Transcending Racial Stereotypes: Black And White

Happy Interracial Couple

Racial Harmony

copyright 2009 VVeasey Publishing

10/22/09

My subculture is African-American. I say sub because it subsumed or is a branch of the tree of the overlying American culture. I grew up in River Rouge and Ecorse MI until I was about 10, then I lived in Southwest Detroit (which is at the outermost boundary of Detroit) from age10 to 12. I lived in Delray, MI until a few months before my 14th birthday; we moved to a ghetto neighborhood in the inner city, of Detroit right before I turned 14.

So up until that point I was a small town boy and knew nothing about the inner city culture of Detroit or the ghetto. I had a rude cultural awakening after moving to the inner city: the kids were a lot faster and more street savvy than I was and they were more distrustful and less personal on the whole.


They Considered Me "country".

They considered me to be country, because I had a different style of dress and attitude than they did. And they were right; I was country, because most of the adults in my family and other African-American adults living in Ecorse and River Rouge were immigrants from the south who had moved north to get better paying jobs in the automobile factories (my family was from Miss.). They brought their southern culture with them. (You can take the boy out of the country but you take the country out of the boy). So I grew up in that transplanted southern, African-American cultural atmosphere.


My Perception Of Whites Was Negative

Originally my perceptions of white people were all negative. I thought they were all racists, and didn't like black people. Why they didn't like black people? I didn't know! I was taught as a kid to be afraid and distrustful of white police officers as well.

There were frequent incidences of white police officers shooting, beating or killing young black men. I heard these stories from the adults in my family, in other families and in the news media when I was growing up.


My Maternal Grandmother

My maternal grandmother (who was born and raised in rural areas of Mississippi) used to tell me horror stories, about seeing the KKK or Night Riders going out at night to string-up some "nigger" whom they saw as uppity, who stepped out of line or who refused to be intimidated by them.


Never Deeply Prejudiced

I was never deeply prejudiced but I was angered by the constant injustices I kept becoming aware of as I grew older and started studying the history of white racism and white supremacy in the United States.

Originally the only white people I was around were store owners, cops, businessmen and those who worked in the stores. I or my family didn't have any friends or associates who were white. So I had a lot of misconceptions about white people, but that started changing as I became more personally involved with whites, while I was in the army and as a musician playing gigs where there were racially mixed audiences.

After making a few acquaintances, friends, and colleagues who were white, it became more important for me to get to know who the real person was, rather then the race or ethnicity of the person, although I didn't neglect to take that factor in to consideration.


My Wife Is White

My wife, Tina, is white. I refer to her as white just as a description for this hub, because when I looked at Tina, the first thing I see is Tina, not a white woman.

I see Tina, the person who is my wife, who is a white woman. I relate to her as Tina before I relate to her as a white woman, and vice versa for Tina, in relation to me. We relate to all the dimensions of one another; race is not the focal point of our attention. My blackness and her whiteness has its rightful place in the scheme of the multi-dimensional identity that makes us who we are.


How Others See Us

I know that when others see us together they see black man, white woman and when I see that combination it catches my eye also. But while some may view the black man, white woman combination in a negative light, I view it in a positive light.

I especially see it as positive when the combination is white man, black woman, because historically, racist white men have been vehemently opposed to the sexual/romantic involvement of the of black men with the white women.

I think this is probably because they have weak sexual egos and they fear not being the dominant sexual object of the white women's attention. Maintaining their sexual dominance is one of the underlying reasons why racist white males have historically perpetrated racial violence against black males in the United States.


I've Lived In Multicultural Neighborhoods

For the last 16 years I've lived in multi-cultural neighborhoods. I lived for 6 years in Oak Park, MI where it's just an everyday experience to see on the streets and in the places of business, Hasidic Jews, Arabs, Chaldeans, Turban wearing East Indians, African-Americans, Orientals and Euro-Americans living side by side and conducting business with to one another.

I've lived the last 14 years in Southfield, MI where the cultural environment is very similar although not quite so ostensibly diverse.


Part Of The Solution To Racial Problems

I think that part of the solution to racial problems in this country is to have people living together in more diverse neighborhoods, so diverse ethnic groups can get to know one another on a more personal level.

Then it's not such a shock if someone encounters a person of a different ethnicity than one's own. No one would probably even look twice. It would just be a part of one's everyday experience, and not a big deal. I think creating more diverse neighborhoods would be a good place to start changing people's negative or biased racial perceptions of one another.


There Will Probably Always Be Hard Nosed Racists

Of course there will always be those hard-nosed, racist, black or white, who will be vehemently opposed to multi-cultural or race mixing of any kind. But we can't afford to let those people stop the progress that's been made, or the tolerance, acceptance and ultimately the appreciation and celebration of the commonalities as well as the differences, of all the diverse groups of individuals who make up the species human!

Focus, on relating to the whole person, rather than just one dimension of the person. And the negative aspects, of your personal history or of your ethnic group's history, will only have a minimal effect, on how you relate to those of a different race, ethnicity, gender or culture other than your own, and the world will be a better place for it!

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Comments 11 comments

mtkomori profile image

mtkomori 6 years ago from Yokohama, Japan

Enjoyed reading your hub and you do have a point when you say we should create diverse neighborhoods so there will be less prejudice against persons from ethnic groups other than your own.

As you point out, racial stereotypes were "taught" from your family members. In your case, your grandmother told you horror stories. It must have been a big change when you started to associate more with white people and overcome these stereotypes you were taught growing up.

It seems like racial prejudice and stereotypes come from ignorance and fear. Until one refuses to get to know people from other ethnic groups, one could be living in prejudice forever. Isn't that a sad thing? You deserve a lot of credit for overcoming the prejudice you had about white people.


vveasey profile image

vveasey 6 years ago from Detroit,MI Author

What's up mtkomori!

And thanks for your comments

I agree that "Until one refuses to get to know people from other ethnic groups, one could be living in prejudice forever. Isn't that a sad thing?" Yes it is!

(I think you meant until one gets to know other people)

Hopefully we can encourage, more people, by example, to overcome their prejudices.

Dig Ya Later


SPIKECZAR profile image

SPIKECZAR 6 years ago

Hello,

This is very true. Prejudices are taught by one's surroundings. In fact, today, I was actually harassed by a person of a different ethnic group (I am Caucasian and Canadian Native American.) I believe that this happened is because the person who did this to me (I think she was of hispanic decent) was taught by her surroundings to be against people of my background.

I am not prejudiced against any ethnic or racial background as I have friends of just about every background and it appears that only certain people have these prejudices because of being unwilling to understand how one feels about certain subjects or just because the person is either just rude, ignorant or some other reason. It is true for all backgrounds as I also had problems with caucasians, African decent people, Middle East, India, etc. and S. East Asia such as one kid from Vietnam that believed that since I was caucasian, I killed his family. The problem is that the Vietnam war was over for nearly 15 years when I was born (1989). I also 'ran into' a lot people of these backgrounds that understood to accept cultural differences instead of wanting to fight over them, which is something that I do not want to occur as I would rather have people just get along as we should but is far from occurring.

Also, I do not understand why there is such a large amount of prejudice in a country (USA) that most people were trying to run away from such as with the British persecutions which is one large reason of why my Dad's side of the family moved to North America about 100-something years ago for better lives.

Well, at least some people have learned to accept and learn cultural differences in order to understand other cultures and try to stop prejudices from going down the generation line.

All-in-all, a very good article.


vveasey profile image

vveasey 6 years ago from Detroit,MI Author

Thanks for your views SPIKECZAR!

I can sympathize with your experiences.

You said "I do not understand why there is such a large amount of prejudice in a country (USA)"

Well one reason there so much prejudice in the U.S. is because this nation was founded by white Anglo-Saxon Protestants who thought they had the God-given "manifest destiny" to rule this country and to subjugate any non-white Anglo-Saxon Protestants to their will, starting with the American Indians.

Those whom they couldn’t trick in to giving up their lands, they killed or put on reservations. They also thought they had the right to enslave others because they were superior, special, and chosen by God. Of course, not all of them thought that way or we would not be where we are today (of course, things could be better but they used to be worst).

Now, many of the descendants of those who did view themselves as superior think that they are superior to non-whites and mixed race people too.

Prejudice can breeds prejudice. Many times those who have been discriminated against discriminate against others and these attitudes are passed along to their kids.

This is a very simplified picture of why there so much prejudice and racial hatred in the U.S. But I would love to hear other hubbers chimed in on this topic, especially since we now have a “Black” President which has stirred up a lot of racial hatred and anxiety in some people and embolden racists, bigots, white supremacists, neo-nazis , tea party folk and others to come above ground and out of the closet.

I'm not saying that all people who are against the President are racists, white supremacists,sympathizers etc, but many of them are. See my hub "Why All This Drama Over Obama?"


Emmeaki profile image

Emmeaki 5 years ago from Brooklyn, NY

I just wrote a hub about my experience growing up in a multiracial society. I definitely know that exposure to different races and cultures is the key to overcoming prejudices. I'm happy to see that you had an open mind and was willing to see people for who they are inside and not their race.


NoTBuyingThePicture 4 years ago

What is up with the fake interracial couple picture? All I see is an awful Photoshop job where a white girl is trying to pass for a tan or darker person. Her skin tone and lips simply look brushed on and quite unrealistic.


vveasey profile image

vveasey 4 years ago from Detroit,MI Author

NotBuyingThePicture

Thanks for you comments

Whether the picture is a photoshop job or not

is not the focus or importance of this hub


Lisas-thoughts101 profile image

Lisas-thoughts101 4 years ago from Northeast Texas

vv,

I enjoyed your hub. My granddaughter is white and hispanic and I can't help but be concerned with the prejudice she will experience. I hope we are moving into a less prejudice time in our history. Hubs such as yours give me hope.

Lisa


vveasey profile image

vveasey 4 years ago from Detroit,MI Author

Lisas-thoughts101

thanks for your comments.

I think we are moving into less prejudice

especially as older racist people die out

but also because many young people aren't growing up with the same hard-nosed racist mentality of some of the older generations

Say what will about hip hop culture but one good thing about it is that it unites young people around the globe. you have Japanese hip hoppers, Indian, British, German, Greek, Iranian, African and the list goes on on united by hip hop culture. I think this is making a real change in the racial climate in the united states and worldwide


Black Guilt 4 years ago

White people are the ones that got it bad they can't say nothing w/o being labeled racist. Get a black spray tan white man. peace.


TyeshaMatthews profile image

TyeshaMatthews 3 years ago from MOSS POINT, MS

Well not all black people are crazy and the only reason it seems that way is because the idiotic ones hang out in clusters while the smart ones are in somebody's class or at work doing something with there life. Just like I know all whites are not racist. Just the kkk hang in clusters and it makes them feel secure.

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