Stereotyping in the Black Community

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Most teenagers and kids in the black community are thought to always listen to Rap music, watch TV shows where girls throw drinks in each other’s faces and have kids from the age of 13. I cannot count how many times that a child I was holding in a store was mistaken for my daughter or son. My 13-year-old little brother has even been mistaken as my son even though I am only 19. This type of stereotyping is what sets kids on the path to failure. They are raised to think that they have to act a particular way or they are not black. People in the black community make it seem as if your level of ‘blackness’ is defined by who you are. When in actuality, the color of your skin does not define you as a person.

I remember being in the seventh grade when one of my friends approached me and asked if I had heard of the latest boy band that was going by the name of One Direction. I responded with a simple no. She proceeded to pull out a poster that showed five guys standing in front of a sign that said One Direction. She began to explain to me that they were five guys from Britain who sang Pop music. I did not listen to Pop music at the time but I listened to them because they were cute. Something grew from me listening to their music that year. I began to like Pop music a lot more. I stopped listening to Rap and Hip-Hop altogether and everything about me began to change. I began to read fantasy fiction books and I even developed an obsession with Harry Potter novels. I fell in love with supernatural TV shows and it set me apart from my peers in a big way. I was made fun of and people would come at me saying that I wanted to be Caucasian because I did not succumb to the typical habits and hobbies of the average African American in today’s society.

It is seen as embarrassing to listen to music other than Rap or Hip-Hop in certain areas of the black community. According to Michael Smith-Grant at thedailybeast.com, “There’re many closeted black fans out there who will listen to K-Pop but when their friends come around, they’ll switch to Hip-Hop or something else. They’re afraid of being bashed for liking something that people don’t understand.” K-Pop is a genre of Korean Pop music. This goes to show that some black people do not feel as if they should even be themselves around other people. I am a victim of this as well. When I am in my car alone or with a very close friend, I will play Pop or Pop-Rock music. If someone else were to get into my car, then I will switch to a Hip-Hop station on the radio. I feel as if I am silently being judged if someone knows what type of music that I like to listen to because it is not what my peers typically listen to.

Some people may disagree that black people should feel ashamed for being different. They may feel as if black people should embrace who they are because everyone has their own way of thinking. Genius.com states, “Black subculture created Rock and Roll, with artists like Chuck Berry and then the demographic surrogate Elvis Presley acted as the gateway to a white audience. Dubstep even originates from Reggae. Pop music had artists like Michael Jackson and Boyz II Men from the 80’s.” That statement could make one proud to listen to different genres of music but it still does not change the fact that the black community discriminates against people who do not listen to Rap or Hip-Hop music.

These stereotypes are not healthy for the people in the black community who are different. They are often ostracized or bullied for being into things that are not like what everyone else is into. They sometimes may even feel as if they have to change to fit in which could lead to depression simply because they cannot be themselves. Even in the homes of these kids they still feel like outsiders. Their own family will talk about them in a derogatory way just because they like things that are mainly liked by the opposite race. Supporting each other, especially in the black community, can make a big difference.

KenShayla Nelson is a Freshman Broadcast/Mass Communications major from Greenville, Mississippi. She will be a contributor to The Campus Chronicle for the 2017-2018 school year.

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