I’m Not a Statistic

Today, society portrays the black man as: a rapper, a thug, someone who only cares about brand names, and someone to be feared. The media constantly portrays the African American male as a monster as they are constantly seen as criminals. All of the statistics about African Americans are negative, for example 80 percent of all people in jail are black, and 72 percent of African American children are born without a father figure. As an African American male, I hate to be stereotyped; I want to show people that African American men can be looked at as positive people.

I never experienced stereotyping until my freshman year in high school. I was surprised when people asked me questions like “Why don’t you act black?” or “How come you don’t dress black?” These questions offended me because I thought that I would always be seen as a black no matter how I dressed or acted. Because I didn’t fit these stereotypes I have been called negative things such as an Oreo because I was quote “black on the outside but white on the inside” or “white washed.” Throughout high school I have also experienced racism from classmates and teammates that they see as a harmless joke but they can actually be harmful and others do not understand how bad it feels to have people make jokes and judge you strictly because of your appearance and personality.

I have also learned that being different is frowned upon by your own race when you don’t fit your stereotype. For instance I don’t only listen to rap music and do not speak, or dress like the stereotypical black person. Don’t get me wrong I still enjoy rap music every now and then, but I find other genres such as R&B and Jazz soothing as well. I’ll never forget the first time I worked at a summer camp, when I was being judged by the other black coworkers, because I spoke literally and didn’t know about the latest Jordan’s coming out.

These experiences while growing up has helped make me the person I am today, the comments have encouraged me to try push myself in school and embrace my personality and my differences.  I am proud to say that I live in a two parent household with families with no criminal records. By showing others I can prosper in all aspects of life. I am currently succeeding in school with a 3.8 GPA, I plan to go to college in the fall and succeed as well. I also participated in extracurricular activities such football and journalism to stay out of trouble. At the end of the day I want society to think of me as an educated person with a promising future and not another statistic.