Why were the Africans portrayed as caricatures in the movie Amistad (1997)?I barely even understand what this question is asking so please help.

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larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I can see how you would have problems with this, and my first impression is to ask your instructor to define caricatures. From the Webster definition, "deliberately exaggerated features to produce a comic or grotesque effect," I would say that the correct answer is that they were not caricatured at all. The movie provides a disturbing reenactment of the Middle Passage which is difficult to watch. The Africans were portrayed as typical Africans, not understanding the culture or the language of the country into which they had been forcibly delivered. Their response to the prayers of the Abolitionists was somewhat amusing, but certainly understandable, as they had no concept of Christianity. To state that they were caricatured at all is Euro-centric at best, racist at worst. Shame on anyone who suggests otherwise.