Nigger and Caricature Galleries

There is a direct and strong link between the word nigger and anti-black caricatures. Although nigger has been used to refer to any person of known African ancestry.2 it is usually directed against blacks who supposedly have certain negative characteristics. The Coon caricature, for example, portrays black men as lazy, ignorant, and obsessively self-indulgent; these are also traits historically represented by the word nigger. The Brute caricature depicts black men as angry, physically strong, animalistic, and prone to wanton violence. This depiction is also implied in the word nigger. The Tom and Mammy caricatures are often portrayed as kind, loving "friends" of whites. They are also presented as intellectually childlike, physically unattractive, and neglectful of their biological families. These latter traits have been associated with blacks, generally, and are implied in the word nigger. The word nigger was a shorthand way of saying that blacks possessed the moral, intellectual, social, and physical characteristics of the Coon, Brute, Tom, Mammy, and other racial caricatures.