Being Black in America

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As I sit here and think about what it is to be Black in America. I realize how there are so many factors that affect African American people daily. One of the most damaging forces tearing at young black people in America today is the popular culture's image of what an "authentic" black person is supposed to look like and how that person is supposed to act. People assume all black males where raised in a single parent home. People assume that if you are a black male, that you sale drugs or you are really great in some type of sport. If you are a black female, they assume you will have kids by different men, referred to as “baby daddy” or they may not even know who the fathers of their children are. This same society expects African Americans’ to be uneducated, and having a lack of knowledge of their government or their surroundings in life. However, if another African American points out that this so-called culture is defeatist and damaging, because it leads to high drop-out rates, record black-on-black murder statistics and a record number of out-of-wedlock births is dismissed as a prude and a censor. Anyone questioning lyrics that glorify violence and make it cool to treat women as sex toys is told that the words reflect the reality of black life, and that they are "acting white." They are called lame or frowned upon because they do not delight in the same type of life style. I am here to state that we are not who they say we are. All black men and women do not sell drugs or live on welfare. All black men and women, do not rob, steal or murder from their neighbors. All black men and women do not play sports and we do not all have children, without the means to take care of them. I am not what they say I am. I am better then what they ever expected. We are better than what they could ever imagine, being black in America could be. For example, take a moment and turn the television channel on VH-1, MTV, or BET and you will notice hip-hop music videos that celebrate the "Thug Life" and "gangster" attitude for any young black person seeking strong racial identity. You will see money being slung around as though there is no value in the essence of working hard for it. You will notice in the video that women are being degraded, and treating as less than the black queens they are, due to lack of self of esteem or lack of what it means to have a self-image that is positive and motiving. It’s very concerning that they chose to highlight black men, and not the entire race. Or even other minority races, for that matter I suppose the stereotype of a black man is the most pronounced as a terrifying gangster, super athlete, or lazy among other race. But I would like to see the world through a black woman’s eyes too. And I would like to see what they see. I would like to see the world through any young black person eyes, to see what they make of what it’s like to be Black in America. Young black people are the most upset about the way black Americans are portrayed on television and in the movies. Blacks under the age of 50 are much more likely to say media images of black people are worse today than they have ever been, in the past decade. Similarly, when asked if the portrayal of black people on television and in the movies is harmful, it is young black people who most likely scream "Yes!" More than half (54 percent) of 18- to 29-year-old African Americans say black people are presented in a negative way in movies and TV shows, which is demeaning and down grading to what they really see and how they live in reality. Note that in every age group, the level of outrage about troubling images in movies and on TV is far less than the alarm over the corrosive impact of rap and the hip-hop community. However, many race and ethnicities have had their own share of struggles while certainly all immigrants have had their fair share of obstacles to overcome, one factor, the African American immigration history, sets...
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