Top 4 Black Tropes I’m Tired of Seeing

Hey all,

When reading other perspectives, it’s sometimes difficult to spot harmful stereotypes. Hell, I’m not perfect, I’ve too fallen victim of celebrating books, TV, etc that features annoying racist tropes.

I think it’s important for people to know the difference between culture and stereotypes and so here’s the top 4 black tropes I’m tired of seeing in books. 

**And I would like to note that this is in my personal experience as a black woman.**

 

Token Black Friend

Image result for token black friend

Have you read a book that features a white main character who has that sassy/comic relief black friend? Or are they the black friend that rises above all the negative stereotypes and becomes the Oreo of the group (white on the inside black on the outside)? Folks, that’s your token black friend. I’ve been one, I’ve seen them on TV,  I read them in books. It’s annoying and I’m begging for this trope to finally end.

The White Savior

Image result for examples of the white savior blind side

Probably my favorite. Are you reading in a white perspective that helps a black person rise up against adversity  No black (POC in general) don’t want White people’s help. It’s not beautiful, it’s not inspiring. It implies that Black people are incapable of succeeding without a white savior. Also, there can be POC heroes too. Shocker!

The Strong Black Woman 

Image result for strong black woman trope

Oh, this is my most hated one for a number of reasons. I know that the trope name should be a compliment towards black woman but it’s actually the opposite. People (non-black people) who believe that black woman are supposed to be this “strong independent black woman who needs no man” *snaps fingers in z formation* actually makes it seem that black woman doesn’t go through depression, anxiety, etc. It makes it seem like black woman are supposed to be strong 27/7 and that if we show a hint of weakness, we are no longer “black.” Throughout my whole life, I felt like I had to hide my mental illness due to society’s image of the strong black woman (whoops getting a little ahead of myself). I’m a big advocate on POC and mental health so this trope is my biggest pet peeve.

Using Coffee to describe Black Skin

Image result for black people and coffee

Get your venti iced skinny mocha macchiato, sugar-free syrup, extra shot, light ice, no whip ass out of here please.

What other culture stereotypes are you tired of seeing ? List them down below!

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Why Black History Month is important|BHM 2017

*I wrote this article for my school newspaper last year 2016 in response to the several students stating that black history month isn’t important.  

*{} means replaced word in the sake of this blog post

It’s February, you know what that means. No, not Valentine’s Day. It’s the themed month that was once prominent when we were younger, but now has been completely abandoned: Black History Month (BHM).

  BHM is known to commemorate African American achievements and culture. This month, inspired by Woodrow Wilson, used to be an event that occurred one week in February. However, after the civil rights movement came upon America and college campuses started to actively participate in the week, President Gerald R. Ford made the proclamation of having an official BHM.

    It’s quite astonishing that our {community| doesn’t promote this month. Yes, we may see posters of famous quotes from the voice of Dr. Martin Luther King JR. but that doesn’t do the month justice. When I was in elementary school, everyone was required to read a packet documenting the impact that African American had on America. We wrote essays about our favorite African American celebrities. But now, all of the established awareness seems to have disappeared into history.

  One reason why BHM is no longer as appreciated it used to be is that many believe that African Americans having their own month promotes racial superioritythis statement only proves how BHM has absolutely nothing to do with racial supremacy. The point of BHM is to reminds us of the dire endeavours that African Americans endured and how we should be grateful for their struggles, because without them, America wouldn’t be the “land of equality.” BHM signifies the unity as we rose above racial dominance.

  BHM needs to be celebrated. Although we are no longer in the civil rights era, African Americans are still discriminated against and stereotyped; BHM was originated from the intentions to eliminate these two horrific acts.

   Brigham Young University conducted a survey, where a caucasian male who painted his skin black, interviewed students about BHM. Most of them didn’t know which month was BHM, and when the interviewer asked what they did during the month, someone said, “We go off campus to and eat fried chicken and drink grape juice.” Another student said, “ [I] listen to some Jay-Z.” The video goes on to show people spouting other racial stereotypes, and even impersonating a “typical” black person. Although it was intended to be a joke, it depicted Americans as being extremely ignorant about African American culture. We should feel awfully embarrassed as the widely diverse country that we are.

 

   We, as a {country}, need to be more knowledgeable about important African American figures that helped shaped our society today. There’s more to BHM than celebrating Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X. What about civil rights leaders Bayard Rustin, Matthew Hensonwho co-discovered the North Poleand the renowned poet Maya Angelou? There are several black figures who don’t gain the recognition they deserve, due to the lack of gratitude towards BHM.

  BHM reminds us annually how African Americans have come from the days where they had to live in fear. If we don’t tell the old stories of black history to future generations, everything we know about black culture will eventually be obliterated.

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White authors having black protagonists?|A black reader perspective|BHM 2017

Happy start to Black History Month!

Note: I would like to note that all content expressed in this post comes from a matter of personal experience living in the United States, I don’t mean to offend any cultures and if I do, feel free to call me out in the comments since it’s crucial for one to be mindful of everyone’s experiences. This isn’t a white-hate post and I respect all backgrounds. 

Ah yes, an opinion right from the source…

If you would ask me this question a couple years ago, I would have been like “hey who cares, it’s fiction anyways!”

Now, I’m not so sure if that statement can justify white authors writing about black protagonists (POC in general but I’m using black people as an example since I’m black). I still sort of believe that white authors can write about who they want, but I think they have to put in a lot more effort and research since it’s a different culture who has faced oppression and still is today. They would have to do it right, something I feel can be complicated.

I read a book years ago (I’m totally blanking on the name it was like freshman year of high school, you’re the real MVP if you know what book I’m talking about) that a white woman wrote. It features a black female protagonist and a white love interest. This romance made me extremely uncomfortable. It made me uncomfortable because not that they are an interracial couple but the fact how they got together. It was a love/hate relationship but instead of cute flirtatious teasing, the boy was pretty racist. He would make comments about her skin color and he didn’t defend her when his friends were making harsh remarks because she was black. Yet, love wins and they develop feelings for each other and all her problems are solved.

What.The.Hell.

I was like no no no! This seemed weird and wrong to me. I don’t get how someone can just ignore the fact that they are racist. The whole, “love can change someone” is bullshit to me. As a black woman, I don’t think I can personally easily forgive something like that. Honestly, now the book seemed like the classic “The white saves the black” / “The blind side” situations. When the couple get together, no one talked shit about her or her skin color.

Flash-forward to now. More book reviewers are now dedicating their reading to #ownvoices. I wonder if a black author would have wrote that book. Would she/he would have used racism as “love” devise. Or would he/she have taken a different approach at a very sensitive topic and would have been more credible since he/she would have most likely faced racism in their lives?

I was reading what from a white author’s point of view, who thought that this is a healthy interracial relationship looks like (well in my opinion and who is coming from a family full of interracial marriages, this isn’t healthy).

This has made me hesitant to read from white authors who have POC protagonists (black specifically). It has put me off from reading The Help and Robin Talley’s Lies We Tell Ourselves –which sounds similar to the book I read years ago.

I  know there’s arguments on how a authors should “look past the race” and be “color blind” but I feel that’s silly. It’s denying the oppression POC has faced, denying their experiences and assimilating to popular culture. I really hate the colorblind excuse.

I would also like to note that black authors who write books with black protagonist are always going to be accurate. I don’t believe that you can’t discredit them because it’s their experience, their culture. Yes, I might read in a black POV that is different from my experience, but that’s because black people face different experiences, but they are all valid. A white author writing about their experiences are therefore not completely valid since they never had a black experience. 

In reality, authors can write about whoever they want. However, when it comes to sensitive topics and comfort, I think reading from a black author that’s about black people is better for me personally. It’s more legitimate and the experience itself is more authentic. I love that white authors are adding more diverse characters to their stories, but I feel reading in an #ownvoices perspective is worthwhile.

What do you think? Can/should white authors write books with black protagonists? 

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