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Raising the profile of racial stereotypes in image banks: the persistence of Jezebel, Mammy and Sapphire colonial patterns for black women


This Paper presents an exploratory study of image banks, specifically Getty Images and Shutterstock, analyzing whether their tagging processes reveal algorithmic forms of reproducing colonial mentalities about black women. From Patricia Hill Collins’ concept of “controlling images,” Jezebel, Mammy, and Sapphire images were examined, understanding that these stereotypes of black female subjectivity underscore narratives of subordination, exploitation, and animalization in the service of coloniality. While the results show specificities, primarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we found that algorithmic coloniality becomes apparent in these banks, which frequently tag the images of black women under colonial representation standards of labor, sexuality, and aggressiveness.

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