... That is the question.
News flash. I'm a black woman. I'm a natural sistah, I speak very loudly and I'm all about empowering other people of color - even if that means being a little radical; All of which are stereotypes of one particular kind of black woman, and all of which are true when it comes to me. I'm not ashamed - I fit that mold.
Stereotyping is wrong; not all black people love fried chicken and watermelon (I do, though), not all Asians are good at math (debunked), and not all Muslims are terrorists (ignorant). But what if some stereotypes happen to be true? Is that even a possibility?
Let me explain...
I witnessed a very uncomfortable conversation earlier this week - well, not quite a conversation, more like a comment gone south. Without giving too much detail - a group of folks were talking about moving to a new space. When one of the folks asked if they had to pack their own boxes, another individual responded sarcastically, "no. I'm sure if you drive past a Home Depot, you could find someone to do it for you". I'm totally paraphrasing, but you get the point. To be blunt, the comment bombed, but only because everyone in the room envisioned the same type of person hanging outside of the Home Depot; and I'm sure after reading this paragraph you did as well. That's our truth.
Was that necessarily distasteful to say? Maybe... But it's someone's truth.
Saying that all black people can dance is a stereotype, and I've found it be false on numerous occasions. But what if the person making that comment has yet to come across a single black person who couldn't swag it out? Are they stereotyping, or speaking their truth?
Let's just take it there - I haven't met a single Mexican / Mexican American who isn't a hustler. As far as I'm concerned, no job is ever too degrading or too hard for them to not do what they have to do to take care of their families. Would it be wrong for me say that Mexicans are some of the hardest workers I've ever come across? Is that stereotyping, or is it my truth? I've never met a lazy / haughty Mexican. Sue me.
Sorry, not sorry for my political incorrectness.
Not here to preach - I just think stereotyping becomes negative when someone's truth offends someone else. If you're ballsy enough to speak of your truth, you should also acknowledge that your truth isn't necessarily someone else's.
I think that's where the disconnect happens.
Saying that “when white people get wet they smell like wet-dog” can certainly be someone's truth. But, to place that stereotype on the entire race is ignorant. Have you smelled every single, wet white person in the world?
Every time you or friends have been robbed may have been by a black person; but to say that all blacks are criminals would be absurd. Have you encountered very black person in the world? And if so, have all of them committed a crime?
Generalizations happen. Your truth is your truth - but to try and force others to adopt your truth is detrimental. That's how wars happen.
I don't know... Just my thoughts...