Although we certainly live in a society where people are not as blatantly stereotyped as they were in the past, it is clear that we still have a long way to go. The media has a lot invested in perpetuating stereotypes on minorities; pitting one group against another in order to distract us from the real issues of the day.
Success stories of positive African Americans are rarely reported, while stories about crimes and bad behavior dominate the headlines. Terrell Owens and his 4 kids are blasted on Dr. Phil, the Basketball
Wives Savages smack each other around, and savage rappers like Tyga get all the airplay.
Media corporations have the power to capture millions of viewers and listeners and they do a good job of painting black people with the same broad brush of negativity. We exist to try to level the playing field a bit and thus we present 5 groups of African Americans that defy and dispel some of the negative myths that permeate our pop culture.
Myth #1 Black Women Don't Go to the Gym
Certainly Black women are comfortable with some curves, but there is a nasty myth going on out there that Black women don't work out. If Black women don't work out then how could they have produced some of the best athletes of all time? From Althea Gibson to Candice Parker, Black women have excelled in athletics and in fact dominate many sports.
In addition to producing top level athletes the African American community is full of toned, beautiful black women who regularly exercise and eat healthy. A testament to this reality is the group "Black Women Do Workout"
Black Women Do Workout is a facebook group of almost 200,000 women who regularly exercise and support those women who want to live a healthy lifestyle. The page is very active, with hundreds of women commenting on a daily basis in support of one another. There is no talk of smacking each other, no back-biting and no hating on one another (another myth that black women constantly fight with each other).
Myth #2 All Black Men Abandon Their Kids
It is not very difficult to turn on the TV or catch an online story about some black man who has 4 or 5 kids that he's not taking care of. The recent story of the Tennessee man with 30 kids made a splash across the Internet, but what about the millions of Black men who take great care of their children?
Concerned Black Men is a National organization that focuses on the support of fathers, families and at-risk youth. Real Men Cook (see AfroDaddy.com feature article) is one of the largest fatherhood organizations in the country and hosts annual events that highlight family and community.
Good Black Dads, Responsible Black Fathers, Fathers Who Care, Single Black Fathers and Black Fathers are several excellent facebook pages dedicated to black fathers who do the right thing on a daily basis when it comes to their kids. Articles and posts highlight the daily articles about "black fathers doing good". Meetings and events for fathers and families are also liberally posted, only reinforcing the fact that there are fathers who not only take time raising their own kids, but help other fathers raise theirs.
In addition to abandoning our children, Black men are far too often accused of abandoning our wives as well. The myth of the Black man never wanting to marry is perpetuated by one-sided depictions of athletes, rappers and other "celebrities" living the single high life at the club "poppin' bottles" and chasing honies.
Most professional athletes DO NOT live like this. In addition, most Black Men ARE NOT professional athletes or entertainers. Black And Married With Kids highlights all the other Black Men and Women who happily live in traditional family units.
One of the most popular sites on the Web, Black and Married With Kids combines articles and videos to help families navigate the ups and downs of parenting and marriage. The comments on site are lively and REAL because as any married person knows: marriage is hard work!
In addition to their website, BMWK has an extremely active facebook fan page that has over 100,000 followers.
Myth #3 All Black People Listen to is Rap
Although African Americans may make the most rap, the largest demographic of listeners to hip hop is young white males. Of course young brothers love their hip hop too, but young black men are as diverse in their music choices as they are in every other facet of their lives.
AfroPunk is just one of many groups that highlights a group of African American individualists who break stereotypical boundaries. The self-proclaimed number one destination for alternative black culture, the AfroPunk website supports a group of African Americans who celebrate the punk culture and lifestyle. With videos, articles and lists of upcoming events around the country, AfroPunk keeps the group informed on the latest happenings in this scene. Fully interactive, the large online community forum insures that everybody's voice is heard. Click here to learn more about the AfroPunk Movement
African Americans make and excel at all types of music. Jimi Hendrix is arguably the best guitarist of all time. People have civil debates over whether Chuck Berry or Little Richard is the true originator of Rock and Roll. Living Colour is one of the best rock bands of all time. After Hootie left his Blowfish he went on to excel as a country music singer.
Although there is always a semblance of truth in stereotypes it is dangerous to classify ALL of one group based on stereotype - ESPECIALLY WHEN THE MEDIA IS DRIVING THE STEREOTYPES.
Let us all remember to judge people as individuals first and then look at whatever groups they may belong to.
Originally posted at AfroDaddy.com - The Black Man Survival Guide