10 Ways to End “Black Woman” Stereotypes


Portrait of Smiling African American Woman

Every race has its stereotypes. And we’re all aware of the stereotypes directed at black women. There are stereotypes that depict us all as ghetto, loud, argumentative, bitter, etc. I don’t like to be stereotyped-especially negative stereotypes likes the ones I’ve listed below. That’s why, as a black woman, I’m very mindful of my words and actions. NOTE: This story appeared on Madamnoire.com, I (Sabrina) did not write this post, but I agree with it — hence why I posted it on my personal blog.

Stereotype: Angry
How to end it: Smile- Black women are often stereotypes as being angry. And sometimes many of us do walk around with scowls on our faces. And this, for some people, confirms their suspicions about us being angry and bitter. But combating this myth doesn’t take much. In fact, one simple and highly effective way of dispelling this myth is by smiling. Smiling instantly makes you and the people around you more comfortable.

{RELATED ARTICLE: 15 Interesting Facts About Smiling}

Stereotype: Argumentative
Be Less Defensive- Yes, life can be unfair and black women are sometimes disrespected. Some Black women try to counteract this by being overly aggressive with everyone they interact with. I don’t think it’s necessary- and there are better ways to handle people than by trying to dominate them. Furthermore, not everyone is out to take advantage of and/or disrespect you. Don’t make it your life’s mission to “check” everyone that crosses your path.

Stereotype: Loud
How to end it: Listen- My friend’s grandfather used to say,“Only a fool got something to say about everything.” And I completely agree.

Stereotype: Always on CP Time
How to end it: Be on time. We may joke about it among ourselves, but operating under CP Time can damage your personal and professional reputation

Stereotype: Unprofessional
How to end it: Be mindful of your environment. It’s not cute to be the co-worker that talks like they’re at their girlfriend’s house, when they’re at work. While a certain tone and speech is appropriate for certain settings- it may not be for another. Be a black woman who’s mindful of your environment and the people around you.

Stereotype: Uneducated
How to end it: Be a well-rounded woman. I think it’s important to be a well-rounded black woman, because you’ll be the type of woman that can hold a conversation in various circles. If you’re the type of woman that loves a Lil’ Wayne song, also be the type of woman that can name the three branches of government

Stereotype: Black women are hoes
How to end it: Dress like a lady. As Black women (and women in general), we can’t dress “loose,” and then get mad if we’re objectified by men and labeled as over-sexed. In order to get respect, we should act and look like you’re worthy of respect.

Stereotype: Ghetto
How to end it: Don’t model ignorance. Media has definitely helped to perpetuate a perception of black women. And while it’s fun to enjoy some of the television drama and antics on shows like “The Real Housewives of Atlanta”, realize that the goal is purely entertainment. Don’t use some behaviors (and you know what I’m talking about) that you see on shows like RHOA as models for personal etiquette.

Stereotype: Superficial
How to end it: Be a woman of substance. Occupations like “professional gold-digger” shouldn’t be on your list of aspirations. Be the type of women that works for, and deserves what she has.

Stereotype: Unwed, baby-factories
How to end it: Make it a priority to establish a relationship before making a baby. Seventy-percent of black children are being born to unwed, single black mothers. Being a single mother is hard. Stability (having both parents actively involved) is important in raising a child, and phrases like “baby daddy” and “baby momma” make light of this issue and glorify a dysfunction in the black community.

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7 thoughts on “10 Ways to End “Black Woman” Stereotypes

  1. Good tips that I mostly agree with–simply be respectable! Unfortunately, the politics of respectability aren’t that effective. The very nature of a stereotype is that people apply them without knowing someone. So someone who employs stereotypes will see your pretty, smiling, modestly dressed self and still assume you to be whorish, ghetto, uneducated, ad nauseum. It’s like telling someone, ‘Don’t dress flashy and you won’t get raped,’ or ‘Don’t act inferior and you won’t face discrimination.’ It’s simply untrue, because stereotyping is part of the aggressor’s behavior, not the person being stereotyped.

  2. Yep, I agree. *sigh* But I do make a concerted effort in ‘those situations’ to rid myself of the stereotype. It’s not much effort, but more conscious. I’m def not the sambo in the room, but I know how to work my surroundings as to not feed into that stereotype. And it’s unfortunate that we can’t be human to your point, we can’t be sad some days, but that societal standard is ingrained in the said aggressor’s mind. And if I can alleviate that just a little.. I’m pleased with myself to have contributed to eradicating that stereotype.

  3. As a black women, I’m sooooo over being singled out in this manner. Society is obsessed with us for good and bad(reality tv) reasons. But, in my opinion the best way to deal with “black women” stereotypes is to simply stop defending them. Continuing to do so only fuels the very flawed theory. Got an issue with sisters? Well, keep it moving because we certainly will.

    • I’d rather not remain idol and have society tell me what they think of me… I’d rather change their perceptions in my little way. I get it… you’re tired of us being singled out, but it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

      I’ll give the example of Lupita Nyong’o, and how i read an article about how her ‘complexion’ is a role model!?! What about her intellect, her accomplishments, her talent, her fierce dress??? Her skin complexion has nothing to do with it…

  4. I think it is a mistake to adjust my behavior based on someones’ stereotypical view of me. The answer lies in connecting with our spirit within and allowing our spirit to define us. We must live life from the inside out and not the outside in. We must first define our value and then live it.

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