The Standard of StereotypesThursday, October 02, 2008 By Andre Roberts
All Asians are intelligent. Every black person is good at basketball. Every Mexican is an illegal immigrant. Our generation accepts these statements as facts but in reality are “somewhat correct opinions.” We embrace these notions because we think there are obvious facts that back them up. Asians generally do have better test scores than any other demographic. There are countless black superstars through the history of the NBA. Illegal immigration and poorly controlled borders are a huge problem for the United States. So would you call it perpetuating the stereotype, or just telling it like it is? No one wants to be judged based on what ignorant people think, but some believe that specific people must live up to racial stereotypes, which I believe is a misinterpretation and needs to be rectified. Apparently, every African American teenage boy must play basketball at an exceptional level, his pants must be baggy, he must limit the number of times he raises his hand in class and his iPod must contain a plethora of hip hop or rap music. And if he doesn’t meet these standards then some of his dark-skinned friends don’t see him as a true n****; they will see him as an “oreo”: one who is black on the outside but “acts white” on the inside. Why would any black individual want to help enhance the negative comments on the stereotypes of black people? I have been called an “oreo” by many who think it’s a joke. What these people are doing is enhancing the negative stereotype of blacks while failing to accept one of their very own because they don’t match the typical stereotype. Standing five feet seven inches, my size does not favor to the sport of basketball. Having your pants 10 inches below your waist and showing your red and blue Spiderman underwear should be a crime of ignorance. Limiting your intelligence by not answering questions in class is only hurting yourself, and only listening to hip hop and rap music on your iPod just doesn’t give other genres a chance. I strive to be different and to defy the perpetuated stereotype. If “acting black” is being the negative stereotype of African American men, then by God I am an “oreo.” There is no chance in the world that I will change my ever-so-popular charismatic personality. I am proud that I am bad at basketball. I am proud that I wear a belt with my pants. I am proud that I sprained my shoulder while raising my hand in class repeatedly to answer my teachers’ questions. I am proud that my iPod is filled with Gym Class Heroes, High and Mighty Colors and Red Hot Chili Peppers. As Black Student Union President, I want to leave my underclassmen members remembering me as a leader and not a follower of those who believe that there is a representative or everyday stereotype. Perpetuating stereotypes is just a way to separate people by race, religion and gender. The last thing we need now is to be divided.