Every culture has its potentially offensive stereotypes. Blondes are dumb. White people can’t dance. Native Americans love to gamble. All Asians are geniuses. Most Latinos are illegal immigrants. Media outlets can perpetuate these beliefs and keep them alive for decades. But, sometimes, members of those communities perpetuate them on their own. There are, in fact, certain stereotypes about the black community that are believed and passed down, not by outsiders, but by folks within the black community itself. So here are a few things that we, as a people, need to just LET GO!
Jordan vs <Insert Good NBA Player> – Michael J. Jordan has been dubbed The GOAT when it comes to the NBA. With that said, he sets the bar for the recent memory of most basketball fans. Jordan was a 6 x NBA Champ (winning Finals MVP honors every time). He was a 5 x MVP of the entire league, 14 x All-Star, and 2 x NBA Dunk Champion (I point this out because the big stars have quit participating). The list of Jordan’s accolades would basically take up this entire blog and “ain’t nobody got time for that”. Not only was Jordan the coldest player ever, his influence on pop culture changed the entire WORLD…yes I said world. Jordan is bigger than a simple man, he’s a brand now. Tell me the last time you’ve heard of anybody standing in line for a pair of LeBron James’ or Kobe Bryant’s shoes….don’t worry, I’ll wait. Hell I’ve seen people in line for Retro Barkleys, ouch Black Mamba! Jordan’s #23 has been retired by the Chicago Bulls, for whom he played, and the Miami Heat…sorry Bron-Bron! So please people, stop comparing these guys to Jordan…that’s too much pressure and it’s annoying. The Jordan references are only getting more ridiculous, like “<insert NBA player> scored such and such points and had blah blah rebounds and that’s the 2nd most since most on a Thursday in November since Jordan did it his rookie year.” WTF? Just STOP THAT!
D’Angelo’s featuring Lauryn Hill’s next album – Overheard a conversation recently regarding the best female artist’s catalog of music. Some brought up Missy Elliott who had a pretty good run with the backing of some dope Timberland beats and catchy hooks. Then somebody busts out with “Don’t forget about Lauryn Hill”. Wait, what? Lauryn Hill dropped one album in 1998. Thats it! Not a nothing since then, but people have been clinging to that last bit of hope as if Lauryn has been sneaking in the studio after 2 Chainz leaves and recording some pure fire. In real life, Tupac will drop another album before Ms Hill, mark my words on that…hell he was Coachella 2012…where was Lauryn at? And while we’re on rumored album releases, let that D’Angelo CD rumor die like a roach that’s been sprayed with Raid. Let that $hit go people!
Being Different – I’m different, yea I’m different. No, you’re actually not. You sound like every other song on the radio, but that’s not what this segment is about. People go so out of their way to be different or do something different. At this stage of the world’s history, there really isn’t much left for you to accomplish at being the first to do such and such. These days your Guinness Book accomplishment would have to be so detailed that nobody would even care (See Jordan records reference from earlier). You’re not a unique snowflake!
You know we get the Itis, right? – Short for the less palatable term “ni**eritis,” the term is used in both the United States and Caribbean to describe the routine of becoming sleepy after eating a large meal. “The itis” is jokingly said to affect blacks more than any other group. The term also implies that the person who has “the itis” is lazy, and often too fatigued to return to work after their mid-day meal. So is it fact or fiction? It depends. “All of us are sleepier during early to mid-afternoon,” says Dr. Mark Mahowald, former director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Hennepin Medical Center, and now a professor of neurology at University of Minnesota Medical School. “There is no racial difference in the sleepiness we all experience.” In real life most humans have their body clocks set to become sleepier between midnight and 6:00 am, and again around noon. Many people erroneously attribute this mid-day sleepiness to their big lunch, sitting in a dark room, hot weather, or a boring meeting. However, these things do not cause sleepiness or “the itis,” they simply bring out the mild sleepiness that was already there from their intrinsic body clocks. “This is why cultures wiser than ours have picked that time for their siesta [or nap] time,” says Mahowald. So, my people, my people, gon’ head and let that $hit go please!
Black folks got all the rhythm – When one sees the prevalence of African-Americans in the music and dance industries, it can easily appear as though black people do have natural rhythm. In a nightclub or simply while listening to music, it is common to find people of African descent moving to the beat of the music in a way that appears innate. If a black person doesn’t have rhythm, it is a cause for shame or, potentially, a reference to “dancing like a white person.” So is it fact or fiction? It kinda depends. If black people have innate rhythm, it is likely because of environment, not birth, says Dr. Andrée Grau, professor of the anthropology of dance at the University of Roehampton in London. Children are often exposed to music and rhythm unknowingly. A child carried by his or her mother, as an infant, while she works around the house, or dances and sings to herself will have an experience different from a child who is not, says Grau. In certain cultures, this exposure continues at events such as parties, church services and theatrical events. So basically it comes down to rhythm-less people passing down their bad habits to their kids…that’s gotta suck, but we still gotta let that go because I’ve seen plenty non-black choreographers
Light skin/Dark skin Issues – *Yawn* You’re in the skin you’re in. I’m not even sure why this even matters anymore. It’s insane to me. My inherent darkness does not make me any better or worse than any one else. I’ve known this for about 27 of my 32 years. Black folks are the Crayola 64 pack of people. Our aforementioned history has allowed us to run the complexion gamut like very few races. (Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and Dominicans are other very colorful people.) Many however, seek to use our complexions as a point of contention as to how we are treated by one another. This has come up as an issue in various arenas from being a news anchor to a video vixen. This doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Colorism among blacks is just another hindrance that we should leave behind us and stop keeping track of if we want to get ahead. I think we should look at this particular issue as a vestigial remain like our wisdom teeth. When they/it aren’t bothering us things are fine but when the issue/teeth arises or acts up bad times will be had by all. We don’t need them for anything whatsoever. So yea, LET IT GO!
Who better than MJ? Do you have the inside scoop to a producer that is currently working on Lauren Hill’s next CD? Are you different? Is there a such thing as “the itis”? Are black people born with rhythm? Let me hear your feedback.
Thanks for tuning in….