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Don’t Be the “Typical African American”

Hey, it’s George. Just recently I received the news that there is a “Typical African American." According to my friends, because I haven’t seen old “Black” movies like Don’t be a Menace, I’m “too” smart, I have two jobs, I don’t like hot sauce, I don’t eat McDonalds and other fast-food fare, and I try not to drink sugar-sweetened beverages - I’m not the “Typical African American." As a matter of fact, in their words, I’m not even black. I get criticized because I don’t do things that supposedly all “Blacks do". I didn’t know that all blacks have to watch black movies. I didn’t know that all blacks have to put hot sauce on almost everything. I didn’t know that all blacks can’t be “too” smart (seriously - I can’t even believe someone said this to me). I definitely didn’t know that just because I’m black should want to eat unhealthy fast- food, drink lots of sugary drinks all the time and eventually become obese or diagnosed with diabetes or some other chronic disease.

Personally, I’m tired of seeing some of my African American friends being the “Typical African American,” eating unhealthy, worrying about the present instead of the future, and dying before their parent’s due to violence, diabetes, obesity, or the leading cause of death in America, heart disease. I don’t understand how people can be happy with being the so called “Typical African American." I’m more upset with African Americans settling for what they are being portrayed as and accepting the stereotypes as their only reality. I’m tired of being portrayed as something I’m not. I’m tired of seeing fast-food restaurants everywhere because that’s what marketers think blacks want or can afford. I’m tired of seeing certain foods and drinks on sale because it’s Black History Month. For example, see the picture Carissa recently took at her local supermarket:  (http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.160268670651096.36654.100000038934728&type=1#!/photo.php?fbid=234316323320651&set=a.178850575533893.46940.160587544026863&type=1&theater ). Seriously, I’m tired of seeing African Americans not being open to certain things, foods, etc.  because they think that’s not what African Americans do or eat.

To my friends and to everyone else - don’t play into the stereotypes that have been created about what other black teens do, eat, or drink. Do you really want to be what some refer to as the “Typical African American?” Be different! If you think I’m kidding or need a reminder of the types of stereotypes people have associated with the “Typical African American,” visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stereotypes_of_African_Americans

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George, SHIFT Crew Leader

 

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