Racial Stereotypes and Crude Labelling

by BrianYoKim on September 11, 2015 - 11:15am


I first decided to read this article post, because the title was appealing to me and felt straight forward. It caught my attention, since we had talked in class about stereotypes that certain races have in society today and the story seemed interesting. I finally chose this post, since I had read a few others made by various students, but this one’s summary was extremely clear. I didn’t even feel like it was necessary to go on the site and look into more detailed information, because I understood the whole original article. There were no point that were unclear or incomplete. In my opinion, this situation referring to black stereotype should have never happened. How is being black associated to stealing? How is someone’s skin color associated to being a thief? It simply blows my mind that such stereotypes are reinforced and actually used by people. As we have seen in class, race is an arbitrary system, and is not an actual term, although it is used in society, since it was socially constructed. The woman from the article only proved that racial classifications are actually a social construct, because she placed Dr.Ogunyemi in the black race, adding in stereotypes associated to it. Also, I would have to agree with BrianYoKim, in the fact that although what this woman did was, in my opinion, wrong, it was not deemed racist. As mentioned in class, racism is when a person exercises power over another, based on skin color, but this event, it does not fit this definition. It’s rather seen a racial stereotype on the woman’s part. However, I feel as though these stereotype can eventually promotes racism and discrimination. In conclusion, the article mentions that stereotypes are reinforced in the media, but I wonder how exactly they were started, and how we, as a society, can completely stop them from continuing.

I really enjoyed reading your paragraph and found it interesting that someone would think something like that for even a young person trying to do their work. I also agree with your part about how with social media has damaged our view of people and how to judge a person. All too frequently we assume because of their skin tone that they automatically fall into this stereotype society has created and this is only going to hinder the generations to come. However, to add to the title “Racial Stereotypes and Crude Labelling” you could have also included something about how gender plays a role in hospitals too. Men and women go through the same form of education and all the same obstacles to become doctors and when they finally reach having a job in the medical field, women are often paid less than men. There is a thing we learnt about in my class called the Gender Wage Gap (GWG), which is a calculation that uses census information to calculate the median male wage and the median female wage, in order to determine the disparity between the two. When they conducted the GWG for doctors, a lot of the time one of the main controlling factors is that female doctors will require maternity leave if they decide to have a child. This is a prime example for how Gender role plays a key part for doctors in their own hospitals too. There is a link that focuses on the subject of why female doctors earn less money for doing the very same job as male doctors, the currency is in Euros but it talks about the Gendered Wage Gap and shows statistically how high the gap is between both genders. So sadly, while racial profiling plays a role for doctors at their own hospitals, gender discrimination happens too.

Why do female doctors earn less money for doing the same job?

Firstly, I thought I should mention that I agree with your perspective on this issue and the root cause of it. I found it appropriate that you should specifically point out that the victim was an "African-American male," so that the topic would be opened up further to the possibility of gender having played a role in the old woman's opinion of Dr. Boluwaji Ogunyemi. Had the suspected victim been a woman, gendered norms would have led the old woman to react differently towards the Dr. since there's a different type of discrimination towards black men and women. Something I'd like to mention in this case would be the man-box. The man-box depicts men as being more aggressive and spontaneous than women in general which would explain why the woman's suspicions of him would otherwise be altered. As much as I concur with your opinion that social media only worsens our opinions on racial matters, I would simply like to add that there are many other reasons, such as gender, why situations like this and alike occur. The coined term I believe to be more appropriate in this case is gendered racism (link to the wikipedia page on gendered racism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gendered_racism)

Great job on your article and have a good day!

I have decided to comment your article , the topic of the article and the statement made is very strong. Being a black man , it caught my attention because you refer to us young black men as thieves. Another reason that your article has caught my attention is because we have discussed as a class about stereotype and racism in the media. Your article is clear, but can be taken the wrong way. As African american & canadian men , we are look at as thugs & thieves with wild minds , while the more proper black man is given less attention. Due to the fact that the media shows us being like gangsters most of the time,it impacted this article on the topic of black men because this is how the most people view us. To me , it is not racist but can be taken the wrong way if one does not put thought into the message given because it seems very targeted towards blacks. The author made this article very interesting and strong , by using media as the reason , he had avoided being racist. Very good article , strong message.

The real-life situation described within this article provides an excellent ground for the discussion of how intersectionality and stereotyping continue to play a major role in the wider perception of different races. The article also provides valuable insight into how gender can play a role within this process. I believe this situation clearly explains how a man who is part of a racial minority often faces the strong forces of marginalization and stereotyping within his everyday life. In this particular case, Dr. Ogunyemi is marginalized into the category of black masculinity; a category which is constantly associated with gangsters, violence and crime. I predict that had Dr. Ogunyemi been a woman, the situation would have been dramatically different as this marginalization and stereotyping is mostly associated with black males only.

This form of widespread marginalization and stereotyping is publicized mainly through the media in things like Hip Hop and Rap music. Although many of these resources claim to represent the real identity of Black males, quite often this is not the case, and the various components of nudity and violence within these media sources are specifically added for the music’s audience. It is also interesting to understand the fact that 60-70 percent of Rap and Hip Hop music consumers are in fact white males, hence derailing the assumption that the culture portrayed within such music is one which prevails to black male audiences only.

This cultural generalization in turn confuses many young black men as they face constant backlashes in regards to their racial identity. This confusion is described very well by black author and activist Ta-Nehisi Coates in his book “Between the World and Me”, “…my father beat me for letting another boy steal from me. Two years later, he beat me for threatening my ninth-grade teacher. Not being violent enough could cost me my body. Being too violent could cost me my body. We could not get out”. Here is some more information about Coates and his excellent book: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Between_the_World_and_Me

Therefore, I agree with you on the fact that as a society we should be working towards deconstructing these social assumptions and stereotypes as they marginalize individuals within those cultures in a completely wrong and ignorant manner.

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Between the World and Me. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2015. Print