Fear of a Black Man in Today’s Society

February 26, 2012 § 2 Comments

    Why is that when you think of a “thug” or someone gets rob, the suspected individual is assumed to be Black? Why when your walking down the street and you see the young Black man in a black coat, you assume he’s after you or suspicious “looking”? Is it the darker skin that seems to scare you? If so, these overly tanned people must do also.

     As I read “Just Walk on By” it was the everyday story I always hear from guy friends and family, but its also something I have experienced also. I think it is more common for men to seem intimidating at night, but the color of their skin really determines how “threatening” they are. Why is that society has come to label the Black man as rough, aggressive, and always out for trouble. That is not true and is a strong believed stereotype by many races, including the Black culture. We all have once committed the crime of assuming that the Black man we saw with sagging pants or too many tattoos was a “thug,” criminal, or just someone who made us feel uncomfortable. There are many other races who sag their pants, have lots of tattoos, and are more of a threat than that Black man you saw crossing the road. I feel this is a stereotype that has been around since the 80’s with media portraying Black men in a certain “gangster” manner, or “thug” look. It continues to become worse, and makes it harder for young Black men to make it in life or not be pressed to behave a certain way. 

     But what surprises me most is that these people are all so scared of these people and think they should be off the streets, but are so quick to “act like” them or want to “dress like” them. Why would you want to portray someone who seems to cause you fear or endangerment? Where is the logic behind that, and being a hypocrite to yourself? People need to think twice before they judge someone. No race is perfect, but no race should ever be singled out.

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§ 2 Responses to Fear of a Black Man in Today’s Society

  • boilerbballfan says:

    I think the purpose of perpetuating this stereotype serves a purpose for the dominant race. By continuing to portray black, often urban, young men as criminals, gangsters, or thugs, it undermines their abilities to gain and maintain employment and an equal opportunity for education or employment. This stereotype is also a self-fulfilling prophecy. If people expect that a young, urban black man is a criminal, and then a young urban black man commits a crime, people think their stereotypes are justified. It then becomes hard for young black men, or many other groups with stigmatizing stamps on them, to overcome those stereotypes.
    Furthermore, because I do not think I have ever been the subject of that kind of treatment, I wonder what it feels like for Brent Staples and others in his situation to know that their appearance can have that affect on others. This idea reminds me of the movie Crash when Sandra Bullock calls the Hispanic locksmith a “gangbanger” who will make a copy of their house key and sell it to his “homies.” She knew nothing about the man other than he was Hispanic, bald, and had tattoos. What she did not know was that he had a daughter and worked long hours so he could move to a safer neighborhood for his daughter. These snap judgments people make about others are so damaging, and yet often people feel justified in so doing.

    • boilerup0924 says:

      Exactly. Some people live up to these stereotypes after constantly being told this and that is what they will be. Others beat out those stereotypes,but can’t help their circumstances or the color of their skin.

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