I call it "new" discrimination, but it's really not new. Picture two kids: One is into Mos Def, watches 106 and Park everyday, dreams of starting a record label, and rocks Air Force 1's with a white tee. The other is into System of A Down, watches The Office obsessively, plans on starting a news website, and is mostly known for flip-flops and jeans.
Both of these kids are black.
The latter daily falls victim to what I dubbed "the new discrimination". I have both witnessed and practiced it myself. This new discrimination is the act of having a negative perception of one's own race because of not fitting certain stereotypes. Loosely, it means hating on somebody for not being "black enough", be it in speech, clothing, or habits.
I was greatly offended once when a white coworker told me I wasn't really black. Why did he say that? Is it my love for soccer, varied taste in music, or speech? How about the fact that I vote, have a job, don't get welfare, or read? Do those things make me less black? I almost punched him dead in his mouth when he said that.
But what happens when black people do the same thing to each other? Have you ever looked down on someone for doing things you consider faux pas- like using "faux pas" instead of "questionable" or "suspect"?
For example, I almost cut off a friend of mine when I found out she owned Jerry Senfield's stand up DVD, but had never even seen a Chris Rock special. (Read it again, and yes, she's black)
In my head, I was like "what the $#@*?", but had to take a step back. How many times have I been ridiculed for similar reasons, be it accent, Star Wars obsession, or whatever. It's like I'm too black for most, but not black enough to others. It's ironic- the very stereotypes we hate to be forced upon us, we apply to each other.
I've taken a step back to re-examine my reactions. From now on, if a black person wants to listen to country music, vote Republican, or watch Laguna Beach, they can do it without fear of judgment from me.
I would advise the same for all my brothers and sisters. Before you look down on someone for doing things you consider "white", think twice. Ask yourself- "If a white person said this to me, would I punch them in the mouth?" Besides, we all could stand to expand our horizons a little, and System of a Down be jamming. Love.
Posted by J