I’m currently reading Black Cool. It’s a collection of essays from different people about what being black and being cool means to them. One particular essay was from a guy who grew up being a comic book nerd. He hid this small, important fact from lots of people who knew him until he was able to embrace the fact that maybe you can be black and be a comic book nerd. His main source of motivation to reveal his secret nerdentity was his cousin who was a few grades older than him yet would visible read magazines such as The Economist in plain view of others. Completely disregarding any ridicule given for him “reading just to read”.
The author then started to realize that although many people associate being black with being poor, criminal, and uneducated, didn’t mean that he had to be ashamed for being black and enjoying reading. He loved reading so much he wasn’t afraid to show it and any ridicule he might have received from expressing said love wasn’t enough to make him waver.
And that is awesome.
But maybe you’re not black. Or maybe you’re not cool. Or maybe you don’t give a damn about comic books. Doesn’t matter. Odds are there is something about you that society would want to repress for you to fit inside whatever stereotype you’re supposed to match.
Take me for example. I’m a late 20’s, unmarried, non degree having black female. There are tons of articles written about my life from people who have never met me. Lots of them say I probably won’t ever be married. Maybe cause every black male ever is in jail. Or maybe cause black men don’t like black women. And since my kid is named Bon Qui Qui, she will be a delinquent and will start unmarried female head of house cycle all over again. And then I’ll never fully succeed in business cause I mean I’m so bitter about not having a man and up late working two jobs to support Bon Qui Qui and ‘nem I can’t focus fully on serving McDonald’s or whatever the hell minimum wage job they’ve deemed me to have.
And that might be the life of many, but that is nowhere near the life I have, nor that which is destined for Qui Qui (for short).
I grew up in the suburbs. There are probably studies saying that kids from the suburbs do hella drugs and have some sort of angst towards their parents and rebel by prolonged stints of drug abuse and promiscuous behavior. And I know a few kids that it’s happened to. Seen it with my own four eyes. But again that has absolutely nothing to do with me. I like my parents! Shock and awe!
I like to think that I can be what I am and still defy any stereotypes that are associated with who I should be. As the prophet Kanye would say, everything I’m not made me everything I am.
Do you defy any stereotypes that are associated with whatever demographic you are? Are there any stereotypes you like to embrace? Has someone ever said “but you’re (insert race) (insert gender) what are you doing liking (insert what you like)”? Did you go off on them like a (insert race)(insert gender) should? Is Kanye a prophet #illuminati?