermelon stereotype

Whatever the origin, the stereotype does serve to make them look stupid and childlike. And, of course, there’s the black athlete, again highly animalized:

black stereotype athlete


Other collections of racist images are here, here, here, here, here and here. The whole series of human rights images is here.


  1. Mark says

    I think it’s both a mistake and a misrepresentation to include R. Crumb’s “Angelfood McSpade” on this page. Crumb’s art is purposefully transgressive; the rest of this is not.

  2. Much as I appreciate Crumb, he is controversial and as such he’s not out of place here. Although it’s indeed important to distinguish him from the normal racist.

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  4. John West says

    Blacks are often portrayed as servants because early on … that is what large numbers of them were.

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  10. But Black people really DO look like that! They’ve got big thick lips, wide mouths, big tongues, broad flat noses, big flaring Gorilla nostrils, long arms, sloping foreheads. That’s what they look like. If that’s what they look like … what’s wrong with drawing them that way?

    • Jezabel says

      We are supposed to see people as we would like them to be,
      not as they are. Its called political correctness.
      You are right though, blacks are clearly not as evolved.

  11. I don’t think the point here is to encourage racism, but rather to TEACH. There is a history in these pictures that clearly stemmed from racism and in order to understand the pressures and “changing” images of the African American culture today, it is important to understand the history of these stereotypes.

    While black people might have some of these characteristics (full figured bodies and bigger lips), overdramatizing them and attributing them to the entire black community is unfair and bigoted. Furthermore, relating these characteristics to animalistic qualities is absurd and unobservant.

  12. RequiredName says

    Wow, before I could never imagine why any idiot would be racist since it’s dehumanizing and wrong, and now that you’ve illustrated it so clearly for us here, I guess I sort of understand?

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