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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

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Challenge wrongful, racial stereotypes

Don’t be afraid of racial stereotypes. Defy them.

“You go against every stereotype … Phil, you’re different, and there’s nothing wrong with that,” a friend from church told me in September.

For obvious reasons, I’m a victim of stereotyping.

However, even a black and somewhat nerdy-looking guy can defy popular stereotypes. It feels so good to be praised for being an outlier and simply “being myself.”

The task can be tough, especially because many people still embrace and encourage these stereotypes.

A lot of people assume that African Americans prefer mostly fried foods, mainly chicken. I can proudly say fried chicken is not among my favorite foods. In fact, I don’t really care for much of anything fried at my age.

One reason I dislike fried food is the smell. Ask my sister, she’ll tell you about my idiosyncrasy. As the pervasive smell of hot oil fills the air when my parents fry at home, I’m ready to spray the place down with Febreeze.

I’m also concerned with my general health. Diabetes, obesity and heart disorders run through my family’s history. I also credit my parents for encouraging me to eat healthy while in college.

So, instead of piling up plates of greasy, fried foods, I make sure I consume an adequate amount of fiber from wheat bread, fruits and vegetables daily. Because of this, Wild Greens has become my favorite choice in the Union Falcon’s Nest.

Another thing some people assume is that all black people are loud.

Well, unless we know each other somewhat, I’m one of the most timid and socially awkward people you’ll meet. I could be very comfortable around you, but I speak softly enough you’d have to ask me to repeat things.

I also do not usually have much to say. I dread talking in front of big crowds of friends or giving presentations in class.

Sometimes I get annoyed with the sound of my voice, and I say to myself, “Blah … I just want to stop talking.”

I’ve also heard a theory that black men have an extra calf muscle to help them run faster.

Of course, a lot of people assume most blacks are very athletic. Why not? Most of the NBA is black, as are a lot of talented football players.

Watch me play basketball. Allow me to rebound and defend decently. Then tell me to dribble, and you’ll see how uncoordinated I truly am.

As for running, I might be able to beat you in a foot race.

Now, if we’re racing a mile, I’ll probably be no good.

You should also see some people’s faces when I tell them I don’t like rap or hip-hop.

As religious as I may seem, I don’t even care for Christian rap. I prefer contemporary Christian rock over that any day.

I am fairly light-skinned, but I may in fact have a little English or German blood in me. My family is based out of the Hampton Roads Area of Virginia, where some of us may also be distantly related to a few Powhatan — even Pocahontas.

Then, in high school, a few described me as “white.” Their words have some truth. I don’t necessarily act like my race is culturally portrayed in America.

Racial stereotypes are inspired by ignorance. Stereotypes of this kind encourage narrow-mindedness towards people of a certain race. Instead of restricting your mind to labels brought up by family or media, make a point of knowing people for who they truly are. If a person doesn’t hold up to a stereotype, that’s wonderful.

Don’t feel awkward — be amazed! It’s OK.

I also feel that racial stereotypes encourage racism. Some people may dismiss this idea and say it is okay to laugh at stereotypes that have become somewhat culturally acceptable.

However, I would ask these questions in return: “Do you share my skin complexion? Do you truly know what it is like to be in my shoes and see your own people discriminated against? Have you ever been bullied or made fun of for your race?”

Respond to Phillip at

[email protected]

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