Don’t be Stereotypical.

I know every girl has had a stereotype placed upon her throughout her life. I am pretty sure as a young woman of color, you heard that you were either aggressive, sassy, outspoken, a sexual object, a mother figure, a hot a**/ a fast a**, to grown for your age, not smart, do anything to fit in with others, or just plain ole crazy. Stereotypes are just pure ignorance within itself.

These stereotypes that are placed upon us actually makes us emotional because they are false statements . People make these generalizations rather than taking the time out to realize that one action by a community does not mean it categorize every individual within the community.

Being that we are young women of color, we have to realize that we need to correct people when they make ignorant or negative comments. Yes, I understand that we feel like we educate people too much about who we are, but hey it’s better than having the person repeat the same ignorant comments over and over again. It’s best to not fall victim to ignorance, but actually reflect on your emotions and then respond.

Stereotypes can be damaging and empowering. Stereotypes can be damaging because it can generalize a whole community in a negative view. These negative stereotypes can be problematic because everything is based on perspective and sometimes some points of view impact how we treat people. However, we can use these stereotypes to encourage others to not fall into these stereotypes and not to be the typical “role”. Also, its okay if we embody and prove the positive stereotypes correct.

In addition, Tyler Perry uses stereotypes about women of color by applying it to some of his characters. The thing with the Tyler Perry’s “ stereotypes” is that they may be overused or they can be plain ole stereotypical, but they relate to someone. Someone’s life is exactly the same to those characters that Tyler Perry uses in his movies and shows. He sometimes uses these stereotypes to exaggerate what may or may not have been history of women of color. Tyler Perry said himself that he would never really know what it is like to be a black or Latina woman because he is a black male. People may see his work as being good and bad. He gives us a mixture of reality with some stereotypes that we as young women deal with on a daily bases.

A member of BBF shared that people love to say she’s ghetto because she is from the hood and are beyond surprised when she begins to speak or when they see her success and accomplishments. She finds it sad that these stereotypes are applied to her because of her race and skin tone. Another member stated that she knows she is a loud person, but she isn’t loud because she’s Puerto Rican. She never knew how to whisper, so she is just loud. When she is loud around others, people joke around and say she’s loud because she is a Latina (this example comes from people on her campus and even in her family). She knows that she is loud because she chooses to, not because of her race .

Never fall victim to a person’s ignorant or sterotypical comment. You define yourself, no one else can define you.

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We can each define ambition and progress for ourselves. The goal is to work toward a world where expectations are not set by the stereotypes that hold us back, but by our personal passion, talents and interests.

Sheryl Sandberg

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