Since the beginning of time African Americans have been viewed negatively. We have always been viewed as a threat to society and frowned upon by many races. There are many cliches displayed in the media of what African Americans are supposed to act like. These conclusions cause almost immediate negative feelings from other races and sometimes by our own race. African American females in television shows and movies are often shown as the loud “ghetto” acting, angry black girl who is always “telling someone off”.
Actor Tyler Perry has been criticized for illustrating African American females as “big momma”, another negative portrayal of black women. Other times shapely video vixens cause other black females to be portrayed as “jump-offs” or gold diggers. African American males have even greater judgments to overcome. They are viewed as a menace to society. They are illustrated as wild, angry, dangerous “gang bangers”. Black men are viewed as absentee fathers or abusive husbands.
Although, in some cases, African American males do possess some of these characteristics, there are just as many black men that are positive role models.
These ignorant judgments are called stereotypes. A stereotype is defined as “a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing”. Stereotypes, in my own words, are judgments blindly made by people who use ignorance as an excuse to be biased against those who are different from them. There are many different types of stereotyping.
Racial stereotyping, sexist stereotyping, stereotypes about cultures, and sexual orientation stereotypes are all judgments that can affect one’s life in many ways. Stereotypes are, sadly, made by everyone. Racial stereotyping, however, is the most common type of stereotyping, and can sometimes be dangerous. The Trayvon Martin story, for example, is a situation where stereotyping turned tragic. Trayvon Martin was a young African American boy who was walking from the store with nothing but Skittles and a drink in his pockets.
Because of his race, and the stereotype of what black Males are capable of, he was targeted, and tragically killed. There have been many similar cases of dangerous stereotyping. People’s fear of what the media shows we are suited to do, has gotten out of control. Too many of us are dying because of this fear. While many stereotypes do seem to be believable, people like Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, my grandparents, and my mom allow me to realize that not all stereotypes are true.