Thursday, February 22, 2007

Our Houses Are Musty?

Having spent a significant amount of time in and around the African-American community, let me say that this suburban, mostly white woman learned a lot. Many of my experiences were tremendously positive. I learned about life through another set of lens. I witnessed and understood compassion, and dignity, and celebration, and pride, and distinction. Language, inflection, expression, cadence...they all assumed new meaning. How small and ironically sheltered my world had been. How narrow.

But I didn't escape heartache. Or exclusion. Or stereotypes. On both sides, mind you. I was amazed at the ease with which many African American friends or acquaintances would insult whites or issue stereotypical edicts like they were undisputed truths. Thought I would share some that come to mind.

White people's houses are musty

White people smell like a wet dog

White women who date black men are uneducated, passive, submissive, and emotional

White women who date black men are fat

Black people do not sexually abuse their children (I swear...someone said this to me)

White mothers are overly indulgent with their children

White children are disrespectful of their parents

White people will always pay

White people get away with murder

White women are sexually passive (they just "lay there")

White women are "freaky"--they will "do more"

White people can't dance

White people love to swim

White people are uptight

White people are nice

White people either live in mansions or trailers the stereotypes that whites (people I actually know) have of black people:

They don't know how to manage money

They never tip

They buy expensive cars and and flashy clothes but live in dumps or subsidized housing

They will put 20" rims on a Toyota Corolla

Black women wear designer purses but can't pay the rent

Black women put on "airs" and are often overly formal

Black women don't like white women

All black people are really good dancers

Blacks are aggressive, discourteous drivers

Black men are dangerous

Most people in jail are black

All black people like rap

My personal Chicago favorite: If blacks move into your neighborhood, trouble and demise will surely follow


As with all stereotypes, they exist for a reason. There is an element of truth in many of them. Many are totally outrageous and bogus. While I think challenging stereotypes is always important, I applaud people like Chris Rock who aren't afraid to recognize politically incorrect truths. His bit about going to jail is hysterical: Here's a novel strategy for not being pulled over and being harassed by the police--FOLLOW THE LAW. Of course, he takes much heat for this. I read on a blog that some folks think Chris Rock doesn't like black people. BS. He just tells it like it is. Of course, there is the Black People Love Us website . A parody of how patronizing and desperately stupid white people can be in order to fit in and be "more black".

Anyway, there is my thought on race relations for the day. Ciao.

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