Our guest on Port Of Harlem Talk Radio on Thursday, August 5 was Dr. Ida Jones, Morgan State University archivist. The conversation, “Mammy’s Revenge?,” was partially based on film historian and author Donald Boogle’s book “Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films,” which he released in 1973.
In the book, Bogle describes a mammy figure as "representative of the all-Black woman, over-weight, middle-aged, and so dark, so thoroughly black, that it is preposterous even to suggest that she be a sex object. Instead, she was desexed."
We discussed how almost 50 years after the book's release, we see women who could fit this description to some degree gain power and use it, including Stacey Abrams. Jones asserts that the “mammy” like figures are often seen as a threat because they could disrupt the current distribution of wealth. Young agreed, but added “The spreading of the wealth is probably the biggest threat, but the visual threat to me is (their) seeing someone like Stacy take on a man who has great reverence for Confederate statues.”
Later in the show, we pivoted to how about six years ago many news outlets highlighted how job applicants with ethnic minority sounding names are less likely to be called for an interview. However, we now see women with such names in power and also using it, including Kamala Harris.
“He is saying that he cannot wrap his tongue around this oddity. So, he is going to make fun of the object when, if fact, his hands are too small to hold it.”
Young recalled how now former Senator David Perdue (D-GA), on video at a Donald Trump for President rally, pronounced Harris’s name as: “Kamala, or Kamala, Kamala-mala-mala, I don’t know,” with emphasis on various parts of her name. Young added, Perdue, who has a Master’s Degree from Georgia Institute of Technology, “seemed to take pride in being stupid.”