The makes her be seen as unintelligent or

The pickaninny caricature came
about in history in the late 1800s into the twentieth century It is one of many
caricatures that came about that contributed to the ideologies, characteristics
and beliefs about the average African American person. The characteristics that
pickaninnies are widely known for having include bulging eyes, wide, red lips, and
unkempt hair (Padgett, n.d.). Pickaninnies
typically represented black children as being poorly dressed, ragged, dirty and
sometimes nude. These pickaninny caricatures were commonly seen being chased by
alligators. Most of the time, this caricature could be seen on postcards,
posters, advertisements, and more, most commonly being chased or eaten by said
alligators (Dr. David Pilgrim, 2000). This is one of the many
stereotypes that was regularly seen during the minstrel era which continues to
make appearances in today’s culture and media, including films and TV shows.

One example of a particular
character that resembles the pickaninny caricature is Suzanne “Crazy Eyes”
Warren from the hit TV show Orange Is the
New Black. Suzanne Warren’s character represents the pickaninny in a number
of ways. Although Suzanne is no longer a child and highly intelligent, she
takes on many physical characteristics of the pickaninny such as bulging eyes
(which is where she gets the nickname in the show as “Crazy eyes”), a wide mouth,
and unkempt and unruly hair. Along with these characteristics, she also has
some mental issues that give her a child-like perspective of everything in her
life throughout the show and makes her be seen as unintelligent or dumb,
whether it was showing her during her childhood itself or the time that she’s
in prison. Pickaninnies are also seen as being overly sexual for their age and Suzanne
expresses this in a very naïve and child-like way as she obsesses over another
fellow inmate, Piper, and her whiteness which through her eyes was her way of a
romantic fetish. Suzanne called Piper “Dandelion” as an endearment for this
romantic connection she thought they had.  Another example of how Suzanne resembles a
pickaninny is that she is targeted by a lot of the other inmates in the prison
that she resides for the way she looks, acts, and because of her personality ,
much like the alligators target the original pickaninny caricatures.

Orange
Is the New Black
happens to include a lot of characters that resemble and fulfill the roles of
various stereotypes when it comes to various caricatures and black women as a whole.
This show demonizes black women as well as bringing the racism surrounding white
media and colorful minstrels to light. There is also an instance Another
example of a caricature within Orange Is
the New Black, not necessarily pertaining to the pickaninny caricature, is
the character “Vee” who can be seen as a mean, harsh, and abusive mammy who
abuses and takes advantage of her children. Her character supported the
stereotype that most, if not all, black families were broken and sometimes
fatherless (Householder, 2016). Overall, this show
and the characters within it bring many racial stereotypes to the attention of
the public eye once again.

Another example of a character that
portrays the image and characteristics of this caricature would be Prissy from
the 1939 film Gone With the Wind. The
one characteristic about Prissy that draws the most attention and represents
her as being a pickaninny is her broken language and unrecognizable dialect (Eckford, 2010). She’s extremely
hard to understand when it comes to her speaking in the film and this
highlights the idea that she’s a pickaninny, or in other words seen as an
uneducated child and African American.

Throughout our nation’s history,
African Americans have always been followed by the stereotypes and beliefs
regarding their relation to violence, crime, and the Brute caricature.