Blackface minstrel shows in Vaudeville

http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=bobhope&fileName=hope41Apage.db&recNum=0

The performers were white, and they depicted black characters.

If white actors learned to imitate the mannerisms of blacks, would this cause any advantage to whites? Would it teach white populations to behave differently in response to black behavior?

And furthermore, archival footage from a century ago shows vaudeville acts, but I do not discern any racially relevant elements:

For some unknown reason, blackface acts and “Ethiopian Entertainers” are not fashionable in the modern USA.

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