(ThyBlackMan.com) Black folks don’t value education. Black kids are always in trouble. Black people don’t value family. All black men think they’re gangsters and rappers. Black women live off of welfare. All the good black men are gay or in prison. These are just a few stereotypes about black people which are commonly believed and spread by other black people. Camara Phyllis Jones who is the Research Director on Social Determinants for the CDC here in Atlanta defines internalized racism as “the acceptance of stereotypes regarding one’s own race in terms of their abilities and worth” in her article Levels of Racism: A Theoretic Framework and a Gardener’s Tale. In basic terms, internalized racism is when you begin to buy into the negative stereotypes about people who look like you and accept these stereotypes as truth. Today I will discuss how Black on Black Prejudices keeps racism alive in the American society by blaming black victims and through the process of self-devaluation.
While many people confuse racism and prejudice, racism is defined as an institutional system put in place to preserve the white or ruling class status in America per Professor Mitchell who is the Sociology chairperson at Atlanta Technical College. Prejudice, on the other hand, occurs when one makes assumptions about the abilities, motives and intentions of others based on race.
Black on black prejudice is in effect each time you see a young black male with baggy pants and assumes he’s uneducated and involved in some type of criminal activities as well as when you see a young black woman with more than one child and assume she’s living on
Black on black prejudices also causes us to enter a state of self-devaluation. We fail to see the value in ourselves as black Americans when we are unable to see the value in our brothers and sisters who look like us. Author Napoleon Hill often says “Thoughts become things”, meaning our thoughts become our beliefs and hence our actions. When we think of our black brothers and sisters as lazy, violent or worthless, we create a state of tolerance that allows us to sit quietly when we don’t receive callbacks after job interviews, are rejected at the bank for home and business loans or get passed up for a well deserved job promotion. We begin to settle for lower work wages, lower statuses in society and the least powerful positions available because mentally we lack to see value in black people as a whole.
In closing, black on black prejudice works to keep racism alive and thriving within the American society when we blame black victims and buy into negative stereotypes which serve to devalue us as a people. Stand against the oppression of black Americans by looking for and expecting the best from your people. Support black owned businesses, mentor black children, take a split second to smile at and acknowledge your people as they pass you in the streets. Remember you cannot be free, if I am oppressed.
Staff Writer; Dina Tuff
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