Every notice how black women in media tend to looped into a few basic stereotypes? Like get portrayed as the sassy friend who has an instant comeback for everything, or the over-sexualized woman who wants it all the time, or the helpful black maid. Well these stereotypes don’t come from nowhere. And on this episode of Decoded where they come from and explain why they need to be buried good and deep.
Let’s talk stereotypes!
Let’s see some non-white characters with personality!
Let’s examine racism in the media!
Seriously, I grew up in a predominantly white town, and even I know this is ridiculous. I ended up friends with some of the only black kids in my elementary school, and they had as unique personalities as any other kid you could meet–if not more so.
When I was teaching, my black students were actually the most interesting of my students. They had drive and personality, and they were ready to speak up and express their opinions–while the white students sat back and played with their pencils and couldn’t come up with even the most basic identity descriptors for themselves.
I’m pretty sure everyone has met more than one black person in their life, so why do we act like these stereotypes are the only types of black people that exist?
Stereotypes exist because the people they represent do exist. But that doesn’t mean the entire group is like that! Yes, a lot of black men like to play basketball. But do all of them? No! Don’t assume that he likes to play basketball just because he’s black and tall.
If you don’t know a lot about a group of people, do your research! Go people-watching. Ask some actual black people what their neighborhood’s culture is like. Think of the last black person you talked to. How would you describe them? Try to write a list of 5-10 things you observed about them–what they’re wearing, how they talk, what their personality is like.
Everyone is three-dimensional, okay?
And everybody lives a different life from you. Don’t take the easy way and start making assumptions.
Just take the time to get to know someone before you reduce them to a one-note sidekick.