Returning to the race topic, not because I love talking about it but because it makes me feel somewhat uncomfortable and pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones is good.
I also do think we have become too p.c. in how we tackle racial tensions. I agree we should be speaking of them delicately, but honestly. And like I already touched on in my last post, I also think that white people should talk about racism more because the discussion seems to be dominated by other races. I should clarify that I don’t mean that white people should be talking about racism from an angle of guilt, because why should anyone take the blame for something they themselves are not guilty of, and perhaps also feel victim of. What I do mean, is that the racism conversation cannot be one-dimensional or it’s not going to go anywhere but round in circles. Where concerning race, white people should be engaging in conversations of what it means to be white, and to have white privilege and/or white guilt, the way other racial groups engage in what it means to be black/brown/Asian etc. In a sense, we cannot heal unless we do it together.
Writing this reminds me of a conversation I overheard the other day whilst in a grocery shop. I was by the till and ahead of me in the queue was a white couple.
“Grab some chewing gum also please,” the woman said to her partner who was standing nearer the gum section.
“Which one do you want?” He asked.
“The black one over there,” she replied pointing at a black chewing gum packet.
“Feeling naughty eh,” her partner teased to which she side-glanced at me and punched his ribs.
Make of that what you will, but it made me reflect over sexual and racial stereotypes. Of how just hearing the word black (or blonde or mixed race or Latin) can bring sexual images to people’s minds.
I started to wonder, what are the sexual stereotypes out there? And well, I’m just touching on this topic for now, and focusing on female stereotypes to start with but I’ll no doubt be elaborating in future as I’m curious to explore the topic further. Not through physical research so no need to send any offers, thank you 😉
There’s the mixed race femme fatale, who like the original femme fatale, Eve, is beautiful and exotic but also vulnerable, unattainable and troublesome. Or the archetype blonde bombshell, who is tempting and independent, but uses her innocent beauty to lure men of all races into her nest, only to manipulate them to cheat and lie often to their own detriment. Or the black beauty, whose ethereal symmetry and amazonian figure resembles the beauty of earth itself, and just like earth she is wild and motherly and may be abused and loved simultaneously. Not forgetting the Latina, passionate like a volcano to start with, but once you have her, as loyal as a dog.
These are my (incomplete) impressions of racial stereotypes of women, and many are missing, (list in comments if any come to mind), but when I think about the people I know in these particular categories, they might physically possess these qualities but the rest has absolutely nothing to do with reality.
When you think of sexualized racial stereotypes as described above, do similar images come to mind or is your perception different?
Interesting! I do agree that we should talk frankly about race. White people experience racism too. Witness the recent discussions on whether or not white people can be African in the media.
However, I think it’s a big ask for us to tackle it “delicately but honestly”. With the internet and mass media those who shout the loudest get heard and those are often the hysterical, crazed minority with extreme views. I live in hope, though. I think we have a long way to go in dealing with each other delicately and honestly in all areas of life, long before we even begin to tackle the race issue.
In terms of stereotypes, I would actually widen it to say that women universally face the Madonna/whore complex. But one racial stereotype would be for Middle Eastern women, particularly when they choose to wear the veil or burkha, to be stereotyped as either a victim or an extreme Muslim and a threat, at least in the West. It’s this politicisation of women’s dress, hair (eg are you a natural sistah or a creamy crack relaxer traitor)and very identities that I find cuts across racial lines.
Sorry to be so long!
Thanks for all the apt points you raise, not too long at all!
I was thinking of sexual stereotypes,so I think where muslim women who wear the veil are concerned it’s almost as though they escape the sexualization attempt, perhaps due to that very reason. Which is very interesting I must say.
Cerebral Soul says
I feel this is well written and addresses the peripherals of the stereotypes we are all subjected to. Even caucasian are subjected to the easy lay will do anything stereotypes but the reality is far from the truth.
As you so eloquently put it. What we find is that it generally has nothing to do with the individual being subjected as we are all products of an ever changing cultural and sociological dynamic which is what’s informing our ever altering perspectives. I’d like to see further exploration.
Long as u love YOURSELF, that’s what matters!
Black woman who can move her hips and waist = video ho. Doesn’t help that a lot of the moves from the continent that require some sort of coordination with legs, arms etc are reduced to people just standing there and saying look at my bum bounce up and down. That’s not dancing…
Good post! I agree that white people should talk more about race also. Here in Sweden no one talks about it. Well, I remember you wrote that you have lived here so you know.
When it comes to sexual stereotypes you didn’t mention the Asian woman. Exotic and submissive.
I’ve just stumbled upon this post and I have to say I agree with you. I think in the ad is most prevalent how mixed race people are being sexualized due to their ‘exotic’ features.
Btw: trust your instincts; they exist for a reason. If you THINK you’re experiencing racism and/or sexism, you PROBABLY ARE. Don’t allow others gaslight you and make you doubt your own mind. Most importantly: it’s worse to EXPERIENCE racism and sexism than to be called racist or sexist. It’s nice to apologize if you’re wrong but don’t dwell on it, doubt yourself, or allow others to make you that things in society are better than they ACTUALLY are. Being realistic doesn’t mean you can’t try to make the best out of your situation while fighting to improve it.