Stereotype Of Negativity


I received a very interesting comment from one of my trusty regulars that got me to thinking a bit about how we reason with racism. She quoted Mark Twain: The cat, having sat upon a hot stove lid, will not sit upon a hot stove lid again. But he won’t sit upon a cold stove lid, either. “Well, if you’re a white guy and the only black person you ever met was a guy who mugged you — and you weren’t a very deep thinker — you might be suspicious of every black person you met afterward.

While this is true to some extent, I was thinking about how this manifests itself in more than just interracial ways. Since this thinking has actually permeated most communities and not just the white community. I see it as being less a problem of the lack of deep thinking and more a product of the brainwashing stereotyping propaganda that we allow to be projected upon minorities.

See I believe that we as a society already have bad views of blacks and minorities in general. So when one commits some sort of offense against a person that will prompt them to then open the flood gates of racial hatred in the form of stereotyping. I have heard people say things such as “this is why you can’t do business with blacks,” after receiving some sort of bad service or whatever at the hands of a black business person.

The problem is that these people who had this bad encounter with blacks or black business owners and are now prone to be suspicious of all blacks, while they have had even more bad dealings with white people and white owned businesses. Yet, I personally have never heard a person become more suspicious of white people in general after some horrible event.

No one crosses the street to avoid white teen boys who just might pull out a rifle, hand gun or pipe bomb and go nuts like Robert Hawkins, Dylan Klebold or Eric Harris. Nor did anyone ever say “that’s why you can’t do business with whites” after Enron, WorldCom, AIG, Bernard Madoff, Michael Milkin or any of the plethora of other swindlers and bad business people who just so happen to be white that you can name.

Why don’t these thoughts ever cross the majority of people’s minds? This is due to the fact that white people have not been under any continuous character attacks as blacks have since the day we were first seen by white people who came into Africa. Because you see that this type of behavior isn’t exclusive to U.S. These actions are happening and have been happening everywhere around the world.

The constant barrage of negativity surrounding blacks is so bad that blacks themselves have been infected by it. We are suspicious of each other and thus we are some of the biggest perpetrators of this stereotyping. Just look at Bill Cosby, John McWhorter and even Barack Obama. They have all pointed the finger at blacks and made blanket statements about our supposed shamefulness for one reason or another.

The word black has been connected with all that is negative for so long I don’t think that there is a clear way to successfully separate the two. How do you sing the redemption of a word that symbolizes everything that we see as bad? Could we ever see the name Hitler as a positive thing? I doubt it. So in a sense we have created a neat little vicious cycle that will continue to vilify a group based on nothing more than a stereotype of negativity.



Filed under Barack Obama, Black community, Black People, Criminals, Culture, Propaganda, Racism

11 responses to “Stereotype Of Negativity

  1. so everyone should just choose to live with it?

    i don’t think so!


  2. Miller,

    I am going to have to think that you did not understand the post. I was not saying that we should just live with it or anything of the sort. I was making it clear that this is one of the problems that we need to figure out how to rid ourselves of. I guess I should have listed the solution in order for it not to seem like I was being acquiescent or complacent.

    Yet, I wasn’t trying to be the answer. I was trying to point out a flaw in the reasoning of a particular response I received to another post of mine.

    Thanks for the reply.

  3. cinque

    This is why I keep coming back here. You have again hit the nail on its head. Black people are infected and will continue to be infected, at least as long as I will be alive. I don’t see any end to it. Even now on the cusp of the first AA president the country is saying this is the end of racism. The end of racism??? There has not been a Native american prez, a Mexican american prez or any other race yet, but we are at the end of racism.

    Bill Cosby, I believe did a disservice to our community. His comments hurt the least of us and served to bolster the white argument that Black people are at fault for their situation. Oh please don’t mention John McWhorter. I live in the Bay Area and work at Stanford University and had the displeasure to see him debate Charles Ogletree on the reparations issue(he was distroyed by Ogletree by the way) an his blatant cowtowing to the white mainstream is just sickening. President Obama’s finger wagging at Black fathers still bothers me for the simple fact he would not have chastised Black women on there day(Mothers day)as he did on Fathers day.

    The self loathing of our people is infectious and we infect our children everyday with it. Where does it end??

  4. Lusitana

    Those are really, really good points in your post, Black Sentinel, especially the pernicious dynamic of blacks believing their own bad PR. Women, too, have tended to participate in their own second-class status by limiting themselves, their daughters, their friends, believing the rot that they’re not the equals of men.
    I don’t think there’s an answer; I think there are millions of answers: a continuous drip of information that’s counter to the stereotypes.
    BTW, I would recommend a story in today’s LA Times about the music played at the Inauguration. Here’s an excerpt I liked, followed by the link:
    “Music had long anticipated this moment. African-Americans repaid the historical injustice of slavery with generous and profound cultural gifts, making American music a free-for-all where fertile, powerful ideas — like swing, call-and-response, the modes and phrasing of the blues, the drive and dynamics of gospel and the immediacy of hip-hop — could triumph in the marketplace and on the dance floor.”
    I don’t know … what do you think might be a solution?

  5. Cinque,

    I totally agree that we are being hurt constantly when these folks decide that they will make us the scapegoat. We have enough trouble just surviving this mess and they decide that they need to stand on against us and point the finger. As if we somehow have problems that NO other race of people does.

    No other race of people has members of their own running around pointing things out that occurs in every race yet acting as if theirs is the only one perpetrating whatever ill. I find that disgusts me more than those who are committing the ills. The self loathing must end.

    Thanks for the reply.

  6. Lusitana,

    Thank you for giving me the thoughts in the first place. And thanks for the link. And I agree that there is a continuous drip of counter stereotypes. But, we have to find a way to turn that into a nice flow. As far as a solution, I am far from having the solution. I am definitely thinking of that though. Which is one of my reasons for writing the post, that hopefully it would cause people to add solutions or come up with ideas etc. I hope that becomes the case.

    Thanks for the reply.

  7. yes, i misunderstood!

    and i agree, there has been and remains a tendency to demonize anything other. and given the right circumstances, the other begins to believe it about themselves.

    the systematic dehumanization of entire races constitutes a sin against God and humanity…

    and i think i understand why you don’t offer a solution…

  8. Miller,

    One of the first things we need to do as a people is take control of our collective persona. But to do that we first need to get on the same page again. We (those of us enlightened to our situation) understand that these things are taking place and refuse to buy into the hype. But then you have those that don’t even have a clue and wish not to have one.

    It is a lot like Harriet Tubman said, she freed thousands of slaves and could have freed more if she could have convinced them they WERE slaves. Right now it seems like we are trying to convince people that there even IS a problem.

    Thanks for the reply.

  9. Enjoyed the post!

    Race has been and will continue to be an issue in the world. Black or white; Mexican or Asian, it doesn’t matter. As long as man is on the earth we will falter in race relations. That will not change because of President Obama either.

    The answer is to start at home. Teaching our children and educating ourselves to unlearn some negativity that may still have us bound. As individual families we must embrace our God-ordained place in the world using our God-given talents. The question then becomes “what is that God-ordained place we ought to claim?”—simple—we are no greater than or no less than any other people God has created. We (black folk) need to live our lives that way. This pride and image of self worth empowers us as we rise above the naysayers.

    Keep putting out the great topics!

  10. pvdugas

    Cinque clinched it for me. I really can’t add much to it:

    [Black people are infected and will continue to be infected, at least as long as I will be alive. I don’t see any end to it. Even now on the cusp of the first AA president the country is saying this is the end of racism. The end of racism??? There has not been a Native american prez, a Mexican american prez or any other race yet, but we are at the end of racism.]

    I did a piece on MLK day asking has the dream been fulfilled? In my post my thoughts were they had partially been fufilled. (Obama is our 44th President. Something we never thought we’d see in this lifetime) but racism will never end and unfortunately having Obama as President will not put an end to racism. The day after the inauguration I was pulled over on my way to work (4 blocks away) after something flew in my eye and my car, a convertible BMW, swerved. (Read between the lines people) I was dressed in a business suit.

    With my left eye clearly watering, and my explanation believable; after all it was 10:30 a.m., he had the audacity to put me through the drama for a drunk stop. He was a good ole’ boy, if you know what I mean. Suffice it to say I didn’t get a ticket because that was never his intention. He was riding on the angry heels of a Black man being sworn in as President and I was a convenient target. Now you know I’ve taken this to the mayor and the Chief of Police, right?

    Racism over? Oh hell to the no – a new form is quickly beginning.

    Great post and great comments, as usual Sentinel. I’m always fed when I come here. Keep representing!

  11. PVDugas,

    That is the exact type of thing that really pisses me off. You tell people the type of thing that happen to you, people will say that this was some isolated incident. Or better yet, give some excuse for the guy like he was having a bad day. Give me a break.

    Thanks for the reply.

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