Kim Wayans parodied Crystal Waters’ famous track “Gypsy Woman” in the comedy sketch show “In Living Color”. The line I remember from that sketch goes a little something like this.
Kim: You’ll keep buying my music… because you’re mindless… like me you’re mindless.
How many times have you found yourself believing something that you “knew” to be true based on things you’ve heard. This bit of information is a “stereotype” A stereotype is a fixed impression of a group of people through which when then perceive specific individuals. In this big world, our hearts and minds are largely influenced by the television. TV teaches us quite a few bits of information. TV tells us that most gay men are feminine men, who are hairdressers, nail technicians, female impressionists, and drag artists. What’s more…Not a single actor I’ve seen portrays a gay man that isn’t a critical fussbudget. That’s really depressing. Neil Patrick Harris, who plays Barney on How I Met Your Mother is gay man playing a straight womanizer. He’s quite funny doing this, but that’s not the point. In every formulaic Tyler Perry production, there’s a black woman who plays the trademark damsel in distress who hasn’t found a good man, or who’s a clubhopper, or she’s got bills and doesn’t know how she’s going to get them paid. Not once have I seen a single mother who has a good job, a decent family, and the ability to pay all her bills. Entertainment seems to only reinforce the stereotypes that we are trying to change. With the stereo blaring, we are still holding on to our past for dear life. When I met my spouse yet another stereotype took shape.I heard that most black people decorate their homes very distastefully. Am I to assume that a black family’s home is bad taste because black people don’t value their homes as much as whites.
It’s too easy for a misinformed person to assume that one generalization applies unequivocally to a class of people. No one person is the same. While we all are certainly human beings, we are not going to have the same likes and dislikes, pet peeves, or understandings.
Please evade the mindless stereo. When you consider people, consider them with respect to their individual selves.