As I sit in the Atlanta airport, once of the most diverse places in the world at any given time, I can’t help but wonder what those who sit around me think about me. If anything at all. What stereotypes do I meet? What stereotypes do I defy? Do I even meet any stereotypes? The thoughts that go through a minority in a majority world. I wish I could say that my fears were unjustified, but recent experiences have taught me otherwise. One of my good friends, who shall remain nameless, experienced what I would call a modern-day form of Negrophobia. For those who don’t know what Negrophobia is: it’s the fear of the figure of a Black person and the Black culture as a whole. Regardless of what type of person I am, someone who has Negrophobia will fear me before I even open my mouth or get a chance to defend myself. People latch onto the stereotypes that are perpetuated by the media and just plain ignorance.
One thing that seems to strike fear into the heart of white, middle class parents, are the words: “Mom…Dad…I’m dating a Black guy”. A lot of parents automatically assume the worse, that their daughter is dating one of the guys that they see on the nightly news, or in rap videos, or roaming the streets with their pants down below their ankles. The list goes on and on. Clearly, this is not the case with a fairly large group of Black men, but due to these standing stereotypes, people go with what they hear and no necessarily what they know. Negrophobia. In it’s most modern form. So Black men who don’t fit that stereotype are forced to fight an uphill battle.
One of my good friends asked me one day if I blame those Black guys who help promote the stereotypes and truth be told, I do lay some of the blame on them. I often find myself thinking, “if we didn’t *insert negative Black stereotype here*, then we wouldn’t have nearly as many racial problems as we do”. But the acts of a select few should not condemn the entire group. Just because the guy over there carjacked someone and he looks like me, doesn’t mean that I am going to do the same thing. In today’s society, one that we like to label as progressive, people are still narrow-minded enough to stereotype almost everyone they meet. And to think I used to assume that Negrophobia was an outdated term.