Stereotypes Against African American Males

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The University of Tennessee has 28,000 students, in which 7. 59% of that total is African Americans. Of that 7. 59% of African Americans, only 998. 8 of them are African American males. Once these black males graduate, they will begin to search for the desired career that they have academically and socially prepared for at the University of Tennessee.

Every day, job openings become available to people who are whether, not happy with the job they currently have, or those who simply want to work in a field of their desire, but what do you do when you are one of those African American graduates whose identity is an automatic degrading factor to your acceptance of your desired job or career? The year of 2012 is one of the most racially controversial years due to the re-election of the first African American president and homicide cases such as Trayvon Martin’s that involve a multi-racial Hispanic American murderer.

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These current issues are not the only supporting evidence for black males’ stereotypes that play against their opportunities, but historical issues are the originating factors of these ongoing stereotypes that will help one understand its existence. Historical events such as the slavery of Africans embody the origin of black males’ stereotypes and limitations. Jamel K. Donnor is an Assistant Professor in Curriculum and Instruction with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Studies, Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs, and a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction.

In “The Education of Black Males in a “Post-Racial” World,” Donnor is addressing the stereotypes against black males and how they affect their lives and opportunities. Donnor notes that “with the election of the first African American president, many individuals have enthusiastically declared that America entered a new era where race is no longer a determinant in shaping the life fortunes and experiences of people of color” and that African American males are no longer viewed as inferior to other races (1).

Despite these claims, stereotypes against African American males is an ongoing problem that results in false accusations and the negative suppression of their accomplishments. Due to a huge historical event that categorized this group of people as morally, socially, and intellectually inferior, it is no surprise that black males face many stereotypes and prejudices today. In the early 1600’s Africans began being shipped to America for slavery. Slavery is a civil relationship whereby one person has absolute power over another and controls his life, liberty, and fortune.

This historical practice is a huge factor of why African American males are considered inferior today. From pictures, museums, and articles, I gained full awareness of the degrading words and treatment that African American males have endured. Races that were considered superior such as, Caucasian, had the power to kill, control, and declare black males as inhuman. Furthermore, this historical preference of the degradation of black males has lived on and is still an ongoing issue today.

Due to slavery’s duration of over 400 years, it has become second nature to some races to automatically marginalize African American males. During the hundreds of years that slavery was practiced, many generations of races that are considered superior were born and raised to marginalized black males by their parents. Because of the context, the children of slavery’s generations became accustomed to the degradation of black males, just as they would with their parents religion or other cultural preferences.

While many claim that these stereotypes no longer exist, the history of degraded black males continues to cause these men to be faced with false accusations today. Stereotypes and prejudices that African American men face today are highly relevant because of the upcoming reelection of America’s first black president. Due to this historical event, many insist that the stereotypes of black males are irrelevant today. In his article, Donnor addresses those people who claim that one’s skin color does not affect the opportunities of their life.

According to Donnor: Because the current President of the United States is an African American male, many have used this moment of accomplishment to craft the larger social narrative that race is no longer a barrier in the social advancement of the African American male. While there is an increased presence of African American males in various sectors of American life, such as law, academia, and politics, to posit that race is no longer a relevant factor in the lives of ales of African descent is misguided (1). Since this historical event occurred, many have tried to ignore the existence of prejudices against African American males, suggesting that they no longer exist. While many claim that “race is no longer a relevant factor in the lives” of black males, there are continual occurrances that suggest otherwise. In Donnor’s article, he discusses a case in which a professional and educated black male is confronted by an officer with a false accusation.

As Donnor noted, “The arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis ‘Skip’ Gates” is an effective supporting case that embodies the idea that “regardless of social status,” black males are still stereotyped and faced with negative accusations (1). Donnor continues: Upon returning home from filming a documentary for the Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) entitled ‘Faces of America’, Professor Gates and his cab driver were identified by his white female neighbor, Lucia Whalen, as breaking into his home. Ms.

Whalen’s 911 call to the Cambridge Police Department [was] that ‘two Black males with backpacks’ were forcing their way into a residence (1). When the officer arrived at the scene, he asked Professor Gates to step out of the house and the professor declined the officer’s orders. “Officer Crowley asked for identification despite ‘believing [Professor Gates] was lawfully in the residence’ [and] responding to Officer Crowley’s statement, Professor Gates remarked, ‘why, because I’m a [b]lack man in America’”(Donnor 2)?

Shortly after, Professor Gates asked to see the officer’s identification and badge number. After the officer refused the request, Professor Gates was arrested and taken into custody for “tumultuous” behavior (Donnor 2). This confrontation clearly depicts the stereotypical situation that a black male faces that leads to false accusations. Professor Gates’ neighbor saw two black men and instantly assumed that foul play was occurring. This shows that black males are often categorized into negative, troublesome people and, ultimately, threats to society which leaves them vulnerable to false accusations.

When Professor Gates requested the officer’s identification and the officer refused to show it to him, it was apparent that the officer considered himself superior to the black professor; therefore, ignoring the request with indifference. Because the Professor was black, the negative stereotypes of black males and the history of their degradation overshadowed the officer’s will to show his identification. The officer saw no point of proving his certifications to a person who is given such negative characteristics and accusations such as a black male.

The idea that black males are negatively stereotyped is exemplified by the credentials of Professor Gates. As Donnor notes, “despite his prominent status as a public intellectual and professional affiliation with the most prestigious university in the United States, Professor Gates did not ‘escape the prism of race’ (2). It is apparent that the stereotypes of black males still exist today, especially if a man with credentials as excellent as Professor Gates is a victim of false accusations.

Stereotypes of black males today depict the idea that regardless of how successful and prestigious a black male becomes, he cannot avoid stereotypes, not even athletes. Due to the huge growth of African Americans in sports, along with their success, stereotypes have exemplified. Thad Mumford is an American television producer and writer who has written and produced the following: The Cosby Show, A Different World, M*A*S*H, Maude, Good Times, Home Improvement, Roots: The Next Generations, Judging Amy and other popular series.

In “The New Minstrel Show: Black Vaudeville with Statistics,” Mumford discusses the stereotypes of black males in sports. He acknowledges stereotypes such as African American male athletes’ audiences being “mesmerized by the idiomatic hip-hop jargon, the cock-of-the-walk swagger, the smooth-as-the-law-allows attire of their black heroes” (374). According to Mumford, this stereotype is accompanied by the idea that “black folks are still cuttin’ up for the white man” (374). Firstly, vaudeville is a theatrical entertainment consisting of a number of individual performances, acts by comedians, singers, dancers, acrobats, and magicians.

Vaudevilles once consisted of black people who performed as themselves. For example, an African American cast would play and act as slaves for a white production. Vaudeville was a way that white people could use African Americans for the advancement of their production and profit. It is apparent that the historical racism and practices that preceded today is still left over and remains in the form of stereotypes. By describing black males as a vaudeville, something usually associated with performing, Mumford proves my point that stereotypes of black males are definitely relevant to today. Cuttin’ up for the white man” clearly depicts the idea that black males are simply puppets of performance for white people (374). As Donnor noted, “authors discovered that African American male identification with the athlete role is more likely to intensify as they interpret their involvement with major college football as a conduit to playing professional football” (4). This stereotype of black athletes, subjugate the actual skill and training that the athlete had to obtain in order to achieve success.

Instead of accepting the fact that a black male has accomplished a difficult task and became rewarded in turn, society prefers to degrade and question the athlete’s motives. Not only are African American athletes’ motives in sports questioned and stereotyped but how they look also is a determining factor of the athlete’s character. Todd Boyd, the author of “Doin’ Me: from Young, Black, Rich, and Famous, elaborates on the stereotypes of NBA players and how they are influenced by hip-hop. Boyd notes that “cornrows have replaced the bald head, long baggy shorts are de riguer, and tattoos are the order of the day. These stereotypes of black males overshadow their talent, and instead focus on characteristics that suggest a negative, questionable character. Cornrows are a type of braid, originating in Africa, in which a narrow strip of hair is plaited tightly against the scalp from front to back or from side to side. This stereotype originates from ancient African cultures and is used today to categorize black athletes into hip-hop influenced, money driven individuals. Long baggy shorts and tattoos are often associated with hip-hop and media celebrities.

Tattoos and baggy shorts are now two characteristics that have been given to the black athlete, in order to support the stereotype of what black males wear. These stereotypes are used to triumph the accomplishments of black athletes and distract audiences from appreciating their hard work and dedication. In conclusion, the stereotypes of black males are ongoing and result in negative outcomes in many men’s lives. These stereotypes are so prominent that despite the exceptional credentials of a black male, he is still vulnerable to being stereotyped and becoming a victim of false accusations and motives.

Even though some may claim that today, there is no remaining stereotypes of black males that linger in society, many confrontations and situations suggest otherwise. Works Cited Boyd, Todd. “Doin’ Me: from Young, Black, Rich, and Famous. ” Alfano, Christine L. , 2008. Print. Donnor, Jamel. “The Education of Black Males in a “Post-Racial” World. ” Race, Ethnicity & Education 14(1), 1-5. Web. 20 May 2009. Mumford, Thad. “The New Minstrel Show: Black Vaudeville with Statistics. ” Alfano, Christine L. , 2008. Print

Annotated Bibliography “Doin’ Me: from Young, Black, Rich, and Famous. ” The article talks about African Americans that support the music in our society and are influence from the hip hop culture. Boyd questions the influence of hip hop on athletes. He elaborates on how they dress and act like hip hop influenced men. For example, he used Rasheed Wallace, NBA player, and pointed out that he wears cornrolls and air force ones and he was the first to get fined for wearing his shorts too long in a basketball game.

Boyd also talks about emotion and hip hop and being emotional on the basketball court. He stated that black basketball players have a disadvantage because if they get too emotional in the game then they would seem like a threat, but if they are not emotional enough the black basketball players will be perceived as not caring enough. Boyd also discussed how society as a whole are not able to talk about sports or music with bringing up African Americans because they play such a vital role in both of those professions. “The Education of Black Males in a “Post-Racial” World. The Education of Black Males in a ‘Post-Racial’ World examines the discriminations and negative expectations that shape the educational and social lives of Black males. The authors elaborate on how Black males are less likely to go to school because of their autonomous mindset, and explore how, social sciences, media, popular culture, sport and school curriculum can define and restrain the lives of Black males. Donnor also elaborates on the complex needs of Black males in schools and in society, nearly classifying them as needy and unable to support themselves, dependent.

Donnor discussed how opportunities and jobs are systematically organized to disadvantage Black males ultimately claiming that race still matters in ‘post-racial’ America. “The New Minstrel Show: Black Vaudeville with Statistics. ” Mumford discusses how today, it is very fortunate for one to be a black athlete. He elaborates on how black football and basketball players have greatly outnumbered white athletes. Mumford then scorns the fact that 18 to 25 year old surburban white males look up to and are“mesmerized by the idiomatic hip-hop jargon, the cock-of-the-walk swagger, the smooth-as-the-law-allows attire of their black heroes” (374).

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Stereotypes Against African American Males. (2016, Dec 16). Retrieved from

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