“Ten Little Niggers”: The Making of a Black Man’s Consciousness

“Ten Little Niggers”: The Making of a Black Man’s Consciousness

Tiffany M.B. Anderson
The Ohio State University

Abstract:

During Reconstruction in the 1860s, the proud Confederate states found themselves in a place of subordination.  Forced to concede their free slave labor, the former citizens of the Confederacy refused to fold their ideology of the inferiority of the freed slaves.  A “comic” song titled “Ten Little Niggers” circulated through the United States in Minstrel shows and children’s nursery rhyme books in keeping with this ideology.

This paper explores how the ballad shapes social and cultural race consciousness. While the purpose of its widespread popularity was to refute the competency and human qualities of the black freedmen to white audiences, the ultimate legacy that the rhyme leaves behind is the mental conditioning of following generations of black males. The white population who circulated the song intended to define the black freedmen as barbaric and ignorant, yet the song also connected the white-constructed definition of ‘nigger’ to the black man’s consciousness. Continue reading ““Ten Little Niggers”: The Making of a Black Man’s Consciousness”

Edward M. Bruner. Culture on Tour: Ethnographies of Travel

Edward M. Bruner. Culture on Tour: Ethnographies of Travel. University of Chicago Press, 2004. 312 pages, 48 halftones. $62.50 cloth, $25.00 paper.

Tracy Musacchio
Knox College

Tourism has a profound effect not only on tourists but also on the cultures visited, as heritage is adapted to the demands of tourism and the historical narrative begins, even, to be reshaped. In this volume Edward M. Bruner, a noted field anthropologist, studies the phenomenon of cultural tourism. He focuses on touristic narratives and, in his words, “the difference between a touristic and an ethnographic sensibility” (1). Bruner’s interest in cultural tourism first developed when he served as a tour guide on a trip to Indonesia. His attempts to educate the group of travelers about the phenomenon of tourism and its interactions with local cultures (for example, that the “native” dance shows they were witnessing were actually modern performances created for the tourist industry) were thwarted by the trip’s coordinator, and he was effectively fired. Continue reading “Edward M. Bruner. Culture on Tour: Ethnographies of Travel”