Saying "howdy" to the modern day minstrel: why the hillbilly character is a double-standard
Peck, Jonathon B.
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Blackface, in which white actors applied black greasepaint and portrayed an often unflattering stereotype of black people, is taboo in modern times. In media there exists stage shows which portray white hillbillies in an equally unflattering light. Actors wear absurd costumes and portray hill people as “dumb hillbilly” stereotypes. The portrayals found in these characters can be equated to blackface portrayals in terms of cultural insensitivity. However, there seems to be no stigma attached to these characters, while blackface is nothing short of forbidden in today’s society. I propose that the taboo attached to blackface, without also being associated with the hillbilly portrayal, is a double-standard and I will proceed to ask why it is not widely viewed this way. The objective of the paper is not necessarily to put an end to hillbilly performances, but to make the viewer question why this is acceptable.