Saturday, April 2, 2011

Modern Day Negrophobia

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 And to think I used to assume that Negrophobia was an outdated term.


  1. Throughout this semester, I have also realized that negrophobia is not an outdated term. It is easy for people to target those who are overtly racist. However, because we live in a racist society, we are all guilty of being racist. Therefore, negrophobia persists in the modern world. The bigger issue is how do we combat these implicit attitudes towards black people, especially when they are so deeply engrained in our culture? Is education enough, and across how many generations would it take to reverse a racist society?

  2. A really interesting post. I too thought that Negrophobia was an outdated concept, but that's far from the truth. While blatant Negrophobia might not be as prevalent, some people do still react very strongly and oddly to blacks. I don't understand these reactions...but then again, it is an irrational response I suppose.

    I have a quick question, and I don't mean to be nit picky..I'm just curious: why did you choose to capitalize "black" throughout your post?

  3. Jarrett,

    You hit on one of the most blatant manifestations of negrophobia in our society -- the stigmatization and criminalization of the young, black male. I was thinking recently about the outcry by groups of middle age white women in the 90s against the perils of rap music. The subtext of this discourse is very much in line with what you are talking about -- sure, some of what rappers were saying was offensive. But I think a lot of it could be understood as a way in which negrophobia expressed itself against a group of people which our society has very, very low expectations for.

  4. Well the thing about marginalized groups such as Blacks. Every negative thing or person that takes place or exists in our community is magnified and attributed to our entire race. While some blame can be placed on those who uphold that stereotype, we cant expect the black race to be perfect just as no other race is. But its harder on black men like yourself because those negative characteristics are labeled to you as well . I place the majority of the blame on society because it causes an ongoing cycle because of society's perception on the black community and how black men are constantly taking a hit in the media etc.

  5. I definitely think that Negrophobia is a modern day phenomenon. Especially in the lives of black men like you. There is also this hesitancy among other groups. Even like we talked about in class, a black woman and a white woman will be afraid of a black male in most situations. I can't say that I am not guilty of it. But I do say that society is to blame and the stereotype is always in the media. Sad, but true.

  6. I agree with you Phylicia and Jarrett I think you hit the nail on the head as far as the whole "we have not moved pass Negrophobia" argument. The interesting fact is that black people are automatically all thrown into the same negative categories. My question is, why is it that the same thing is not done for the majority race in each America, the white race? A recent study identified white females to be the most avid shop-lifters. So, why is it that all of the department store workers have not started to follow them around and shifted their attention away from the black race for a while?...Beats me


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