Author: Jan Nederveen Pieterse
Summary: “White on Black” is a history of the development of stereotypes of black people in Europe and America from the late 18th century. Its purpose is to show the pervasiveness of prejudice against Blacks throughout the Western world as expressed in stock-in-trade racist imagery and pariah caricatures. Its effects, using a range of powerful illustrations, is to tease out the hidden assumptions of even those who view themselves as unprejudiced.
The book looks chronologically at “Europe’s Africa”, from medieval perceptions, through slavery and abolition to the explorers, settlers and missionaries of the colonial period. It also examines the persistence of stereotypical representations in the multicultural societies of today, and in their relations with Africa. Jan Nederveen Pieterse reveals the key images by which Blacks have been depicted in the West – as servants, entertainers, and athletes, and as popular types such as Sambo and Uncle Tom in the US, Golliwog in Britain, Bamboula in France and Black Peter in the Netherlands. He looks at conventional portrayals of Blacks in the nursery, in the area of sexuality, in commerce and advertising and analyzes the conceptual roots of the stereotypes. Integral to the text are 150 black-and-white and 40 colour illustrations, selected from a collection of negrophilia from around the world. They depict engravings and lithographs, books and newspaper illustrations, advertisements, toothpaste cartons, chocolate, coffee and cigarette wrappings, biscuit tins, trinkets, dolls, posters and comic strips. The impact of the images, many familiar from everyday life, raises questions about the expression of power within popular culture, and the force of caricature, humour and parody as instruments of oppression. – Source: Amazon.com