March 30, 2008

"Just Get Over It Already"

I hate when people say, "Just get over it already" when the topic of racism comes around. It's often coming from a person in a "historically represented group" who says this to people of a "historically underrepresented group" in this country.

After working 7 days straight, I found myself watching television before getting ready for bed. Jorge asked me what movie I wanted to watch and I replied, "It doesn't matter ... I'm going to be asleep in about 5 minutes." Well, Jorge put on "Mississippi Burning" and before I knew it, the credits were rolling at the end of the movie.

Mississippi Burning. 1964. 44 years ago. That was 44 years ago -- my parents are older than that. By a lot. People often say, "Just get over it already. Stop bringing up issues of race. Race has nothing to do with it." I think that's straight up crazy. 44-years ago, 3 students were shot and brutally murdered while driving through Mississippi registering African American voters. They likely knew that they were going to face violence, yet they still went. As Wilhem Defoe's character said in the movie, "Some things are worth dying for." Unfortunately, during that time, there were also people who believed there were "some things worth killing for." And there were even more people - and an entire system - that quickly, easily, and unapologetically covered it up.

Forty-four years ago. Forty-fouryears ago our country was figuring out how to deal with post-segregation. From an early age, education about how very different Blacks and Whites were took place in homes, schools, churches, town meetings, stores - everywhere.

Now, naturally, I bring up this issue in places like the Northeast, where I work and live, and I often get the response, "That was the South. That didn't happen here. So, I don't have the same issues with race," says the person from the historically very represented group. I fight the urge to say, "Are you kidding??" and attempt to find the teachable moment.

"Yes, your family may not have indoctrinated you but our society, this country, has allowed you to believe that you don't have issues with race."

I am still amazed when educated people make comments (especially around me!) about just how righteous they are. Here are some of my favorites:

  • "I am so offended that ___ thinks I'm racist! He definitely owes me an apology!"
  • "I think people are making too much out of the cover of that magazine. I mean, no one would ever look at that cover and think he looks like a monkey or gorilla! People try to see things that aren't there and just make matters worse."
  • "It's not racial. That's just an excuse."
Oh, the list goes on.....


March 17, 2008


The other day my little sister (she's 17) and I were talking about men and she asked if a certain stereotypes about black men were true. I'm not going to mention it here. I must add that my little sister is a Latina of chocolate skin tone who goes to a predominately white private high school. Her assumption that all black men must fulfill a certain stereotype really bothered me. Sometimes I think about how have certain stereotypes come to be. Who created these stereotypes? Where was the first time I heard that stereotype myself? Who benefits from these stereotypes?

All of this has got me to think about all the ridiculous stereotypes I have heard about different groups of people....


  • Too emotional
  • Soft, weak
  • Sensitive
  • Soccer Moms
  • Caretaker
  • Not that smart
  • Cook/prepare meals for the family
  • Good housekeepers/maids/secretaries/assistants
  • Love fashion, accessories, clothes
  • Love the color pink, any pastels
  • Must be virginal or "pure"
  • ...But it's natural to be attracted to one another (unlike men)
  • Need long hair to be feminine


  • Hard, strong, faster
  • Confident
  • Can't cook (and shouldn't be cooking, either)
  • Can get the job done
  • Incapable of keeping house/bedroom/bathroom clean
  • Good at manual labor
  • Cannot express emotions
  • Only think with their genitals
  • Love sports, cars, electronics
  • Love porn
  • Either are gay or straight, cannot be "curious"
  • Curious = Gay
  • Thrive in competition
  • Smart
  • Good leaders/bosses/CEOs/Presidents
  • Dangerous, criminals
  • Ghetto
  • Poor
  • Can't speak proper English
  • Uneducated
  • Stupid
  • Is probably in a gang
  • Always "fighting the man"
  • Another statistic
  • Love Oprah/Barack Obama/Tiger Woods/Michael Jordan/Michael Jackson/Chris Rock/Dave Chappelle unconditionally
  • Are up to no good
  • All look the same
  • All their men have large genitals
  • Are matriculated in any college because of Affirmative Action
  • Are good at sports
  • Are probably on a sports scholarship
  • Love Southern/Soul food
  • Always think people are being racist against them
  • Unemployed
  • They are all here illegally
  • Most of them are immigrants
  • Can't speak English that well
  • Don't want to learn English
  • Love rice and beans
  • Are "passionate" people
  • Can dance
  • Unemployed
  • Living off of welfare/section 8 housing/food stamps
  • Are stealing jobs
  • Are very proud of their home country / overly patriotic
  • Are ghetto, too
  • Latin lovers
  • Are good with manual labor
  • Have huge families
  • Teen pregnancy


  • Have no culture
  • Can't cook
  • Have boring food
  • They all love pasta
  • Can't play sports
  • Can't dance
  • All love country music or soft rock
  • Are politically conservative or ultra-liberal
  • Love guns/right to bear arms
  • Love hunting
  • Love Starbucks or any overpriced coffee
  • All their mal-adjusted males go on mass shooting sprees
  • Fear God
  • Want to spread democracy around the world
  • Are responsible for the suffering of all people of color throughout the world, throughout all of history
  • Most are oblivious to their white privilege
  • (Subconscious) Racists
  • All claim to be (part) Irish or Italian


  • Are all concerned about their "slanty" eyes and their need to surgically alter them to make them more Anglo, less Asian looking
  • Love rice, sushi and seafood
  • Their women are submissive
  • Their men are all chauvinists/strict
  • Are very intelligent
  • Are the "other white meat"
  • Are wealthy
  • Their Chinatown smells
  • Very traditional culture
  • Love electronics / have access to latest gadgets
  • Are all small and thin
  • All their men have small genitals
  • Are stealing all IT jobs, shipping them over to India or Japan
  • Are all (part) Chinese
  • Chinese people put up all their female newborns for adoption
  • Have weird music
  • All Indians love Bollywood movies
  • Only eat spicy foods


  • They are going through a phase
  • They chose to be who they are
  • It's just a lifestyle
  • They are all HIV positive or have some other STD
  • Gay males are responsible for the AIDS crisis
  • Love to go to raves/disco/clubbing on the weekend
  • Are all obsessed with Barbara Streisand/Cher/Britney Spears/Madonna/Kylie Minogue/Janet Jackson/Bette Middler/Christina Aguilera/Celine Dion
  • Are all publicly flamboyant
  • They love to dress in drag
  • All lesbians dress like fat, boring men w/short haircuts
  • If in a relationship, one is the "guy" and one is the "girl"
  • All want to get married / want right to get married
  • All want to adopt children
  • They will raise or make their adopted children gay, too
  • Love fashion / interior design / hair salons
  • Gay males pick each other up at the gym
Food for thought: stereotypes are damaging. There are NO positive stereotypes. They build walls around us, keeping us from really getting to know one another. Yes, there are some individuals who you may think might fit some these stereotypes. But there are also millions of individuals who do not fit the stereotypes of their given culture, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Granted, after reading all these collectively it should be apparent how utterly absurd most of these stereotypes are.

~Jade, The Intern