My blog is usually all about me. I don't have a media-based blog, so I don't sit around regurgitating crap that I see on other blogs everyday...however, every once in awhile I'll read or hear about something that I can't help but to address. That being said, I'm sure we've all heard about the "Compton Cookout" fiasco in Cali. If not, crawl from under your rock and g00gle it.
I talked to a group of friends and classmates about this, and we tried to have an open discussion, where everyone of every color could actually speak their truth regarding racism... I imagine there's some margin of error in there, because some people still don't like to say how they really feel about other races. Whatever. Shame, being non-confrontational, or whatever their reason...we're living in America in 2010. Everyone knows about racial stereotypes. The only difference among us is that there are those who live their lives believing the stereotypes and generalizing them to an entire race of people, there are those within those races who perpetuate the stereotypes, there are those who make it their business NOT to perpetuate the stereotype, and there are those who fall in between categories.
That being said, I was upset with this story. Upset enough to shake my head about it and want to discuss it with peers. We all agreed that, offensive or not, these stereotypes are what many people think of when they see Black People. We live in a time when media basically runs the world. People believe what they see/hear. It's human nature. So if this is the 'Us' that people are constantly shown, why should we expect anything more from them? I'm not taking either side on the issue, and that's where some people get upset. I'm not going to stand up and say "Black people don't act like that!" because the fact of the matter is many of our people do! If you can't or won't do better, or are comfortable living the way you live, who are you to complain? Do I think it's stupid? Yes. Do I think it's fair that people think this represents Black people as a whole? No. But the fact of the matter is, we perpetuate these things and make fun of ourselves as well as other races ALL the time. Why are we surprised that non-Black people do the same? When we watch parodies such as Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinkin' Your Juice in the Hood, we sit and laugh our asses off. It's all in fun. You think Black people are the only ones who've watched the movie? Or music videos that we continue to support, when they all look like they're literally made from a checklist consisting of Bling, Alcohol, T&A, and Cars? We can say all day that people discriminate against Blacks in the media, but I've seen people I know who refuse to watch shows by/about educated, striving-for-excellence Black people. They call things like that "boring", or "lame". Back when BET aired their reality show Harlem Heights, many people didn't bother to support it. Reactions varied between "Ugh, they're so bougie" and "I love them! Finally someone is making us look good!" I personally loved the series. Simply seeing our people in a different light, and on something other than 106th & Park or COPS can make a world of difference...for ourselves as well as other races in the world. People can't accurately critique what they don't understand or know. A lot of people, especially White people, don't grow up around us. Blame that on our segregated country and economy. Many of them don't go to school with us everyday, or interact closely with us on the regular. I've met people in my predominantly White college who'd never met a Black person "in real life" until they arrived at college. What other prototype do they have to go on? I don't say all this to excuse racist acts, because pointing out one wrong thing in relation to another wrong thing doesn't make that original wrong thing justified. I'm just saying that our portrayal, in the media and otherwise, matters. So support things that represent the other aspects of us. We call one another "bougie" or "ghetto" in a heartbeat, and for some, there is no gray area. These two extremes are usually what TV portrays. If we can't agree on what is accepted within our race, how do we combat the discrimination against it? Are we more upset with the stereotypes, or with the fact that someone else is pointing them out?
I will agree with the fact that this entire incident was effed up. I've heard White students argue that "People have White Trash parties all the time, and no one gets offended". I don't know how yall feel about that statement, but as far as I'm concerned, the problem isn't only the outcome of things like this. It's the lack of diversity and sensitivity to ALL parts of the human race. Simply put, our society is desensitized to racism. Some schools have courses on diversity. I think all schools should. Not just colleges and universities, but ALL schools. Why? Because we live in a world filled with different groups of people. Children who aren't taught diversity grow up into adults who remain ignorant to diversity. Hate and racism are direct results of ignorance. We hate what we don't know or understand. Yes, history has shown us some ugly things, but instead of raising more and more generations of hate, why not fight for tolerance? I went to a Diversity Week event on my campus last school year. There was a whopping THIRTY people in attendance. Not to mention the fact that this week was designated to diversity. What about the other weeks of the year? I believe racism and intolerance are learned behaviors. When we start actually talking to one another and knowing the FACTS, and how they differ from STEREOTYPES, maybe our society will develop some type of hope.
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