Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Can't Judge A Book By It's Cover, Debunking Stereotypes (#TheSW30) Day 19

I find it very funny that so many people go around claiming they are not biased or they do not have stereotypes about other people.  But it is through my life experiences, that I would come to beg a differ.  Even among Christians we have our own stereotypes. We look at people and we automatically assume things about them because of how they look.

For example, I am a African American female.  I am also a single mother, and was raised by a single mother.  With just those two facts alone people would assume that I am poor, on welfare, grew up poor, or come from some dysfunctional family background.

Today’s blogging challenge focuses on telling you something that you do not know about me.  I want to actually tell you a lot that you do not know about me.  I think when I encounter people and they just assume the worse, at this point and time I let them.  I have been battling stereotypes and trying to prove my competence for as long as I can remember.  It comes to a point and time that I just give up.

Who wants always prove they are smart?

Or just because they are black they did not grow up with drive bys?

I think I used to go out of my way to try to show people the real me.  But it is very unfortunate that people are only going to see what they want to see, and they are only going to assume what they want to assume.  And 9 times out of 10, that means assuming the worse about me.

The first thing I would like people to know about me is that I DID NOT grow up poor.  I can recall at the last placed I worked I was having a conversation with two fellow co-workers who were white.  One made a comment about poor people. One of the co-workers looked at me as the comment was made and expected me to get offended.  Like because I was black, I must have been poor, and therefore I should get offended about the comment about poor people.

In fact, she brought the comment up many times to see how I would react to it.  It was like just in case I did not catch the “poor people” comment the first time, let’s bring it up again, so she could address any feelings that I had.

Each time she would bring up the comment I would just look at her.  In fact I more than likely grew up with more money than she had.  I did not feel the need to tell her this, but it is crazy that just because I am black, I must be poor.

The truth of the matter was that when growing up I was a complete and utter spoiled brat (still am).  I had everything that I wanted.  Due to my mother being in the military I  lived in places likes Atlanta, Hawaii, Texas, Belgium, Virginia, Kentucky... And lived in an upper middle class neighborhoods most of the time. In fact, many of my friends from high school are European since I lived on an international base.

My life was very stereotypical, I went to a high school in which most people had cars and when I turned 16 I had a car as well.  I cannot ever remember going without anything let alone my mother being on welfare! In fact you may be surprised to learn that my mother has a Master’s degree.  Yes! Another single black female with an advanced degree.  Quite shocking!

The fact of the matter is most of my schools were mostly white.  I would be very shocked to count more than 15 black people who graduated from my senior class in high school, of a class that had more than 500.  And I went to a very big high school, our freshman class had something over 1,500 people. I can recall growing up being one of those black people who was the only black person in the class.

I had one of the moments like in the movie “Freedom Writers” where she was the only black person in her AP class.  And the teacher asked her about slavery or something.  No lie, that happened to me.  When I was the only black person in class, I would sometimes be the black spokes person for all historical African American events all through time.  

Very uncomfortable.

Most people would also be shocked to know that I am very nerdy on the low.  I think people would be shocked to know that I could have finished high school a half a year early but decided not to.  I think people would be shocked to know that I finished my undergraduate degree at VCU in only three years.  People would defiantly be shocked to know that I have a Master’s degree and in the last stages of my PhD.

It is funny, only 4% of people get a PhD in this nation.  I would love to know the stats for how many black women who have their PhD.  I think you may be looking at her (mild joke). But it seems that it is very shocking to people to learn that I actually have a brain inside my head.  In fact, some men I have dated, and came right out and said this.  Like “hey your pretty smart.”  Like is was rare or something.

In fact, I think God created me to write.  I love to write.  If you click on my blog here, you will see that I maintained a dairy for most of my teenage years.  I even write music.  I also write this blog and have written my own book.  In an interview once I was speaking about my hobbies.  The woman looked at me as if I had lost my mind, because I was telling her that writing was a hobby.

I would also like to tell you that my grandparents are from the backwoods of Alabama.  And I mean like they grew up like picking cotton share croppers in Alabama.  But because they wanted a better life my grandfather join the military where he was an international traveler as well. He retired as an E-9 which is very high for a black people during that time frame.

If you read my blog, then you know I am a home owner of a house in which was built once I bought it. So that should not be too shocking, But just in case you do not read my blog now you know.

 When most people meet me they seem to think that I am some weak person without a voice.  But it is oh so the opposite.  I pride myself on not being weak, and just because I am not always speaking I do have a voice.  In fact, when most people see me get angry, it is shocking to them, because of how vocal I am.  This is not about be lashing out and fighting everyone or anything crazy like that.  But I am able to say my mind, how I feel, and hold no whims about it.  I am very comfortable with who I am as a person and do not really care about what other people think.

On the flip side I am very forgiving.  Call it a God given talent, but I am able to get over things quite fast and forgive people for it like nothing ever happened.  This does not mean that I allow people to abuse me time and time again.  This is a difference from forgiving and being your idiot.

This post is getting a lot longer than I intended it to be.  But the main point that I want to make is, never judge a book by its cover.  So many people have judged me by my cover and it is to their own detriment.  There have been times that I have been in a position to help people out, but opted not to because of how they have judged me or treated me.

There have been times where I have opted not to deal with people because they have judged me, and were so oblivious to their stereotype, that they did not even know they were being judgmental.

At the end of the day, you never know who your are talking to, who you are looking at, and who can help you.  But sad to say that you may never get that far, because of the fact that you have put a label on someone without really getting to know them.  This has happened to me in public, on jobs, with friends, and dealing with other people.

There are times where I am sure they maintain their judgments and time where they found out about the real me through other people and regret trying to fit me into the “angry, poor, black, woman” mold.

Our world is way to diverse to to sit and generalize people.  Once I was in Saks Fifth Avenue and another black women who worked was giving me the third degree because she felt like I was going to take something.  Upon conversation she found out I had a good job and was a college graduate.  She told me “ wow I did not expect that.”  And this was from another black person!!!!

Do not be that person.  And as a Christian, why would you want to be.  I am convinced that when we go to heaven a lot of people are going to be upset and disappointed when they stand before God and have to answer to all the nonsense they did and the way they treated people.  Weather you felt they were a big deal or not.

When Jesus was on Earth and they asked him the biggest commandment of them all, out of the 10 commandment that Moses gave.  Jesus said:

“ Jesus replied: ‘

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Matthew 22:36-40

I think if some of us really reflected on what we are doing, we are not loving our neighbor as ourselves.  We are judging them and stepping on them, because we do not feel like they meet our expectations.

I am sure when Oprah was 15 years old, most people around her did not think this obese black women would amount to anything.  But boy were they wrong.  Just saying.