Let’s talk about profiling and stereotypes!

We all know them, Blacks like chicken, Puertoricans like rice & beans, Asians are good at math.

At some point or another we have all been guilty of employing them, that’s right, myself and you reading this article right now included!  Some people argue, and to a degree rightfully so, that though offensive and hurtful, stereotypes are usually based on some form of the truth. Here is a comment I saw on a Facebook post when we were debating stereotypes and profiling. This came about due to a discussion on the Trayvon Martin shooting incident, and though the comment is kind of mean and harsh, the person speaks undeniable truth here:

Do you know why people assume you grew up fatherless? Or finished school? etc etc? Its bc many of the black community does not, its a fact, and facts are not rascist or profiling, they simply are. Good for those of you who are changing trends, but do not be upset that people assume the sky is blue and do a double take when it turns green for an instant

It is difficult to make a convincing argument otherwise. I’m sorry, and I hate to admit it, but in my community this was absolutely true. Not only regarding the blacks in my community, but the same applies to the Latino community as well. We wrote about that specific topic here on Latinos and fatherhood. And you know what else? I LOVE RICE AND BEANS, that stereotype is damn true! And another thing, nobody could make a better arroz con habichuela dish than my mother!

I was talking with someone on twitter who was told “She doesn’t act Puertorican!”  I wondered, how does a Puertorican act?

“Mira nene ven paca y deja de joder, chacho, Mira, Mira, Mira, Mira”….

She’s a smart girl, educated, speaks proper English, and she writes poetry. Perhaps she should have went Ghetto Bronxstyle Puertorican, taken out some vaseline and put it on her face, then slapped the crap out of the idiot that made the statement!  The person could then say, “Oh yeah, she’s really Puertorican!” as they nurse the scratches on their face.

Unfortunately, being smart, speaking properly, being a poet and doing good things isn’t the norm in our communities. Thereby “she isn’t being Puertorican”, she wasn’t following normal behavior for someone her age. As a Latina teenager she’s supposed to be pregnant, dropped out of school, and smoking weed. Right?

If you are a minority member, such as a Puertorican and you are trying to do well, you end up being called “wanna be white” and or a “sellout” in the community.  I lived that one myself, that’s what you get for trying to walk the right path in areas that are poverty stricken with a large criminal element. This sentiment usually comes from your own people, the outsiders on the other hand will say exactly what the young lady above experienced “Wow, are you really Puertorican?”.  It’s sad, but as I said I experienced this often myself. Does this offend you? You don’t like it? Well, what are you doing to change it? How are you helping the community?

In some cases profiling is necessary and can even save your life. For instance, if statistics say “Latinos are more likely to have heart trouble after 30”, wouldn’t you want your doctor to profile you in that sense and check your heart? If you are above 30, and you are Latino, it only makes sense that he should check your heart given those facts and statistics.

It’s a shame that stereotypes classify an entire people and what their expected behavior should be as not everyone lives by a specific standard. Yet, we must admit that most stereotypes are based on facts, and that we are all guilty of stereotyping. The best we can do is to try and work pass those preconceived notions and improve as a people.  If we keep that up, slowly as a society perhaps we can get rid of stereotypes altogether. This way, the George Zimmerman’s and the Trayvon Martin’s of the world won’t go around suspecting and ultimately harming each other. Perhaps someday a Puertorican doing well in school won’t come as such a surprise. Let’s create positive stereotypes for ourselves!

But do tell me, how is a Puerto Rican supposed to act? *pulls out the box cutter*

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