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African American Stereotypes Essay

A stereotype is a popular belief about specific types of individuals. Stereotypes are standardized and simplified conceptions of groups based on some prior assumptions. African Americans have been perceived to be someone they are not in the media, history, and in everyday life. Although some stereotypes are true, many are harmful and inaccurate. African American stereotypes are generalizations about the behavior of African Americans originated mainly in American culture and derived from how slave owners used to view slaves.

African American stereotypes allow someone from getting to know a person their self. If someone has one bad interaction with an African American, they will limit their selves from getting to know how African Americans truly are. They will base every other African American off of that one bad altercation. The most damaging features of African American stereotypes are the influence they have on young African Americans. Young people tend to limit them selves because of stereotypes. African Americans are unaware that they play into and help to reinforce the African American stereotype.

They believe that the African American stereotypes imposed upon them, will limit them in life. The stereotype that “African Americans will complain that the system is set up to prevent black people from attaining certain positions”, is very common. If they accept these stereotypes and believe them they will limit them selves. Barack Obama who holds the highest office in America is a good example of how this stereotype is false. Some stereotypes are set up to be positive, this does not make the practice of perpetuating these African American stereotypes right.

At A & N University students (African Americans and Caucasians) were asked to give some stereotypes of African Americans. The current African American stereotypes are thought to be criminal, poor, athletic, religious, musically gifted, loud, dumb, lazy, simple-minded, obnoxious, talk with slang, opinionated, and dress urban, wear baggy pants, and have cornrows. Kool Aid , Chicken, and watermelon was also thought to be a specialty meal in their household. They were thought to live in the lower class neighbor hoods, have one parent, multiple siblings, be rather street smart versus ook smart, involved in gangs.

When a group of African American children were asked in a local Baltimore elementary school what they wanted to become when they grow up they had many common answers. Many boys wanted to be a professional basketball player, football player, and become a rapper. Few wanted to be doctors, police officers, fire fighters, entrepreneurs, and nurses. Many African American males are thought to be thugs, drug dealers, high school dropouts, deadbeat fathers, janitors, trash man. A thug is someone who is going through struggles, has gone through struggles, and continues to live day by day with nothing for them. ” (Tupac Shakur)

No young man wants to grow up and become a thug. Tupac Shakur said that the African American trend of sagging pants is an un organized protest. The sagging pants is a part of someone attitude. It is their way to relate. It is a form of character. A young mans father may not sag his pants but, he may see his idol sagging his pants and want to relate to or admire him.

Morehouse professor Bryan T. Marks held a panel at Morehouse College about African American stereotypes. He said that there are more black men enrolled in jail rather than jail. He also stated that African Americans are the most religious, but most likely to get a divorce. There are more black men in jail and prison than in college, but there are more college-age black men in college than in jail and prison. Statistics show that there were an estimated 791,600 black men in jail and prison in 2000 and a count of 603,032 in college in 1999.

The more reliable U. S. Census Bureau reports were that 816,000 black men in college in 2000. When people think of black men in jail they use the entire age range of black males when making these comparisons. The age range for college-going males is generally 18 to 24, not the 18 to 55 (and up) range of the jail and prison population. Viewed this way, the ratio of black men in college compared with jail and prison is 4-to-1. Black slang is a form of informal spoken language whose origins are most often associated with African Americas.

Slang is a way for young African Americans to express themselves. Many other races copy their expressions because they think it is cool. Some commonly used terms are words such as; gangsta, bling, grills, hang, hood, benjamins, dopes, aight, holla, crib, playa, roll up, straight, yo, and shawty. The Stereotype that Black women have bad attitudes is very common. In fact, it’s been around so long that it has earned the name, Angry Black Women Syndrome. Do Black women have attitudes? My guess is that most black women would fall into the unique personality type.

That is a person characterized as quiet, determined, independent, serious, and interested in trying to better her self. “The idea that Black women are a species of neck rolling, lip smacking, finger snapping, ball busting sub-humans come from? People, who have no contact with Black women outside of retail shopping, see Black women going off on their husbands, boyfriends, kids, co-workers, even bosses with no constraint, remorse, or respect for authority and societal norms on sitcoms, talk shows, reality shows, news clips and even commercials. “


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