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Black Like You: Blackface, Whiteface, Insult & Imitation in American Popular Culture

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  71 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
A refreshingly clearheaded and taboo-breaking look at race relations reveals that American culture is neither Black nor White nor Other, but a mix-a mongrel.

Black Like You is an erudite and entertaining exploration of race relations in American popular culture. Particularly compelling is Strausbaugh's eagerness to tackle blackface-a strange, often scandalous, and now tabo
Paperback, 384 pages
Published August 16th 2007 by TarcherPerigee (first published June 8th 2006)
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Aug 30, 2008 Antoinette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: culture
During the late 1800's and early 1900's minstrel shows mocking black life in the South were well attended and received rave reviews. Politicians, clergymen, and scholars filled the theaters each night to watch “darkies” make fools of themselves. Sometimes the most talented African American performers would appear in the shows, hoping to make a name for themselves. Dancing along with Caucasian men in Blackface, a style of makeup that made white people appear black and mocked black culture, they s ...more
Apr 09, 2009 Barbikat60 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly fascinating book about The African slave and Black American influence on American white culture and how the two cultures are intertwined. At first I was angry because of the racist aspect of how White America embraced Black Culture but then I got over it and realized that Blacks took as much from White culture as They did from Blacks. It reminds me of when I was a little girl and a Black soul singer did a cover of Hey Jude. When I heard the Beatles' version, I was highly indignant tha ...more
Feb 08, 2015 Robin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every once in a while, I find myself carrying around a book you don't want to have to explain on public transportation... If you are reading this review, I have to guess you are either on my friend list, or you are trying to suss out minstrel theater's trajectory from most popular American art form to national shame and taboo -- and how could that have taken so long?

John Strausbaugh tries to answer questions like these, drawing a larger picture of theatrical "ethnic caricatures" of all types, i
Sep 16, 2012 Zeo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is what I wrote about the book back when I read it, in classic no-capitals style:

this book was actually rather a disappointment. it is definitely information-rich, but at a certain point it becomes very clear that strausbaugh's conclusion is twofold: that creole culture is inherently superior to the cultures that the creole draws from, mainly due to being more interesting and more fun, and that humor through offensive caricature, despite the problems, is fine, fine, fine.

the problem with bo
May 31, 2007 Nahliah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any one interested in pop- culture and film studies
Overall it was good. Provided nice historical background for the minstrel show and cultural swapping in America. The author's argument is that the swapping of cultures is what makes American culture what it is. He also suggests that the minstrel show was the first form of pop culture in the United States and he subtley relates the early uses of minstrelsy to contemporary hip- hop. (Read for yourself I don't want to spoil it for you). He's goes a little too far by suggesting that because American ...more
Aug 15, 2008 Eric rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: advanced "race and class reading folks
Recommended to Eric by: Yo Momma
Came upon this at Powell's Books and it looked interesting

Update: O.K. I'm done with this little ditty and the intellectual dust still has not settled in my mind. At first I was offended at some gay white Jewish dude, (I’m thinking Jewish from his last name, not because he details a great history of "Black Face" culture. But because he basically calls all communities including the Black Community as being "politically correct", until I ended up agreeing with him for the most part. I still think
Rishaun Deveraux
Must read! Amazing look into the history of the U.S through the lens of entertainment.
Jan 09, 2008 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In short, this book is an exceptional history of what blackface and minstrelsy mean in relation to whether or not they are a racist attack or a genuine expression of love toward black people and our culture. It’s a complicated issue, and author John Strausbaugh sets the record straight with a cornucopia of verifiable facts and general info. No joke, this is the best history book I have read since I don’t don’t know when.
Charlie Rosenthal
Jan 21, 2014 Charlie Rosenthal rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
this book was not very good.
Oct 08, 2007 Seán rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A collection of things about minstrelsy you already knew about: Stephen Foster, Jewish minstrels, an inescapable past, a culture's recessive gene. Still and all, not too bad.

Only serious problem for me was Strausbaugh's need to inject his "Ain't multi-culturalism the silliest?" political bent into everything. Gratuitous, Johnny!
Aug 14, 2011 Greg rated it it was amazing
Everyone in America should read this book. I want to give it 6 stars but software prevents. Why are you still here? Go get this book.
Mark Cheathem
Jul 27, 2011 Mark Cheathem rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book. I've drawn extensively from it in discussing race and identity in my courses.
Jul 12, 2007 Rachelle is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
will start it tonight...i will update after i'm done.
Must be read with an anti-racist lens.
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