A Sambo Stereotype

Submitted by ub on
Sambo is a derogatory label for a person of African descent in the English language. Historically, it is a name in American English derived from a Spanish term for a person of African and Native American ancestry. After the Civil War, during the Jim Crow era and beyond, the term was used in conversation, print advertising and household items as a pejorative descriptor for Black people

The nomination by US Representative Dan Bishop (R-NC) of Byron Donalds (R-FL) as Speaker of the House is an insult.

It creates a particular racial dilemma for the democrats in the House of Representatives that has its roots in the Sambo Stereotype created by racist whites. Dan Bishop appeared this morning in “Morning Joe,” with a smug smile, detailing exactly why Byron Donalds (R-FL) could become the best-ever Speaker of the House if not opposed by the Democrats. In fact, he blames the Democrats for shying away from “electing the first Black Speaker if Democrats had voted for [Donald]s.” He supports, and answers Joe, with what appears to be a tongue-in-cheek retort, “ if you ask me who I’d name as an ultimate candidate …. I’m supporting a candidate … that’s Byron Donald.”


According to Laura Green of Virginia Commonwealth University, “‘Stereotypes are "cognitive structures that contain the perceiver's knowledge, beliefs, and expectations about human groups" (Peffley et al., 1997, p. 31). These cognitive constructs are often created out of a kernel of truth and then distorted beyond reality (Hoffmann, 1986). Racial stereotypes are constructed beliefs that all members of the same race share given characteristics. These attributed characteristics are usually negative (Jewell, 1993).’”

Interestingly enough, this type of open, ironic dialogue is also the best counterpoint of why Republicans, such as Ron De Santis, want to stop “Woke Culture.” Bishop also emphasizes during the interview, conducted by Joe and Mika,  that a Democratic member of Congress tweeted that Byron Donalds “was a prop.” And indeed He is! The member of Congress who tweeted that terse comment is well aware of Sambo Stereotypes. I have to wonder if Rep. Donalds is.

According to Laura Green of Virginia Commonwealth University in her online article, “Negative Racial Stereotypes and Their Effect on Attitudes Toward African Americans,” this stereotype “flourished during the reign of slavery in the United States. In fact, the notion of the "happy slave" is the core of the Sambo caricature. White slave owners molded African-American males, as a whole, into this image of a jolly, overgrown child who was happy to serve his master.” If indeed Byron Donalds is able to resolve with a magic wand all of America’s problems as Speaker of the House —such as racism, corruption,  immigration, the unbalanced environment, domestic terrorism, violence in our schools and culture, and the threat of war with Russia, to name a few of our problems— he indeed should become the next Speaker.

After all, the Sambo Stereotype, according to Greene, is endemic to “music titles and lyrics, folk sayings, literature, children's stories and games, postcards, restaurant names and menus, and thousands of artifacts (Goings, 1994).” Why not also have him appear as the Republican’s  “prop” in the House of Representatives? I strongly recommend that everyone read Professor Green’s article mentioned above to understand why Rep. Dan Bishop has nominated Rep. Byron White (R-FL), a recently elected member whose knowledge of the House leaves a lot to be desired, to be the next Speaker of the House. Byron Donalds comes across as a happy human being who doesn’t seem to be aware of the coming maelstrom created by his fellow Republicans. If he were, he would change parties immediately.

By: The Professor

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