by Dr. Phoenyx Austin
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 above. That’s why, as a black woman, I’m very mindful of my words and actions, while refusing to play into “black woman” stereotypes. I’m still genuine to who I am, and I don’t try to serve as the PR representative for an entire race of people. But I also recognize that because of the culture black women live in, it’s wise for us to be fully aware of how and why other individuals form opinions about us. This way, we’ll be fully equipped to recognize, not play into, and even tear down any negative stereotypes when the spotlight is on us. My advice to all black women is this: Be mindful of the image you want to portray. Here are 10 ways to end “black woman” stereotypes.
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.
How to end it: Be Less Defensive.
Yes, life can be unfair and black women are sometimes disrespected. Some Black women try to counteract this by 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. Don’t make it your life’s mission to “check” everyone that crosses your path.
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.
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.
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 hos
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.
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.
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.