BLACK LIFE AS SUBJECT MATTER II
TITLE: “TOKENS OF SUPERIORITY” Series
by Robert Parkey III
Media: Color Photography
Size: 24″ x 30″ Framed
These two salt and pepper container images entitled "Tokens of Superiority", depict the Mammy and the Servants of the old South. Antique dealers would refer to this type of collectible as Black Americana. Some of these were very common in some American households.
These gross depictions of African Americans helped normalize racist beliefs in the minds of many Americans and the world. Like the infamous lawn jockey and the image of Aunt Jemima, to name a few. Such images played a small part of a greater narrative in the American psychological warfare against African Americans.
I would often find these Black Americana items in antique shops or thrift stores and not think too much about them. It wasn't until I saw a Mammy Salt and Pepper shaker in a local antique shop and noticed that there was a price tag around the neck of the figurines. I was immediately struck by the thought that in some ways, we are still for sale.
The psychological damage of these derogatory images are burned into the minds of all Americans and are reminders of a past that still exist with us today.
ROBERT PARKEY III