On Monday, KATV reported, officials expected even more protests when they gave Bonner his pin.Blevins is the centerpiece for an article that delves into incidents around the country and explanation of how the minstrel tradition evolved and came to be viewed as ugly racial stereotyping.
But footage showed many in crowd wearing “I Stand With Ted Bonner” shirts instead.
“Now you see how many people actually stand with him,” one resident wrote on Facebook the next day. “And there is more than just the people . . . there tonight.”
These minstrel shows “presented the black character as being stupid, as being comical, as being basically a frivolous character,” cultural critic Mel Watkins told PBS. “Now, how that impacted upon society itself was that they embraced it. They loved it. This was what people had thought about blacks all along. So [that] characterization of blacks then reaffirmed what mainstream America had been thinking all along.”In retrospect, I think this fits with the Robert E. Lee Holiday discussion. Could "I Stand with Marse Robert" T-shirts be coming to the Capitol?
“Minstrelsy desensitized Americans to horrors of chattel slavery,” wrote Blair L.M. Kelley, an associate professor of history at North Carolina State University. “These performances were object lessons about the harmlessness of Southern slavery. By encouraging audiences to laugh, they showed bondage as an appropriate answer for the lazy, ignorant slave. Why worry about the abolition of slavery when black life looked so fun, silly, and carefree? Even the violence of enslavement just became part of the joke.”