Black Male Stereotypes Broken Through “Suits & Ties” Music Video

Stereotypes exist because there are a lot of people that want to believe “one size shall fit all”. Of course, we would all believe that the majority of Black people love chicken and watermelon. Then again, we would want to believe that all Black people listen to rap music while molly is popped to tunes by Trinidad James. Still, stereotypes bring a safe way of thinking. In the end, stereotyping is man’s lazy way of identifying the world.

Regardless, I do not think that stereotypes are the biggest problem. As insane as the previous statement sounds, please let me explain.

The biggest issue is not the stereotypes per se; the overwhelming problem is the rampant lies disguised as stereotypes. It is a problem to stereotype black women as welfare queens when white women outnumber black women [1]. Then again, many people try to make crime a racial epidemic (black on black crime, anyone) than an issue of proximity and opportunity [2]. Even people getting tested to keep their welfare benefits is based on the “stereotype” that those people have drug addictions and such [3]. In short, some of these stereotypes are just dishonesties with great mascara and eye shadow.

suit-and-ties-music-video-stereotypes (2)Let me make one thing clear: stereotypes are based on overwhelming truths. Otherwise, it is an overwhelming lie. The end.

Black Teen Stereotypes are Usually Strong

This brought about the “Suit and Tie in the 217” initiative. would explain this situation better than I:

Black male students at Illinois’ Central High School put together “Suit & Tie in the 217″ to offer a counter-narrative for young black men. For Black History Month, they released a video of students dressed to the nines with the messages “we are not gangsters and thugs,” “we are employees and volunteers,” “we are scholars” and “we are athletes.” [4]

I can do nothing but applaud these young brothers for stepping to the forefront. They saw a problem and they are addressing this. This, above anything, should be given enough attention.

Black Teen Stereotypes are Usually Wrong

Think about this situation for a second, though: are the stereotypes that these teens are battling “stereotypes” or just plain lies?

The possible stereotypes would probably follow along these lines:

  • Black teens stereotypes deal with criminals
  • Black teens stereotypes deal with drug abusers
  • Black teens stereotypes deal with gangsters
  • Black teens stereotypes deal with illiteracy and lack of education

We always wore suits and ties. And we always wore it at the right occasions, too.

We always wore suits and ties. And we always wore it at the right occasions, too.

Here is my only issue with the situation: eventually, we have to reach the point of not caring. Maybe that is my problem: I could care less. I’m 36, so I am way too old to give attention to stereotypes and underhanded lies. You want to believe I am a thug? Be my guest. It is 2014. If you cannot find the honest truth for yourself, then it is not my responsibility to keep trying to present it to you.

What these young men are doing is just a positive step in the correct direction. However, the ultimate goal should never be the dispelling of the myth. The ultimate goal, for the sake of human progression, is not giving a damn in the first place. Naysayers, horn tooters, and simple media conglomerates will do what they do. We, as a people, should continue to do what we do. Never should we do it to make them believers. Instead, we should play like Spike Lee and “do the right thing” because it is what is best for us.

Black teen stereotypes are not made for us. So, black teen stereotypes need to not be acknowledged by us.