Are all black people dark-skinned with wide noses and big butts? Are all black people loud, disrespectful and obnoxious? Do all black people eat chicken, corn bread, greens, and drink kool-aid? Do all black people talk improper English, not knowing the difference between “all right” and “a’ight”? Do all black women have attitudes, daring you to speak to them, and for you to look at them the wrong way would just bring out the devil in them? Are all black men thieves who have never worked a day in their lives, but can steal something you’ve worked so hard for?
Is it wrong for a black person to do above average in school and succeed in all they do? Is it wrong for a black person to hang around with others who are of a different race? Is it wrong for a black person to be different from you? All of these questions arise when someone of my own race tells me, “You ain’t black!” What exactly is being “black?” Is there only one way for a “black” person to act? If so, what is this mold that us so-called “white” people are supposed to fit?
I am black, and I do not view my actions as acting “black” or acting “white.” I see myself as acting like Jackie! I don’t understand why black people are quick to get upset when someone categorizes them as being the “typical black person,” one who is supposed to be loud and rude, but they are just as quick to categorize another black person who doesn’t appear to be like them.
If a black person hangs around with all white people, why are they called “white?” Did it occur to you that the group of people might accept the person for who they are? That person does not have to pretend to be someone who is not of his or her character. Rather than only surrounding myself with people of my race, I like to surround myself with people who I can learn something from. These people can be black, white, purple, gray or green. Race should never prevent anyone from having a relationship with someone different from you.
In today’s society, if you do not have the latest pair of Jordan’s or if you do not “kick it” with the in-crowd; most likely you will not fit in with everyone else. Let me make it clear, this is not just written for blacks, this is written for all of those who have been criticized for being different from everyone else.
Everyone has his or her own unique traits that can, if you let it, help you to stand out from the rest. Some people will not accept you for being you, but it is better not being accepted for being you, than being accepted for something you are not. As the expression goes, “I wasn’t put on this earth for you to like me!”
So the next time someone stereotypes you, or wants you to be like them, remember to do what is right for you. Whenever it gets tough, just remind yourself that you are not alone and there’s always someone in this world that understands you. Remain true to yourself, and everything else shall follow.
Just to clarify some things, this article is not bashing the black race or any race for that matter. Again, this is for the people who have felt alone and ashamed, caused by non-acceptance from individuals around them.
Jacklyn Hampton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.