The stereotype works because it is continually pronounced through repetition.
Griffith had a racist ideology and he is probably the reason for the longevity of minstrel stereotypes in American mass entertainment. Just as blackface implies the power of whiteness to construct and control blackness, so does Birth of a Nation's account of Reconstruction imply this same power: Whiteness controls blackness in the narrative and in the film's blackface form. Indeed, whiteness controls blackness even when blackness is out of control (hence the need for many African-American performers to apply burnt cork). The contradictory stereotype is the logic of white supremacy and the reason for the exclusion of blackness from self-representation and from performance. The power of stereotypes seem to undermine themselves and the minstrelsy takes on a more sinister meaning as they are applied to blackface and are articulated in Birth of a Nation.
Spike Lee's Bamboozled takes up minstrelsy's place in the history of mass entertainment to see if anything can be done with blackface in the new millennium. Set in the near future, the film's narrative is a slightly exaggerated national television network digging up amusement industry history to reap huge profits in the twenty-first