Folklore as Racial Gospel Reflection

Just by reading the chapter title, “Folklore as Racial Gospel,” an entourage of examples of white supremacy and racial discrimination, within European church tradition/symbolism came to mind; such as the the representation of Bible characters, especially Jesus, as Aryan within artwork. 

The status of black men as “helpers” to their white counterparts is showed in the tradition of the Dutch Santa Claus, Sinterklass. They were also represented as the “bad guy” in cautionary tales for children––a bogeyman type figure. 

People of colour were depicted for their “entertainment” purposes in Eurocentric tradition. This is examined in family coat of arms of the Middle Ages, such as the Moore. The belittlement of blacks is also seen for entertainment purposes with the Gapers––both within the story and their representation. Within the story, they were assistants to the apothecary and meant to entertain, while the apothecary was with the patient. In it’s representation they’re also used as mere amusement, or comic relief, to the public. 


One thought on “Folklore as Racial Gospel Reflection

  1. Seeing these for the first time, I was shocked by the ways these are so obviously there in Amsterdam today, sticking out on buildings you pass by every day. Blakely also attends to their history over time, working to uncover their origins in more diverse treatments, which over time become detached from historical references and become mere stereotypes. I’m wondering how you would also apply Westermann’s frameworks–these are not “art” but are there ideas from Westermann that could help you reinterpret B’s ideas, or see the objects from a different angle, learning something else about how they work in the visual landscape?


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