When I was younger I would always be told to follow certain rules as a young black male not because I was a terrible kid but because the worlds view of blacks or African Americans is truly one of old views that hasn’t changed a lot for a long time. Some of the rules were like “no running”, “no eating till you’re out the store ” or “don’t leave without a receipt”. They may seem like common sense things but it was a mindset of I’ll be damned if you take my son from me being the only child & it’s the same for any other black parents out here. Someone may say isn’t that kind thinking cynical?However in return I ask why? Have you seen this world & the actions of the people not what they say or tell someone? When you you’re black in America no matter if you’re Latino, African-American, or some other variation, you tend to have a set of unwritten rules which may be unfair that we have to live by through out our lives. This article thinks on the population of blacks face in America. I may not be able to speak on another country but I think if been black long enough to have some perspective on this topic.
When I was younger I had a so called “friend” say I was a “nigger” with the hard R & it didn’t help that my so called friend was white. Grade schoolers can be a bunch of tough people & the district I grew up in was a primarily dominant minority making it no exception. I could have easily found them now with the help of Facebook & chopped them in the throat when I got older but there are snags with that, first off I was cool with their family doing things like cub scouts for example & I was cool with his little brothers when they lived in the same area, secondly it doesn’t make sense to lay my hands on him so far down the line when I’m suppose to be practicing forgiving & forgetting, when I forgave them & moved on but I never truly forgot what he said they can’t unring the bell, finally if I would have washed him & gave him this work I would have only been feeding into the perception of blacks & the stereotypes that we face daily. Perception is a complicated thing that is built upon past experiences with a certain population of people. When you look at perception & stereotypes their the same in some instances the difference comes in stereotype is just a jumping off point till you get to know someone while perception is taking everything a person does and says & building on your perspective of them from what has been collected over time like data on a science project. The problem comes in when people take the stereotype & run with it not getting to know the individual, this work sometimes like when I was hospitalized last May they made an assumption about me because they had to start somewhere,once they got their battery of test back they had to change their focus, they had a stereotypical view but had to change their perception to give me the right treatment. Where this didn’t work was when I got pulled over in my small neighborhood in Galveston County. I have a friend & as another person who is a mentor & their both law enforcement officers in the field now, one thing that they let me know is they have to be cognizant of what people are doing because it comes with the job, what happened to me was just being nosy & leaning on stereotypes. Before I was driving my current car (Rojo Flyer) a 2016 Ford Focus ST, I was in & I drove a gold 2010 Dodge Charger before Harvey, this played into them pulling me over basically less than a block from my house with a poor excuse for doing it. Instead of just checking my plates they didn’t find anything even when they made the stop, they thought I was just some normal black kid with a long list of priors but perception showed my record is clean. It could have easily gone into left field like other stops, luckily it didn’t. Most times when dealing with people in general most don’t fit stereotypes formed because their unique in their own right. Using myself as a case study as a black male I face several stereotypes in my lifetime like “black people can’t swim” which doesn’t make sense because in my lifetime I’ve been on swim team in High School, did mile swim, even tried out to be lifeguard at PVAMU, or “black males don’t take care their own” which doesn’t apply mostly to myself, I may not have my own kids but I’ve worked with plenty as an instructional aide & I had some kids placed in my life whether from church or the community & I will shut you down & protect them before you even try harming one of them. I could go on but hopefully you get my point, the best thing that can happen is someone not assume and actually live off the perception.
When I was younger & starting Boy Scouts after doing cub scouts, I was promoted from Webelos in the year of 2011 which was the same year 9/11 happened which was a weird time because other scouts became super patriotic playing “Proud To Be an American” like it was going out of style which was a interesting introduction into BSA for me on the way to when I became an Eagle Scout. When talking about the population of black folks in the US what else contributes to our own experiences is the area they were raised in. From being in a predominantly black community to being in a “chocolate chip” of a community where you’re some of the only people of a certain race in an area to even being raised in an area of diversity like Houston, they play a factor. What can happen because of it is a person can go through a big change or culture shock inserting themselves into a place down the line like going into a new environment because they’re pursuing an education in a new place like a PWI (predominantly white institution) or an HBCU (historical Black College & University) or even they moved for different reasons causing them to adopt a new area just because. These things can change someone’s perspective on things but can be an advantage sometimes when dealing with people because they’ve seen things outside the norm of someone else. Going back to my personal perspective it was a shock going from a community where I get to see people like to the opposite in BSA which was a learning process & came with it’s own struggles however I got to do things others in my community didn’t like go hiking at Philmont or going to national jamboree in Virginia which probably wouldn’t have happened if didn’t leave Galveston County or had my perspective changed, plus I carry those moments with me as my own perspective.
Variations of Black
In my spring of spring freshmen year at PVAMU after obtaining my Eagle Scout through BSA, I got a call from a lady named Ms. Boots (the PR lady for Bay Area Council) to come onto Great Day Houston a staple with Deborah Duncan with some other Scouts in the Council. I agreed to that and showed up at KHOU which was on Allen Parkway Still making the drive all the way from Prairie View, when I finally got there for the segment I literally sat on my hands the entire time not saying anything basically being a token for someone’s agenda wasting my time that I could’ve used in class rather than that. When talking about being black , perception plays a role, so does environment, however lastly even when you take the others into effect, people will try fitting you into their own agenda whether they mean well or are acting like Dick Dastardly (look it up) in nature. Being an African American we have to be vigilant in assessing their intentions with us like anyone else in the world. Are they wanting a black person as a token (which is horrible) only making themselves comfortable where they can say they know someone black or that’s their “friend” , are they needing someone because of stereotypes , or are they being genuine & actually not blowing smoke out here. A good example of this is “When They See Us”. Throughout the real story of the five boys, even though they were innocent they went through hell because people were trying to paint them as bad people & instead of actually trying to find the actual truth , the by product of all this nonsense was they lost their childhoods. Other times may not be as blatant or over the top like this scenario but blacks are forced to be coherent of things not happening like this. Everyday I’m constantly fighting stigmas like others keeping people just from making an assumption or just using me for their own gains.
When being black these three things are factors that are on a long list of what people have to be mindful of. There have been steps in the right direction like Amanda Seales through here own actions or her game show “Smart Funny & Black” & even representation in art like Miles Morales & the show “Insecure” by Issa Rae. Being black in the US can be daunting sometimes & overwhelming but people can’t change the skin their in so over time they have to learn to love themselves. Being black is a exercise in lots of tweaks because no one is automatically hyped over themselves out the gate.