…the African-American daughter who wants to pass is drawn back into the body of her mammy. Women are what they are; men are what they do. Women, especially black women, are embodied; men transcend.
Just as white ethnic mobility requires black fixity, so men need women. Mammy allows the blackface Jew, the jazz singer, to move forward; she pulls the whiteface African-American back to her maternal roots.
Michael Rogin, “”Democracy and Burnt Cork”: The End of Blackface, the Beginning of Civil Rights,” Representations, No. 46 (1994): 1-34, 16.