Latent Prejudices

Sep 20 2008 | 3 comments |

Ap_poll_race_obamaSo there's a new poll of 2000 people that was conducted over a year about racial attitudes towards Black people. Here's an excerpt from the article:

"Given a choice of several positive and negative adjectives that might
describe blacks, 20 percent of all whites said the word "violent"
strongly applied. Among other words, 22 percent agreed with "boastful,"
29 percent "complaining," 13 percent "lazy" and 11 percent
"irresponsible." When asked about positive adjectives, whites were more
likely to stay on the fence than give a strongly positive assessment."

This is pretty sad. I don't know who to blame more for these views, which I know are widely held around the world. My first instinct was BET, (Black Entertainment Television). But maybe they are too easy a target? How about rappers? Or systematic oppresion via bad schools, unsafe neighborhoods, high unemployment, high incarceration rates? What about so called "black movies" like Friday, Boyz in the Hood, Soul Plane, American Gangster? Actually, when I saw American Gangster, I was almost embarrassed for Denzel because he's done such family oriented movies and is a very good role model for black men in his private life; you can tell he loves his wife and kids.  I'm not really passing judgment, but rather, trying to find answers. But most white people in Iowa or Nebraska won't watch BET or see American Gangster.

So what is it? Why are black people STILL viewed so negatively when we have a black man running for the highest office in the land? Maybe its the 6 O'clock news that always has some burglary or violent crime report and the picture of a person of color. I read yesterday that 97% of blacks will never commit a violent crime and 70% of all drug users and dealers are white but 80% of the convictions are people of color.

Lastly, "nearly four in 10 white independents agreed that blacks would be better off if they 'try harder'." 

What do you think about this Afropolitans out there, cause this affects you. Initially, many white people will still view you through the prism of prejudice  no matter how smart, well dressed, employed, smiley, friendly, or meek you are until you win them over.

This might be a good time to ask, do you think there is also a difference between the way African immigrants and African Americans are treated by whites? Its been my experience that white people veiw African immigrants (or 1st, 2nd, generation) as "less threatening". 

Thoughts?

Further reading: How Racims Works for Me
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Comments

  • Posted by acolyte on September 22, 2008

    In my opinion it cuts both ways. White people have some very strong prejudices against blacks many of which hold no ground but are fanned by the media and other hostile groups. But on the other hand black people themselves in America are far from blameless given the way they proudly uphold negative stereotypes ie the thug culture among young black men, the search for street cred and the general anti-intellectualism among black people.
    As an educated black person once you work with white folks you have to pay what is called black tax. You have to work twice as hard to show you are worth what you are getting from them.

  • Posted by Beve on September 22, 2008

    Acolyte, I agree with you, about the “black tax”. But is it fair? And why do some still get “taxed” if you they no interest/involvement in propagating those negative stereotypes?

  • Posted by nekessa on September 20, 2008

    This is a brilliant post. I think there are a lot of factors, which you have highlighted, on why Blacks are viewed unfavorably by the “majority” culture. Add ignorance to the mix, and every black person has one identity.
    When I took an American History class several years ago, I remember the shock in the classroom when the instructor showed stats that there are more white people on welfare than there are black (duh!, look at the populations). Bottom line is negative stereotypes and myths are hard to debunk; movies and media, etc.
    You should check out Blink by Malcom Gladwell. A sublime read! It’s a business book, but studies why we make stereotypes (even Black people are many times prejudiced against other Black People) Makes you think… .

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