Sunday, June 6, 2010

Why Do Stereotypes Offend Us?

I've lived with and worked with many men of many races, religions and cultural backgrounds. Most notably in college, 4 guys + moi in a duplex apartment, which I called my, "Real World Apartment" bc it was the most diverse set of personalities I've ever had under one roof. Aside from a few conflicts of ideology on tidiness, we all got along very well, but we were THE most stereotypical band of ppl ever assembled since the power rangers. More stereotypical than GI JOE.

Roll Call:

The Irish Guy - Who drank every night...and most days.
The Chinese/Asian Guy - AKA Guy Downstairs, AKA The Man under the stairs. He never left his room. The only time we saw him was through an opening over the wall/partition as you're walking up the stairs. Whenever everyone else is hanging out in the living room, we'd hear random punchlines and funny snaps coming from under the stairs. LOVE EM! BTW, he watched anime and played videogames all day long. I'm convinced he installed a bathroom on his pc. We all went to the same school, 3 art students, 1 architect and one engineer. Take a wild guess what major he was? Ok, you'd accuse me of exaggerating if I said he was good at math too, huh?
Sidenote: I don't know if he had a car bc we lived in Tribeca, but I'd bet money it was a regular or souped up Honda civic.
Black Guy #1
- Southern Black American from "Bawlmormyrrrlin", who fried EVERYTHING and ate fried chicken almost every day.
Sidenote: Translation: Baltimore, Maryland. Here's some ignorant, obnoxious New Yorker insight okay. To us.........EVERYTHING south of Newark, is SOUTHERN.
The Jewish Guy - Who was notoriously meticulous with money, penny pincher and really cheap. He handled all the bills so we'd all pay him. Most distinctly, I vividly recall an incident where he haggled black guy #1 bc he was 3 cents short on the phone bill. I literally picked up 3 cents off of the carpet (see previous comment about ideology on tidiness) and handed it to him, but he refused it and demanded #1 pay him.
Which leads us to....last but definitely not stereotypical least.....
Black Guy #2 (Gee I wonder who) - Brooklyn born Caribbean (or as one of my friends former racist Korean landlord would say "SAME KINDA BLACK!") who rapped, breakdanced, danced all the time, burned incense, blasted rap, reggae and soca music the few times he was actually home and had cornrows or a massive afro............from the hoooooooooood!!!! OH! And who also was the loud angry short-tempered member of the group.

Not to say that we represent the archetype of our respective cultures, but I could sit here and list a few dozen other cases. So over the years I've come to the conclusion that most stereotypes that we say about each other.............ARE TRUE! Not for everyone, but many are rooted in truths for large majorities of the population. If that's the case, why do we get so offended by them? Kumbaya little Timmy, that is a great question. I think I have an answer for you (where would we be without good old Timmy? He asks more questions than the rest of you). Quite simply, human beings don't take critique well from strangers. Forget critique, we're not a fan of any commentary period. No matter how true or un-true it may be. I've actually heard a female compliment my friend's outfit and she said to me "I don't need this bitch's opinion." It's the same concept of you calling your pal stupid, a slut, bitch, Laker fan, and then you turn around and get offended when a complete stranger says the same thing. That's one reason why I don't like the n-word and I think it lurks one of the greatest hypocrisy of my people. If you want to use the word all day and night, don't get mad at anyone outside of the race for using it.

After confronting all these racists online and in videogame online, I've learned to tune out the outsiders bc at the end of the day their opinions really don't matter. Why award a total stranger the power and privilege of ruining your day with their words?

Sticks and stones folks. Sticks and stones.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I saw a t-shirt that stated "you ARE entitiled to MY opinions" so after reading this blog I couldn't help to shake my head at myself. I'm guilty on all charges: stereotyping, generalizing, gender bashing even astrological sterotyping ( all Leo males are ... I'm just a convicted felon roaming around quick to recite my pro, anti, don't you even dare isms. KP