The TownhallSocial issues

The dangerous social pressure around “acting black”

By Adam Coleman 

Stereotypes exist for a reason. Even if the stereotype appears offensive, often they’re based on something plausible. Many stereotypes reference behaviors within particular cultures, whether it be ethnic or racial, in an attempt to prejudge large varieties of people. 

Prejudgment in itself isn’t immoral. In many ways, it can ensure your safety or help approach people who differ from yourself. There are reasonable prejudgments we all make every single day in a matter of seconds. Yes, this action is natural. However, expectations of the prejudgment are where the problem lies.  

When you expect your preconceived notions to be true rather than accepting what is in front of you as reality, then you’re imposing your beliefs onto others. 

When prejudgment blends into the reality of any personal interaction, social imbalance is born. The social imbalance is when we try to turn reality into our prejudgment so we can lazily look at the world as simple rather than complex.  

The notion of “acting black” attempts to redefine black reality as being the black prejudgment. We are consistently told that race is a social construct yet simultaneously told to act in a manner that upholds this manufactured social system. 

Blacks are told to behave in a manner that appeases others as if blacks are agentless slaves. Even worse, blacks hold each other to this same inadequate standard of thinking.  

What we don’t examine enough in the term “acting black” is the word “acting”, meaning pretending to be something you’re not. If I’m to act black, then I’m behaving how I’m supposed to behave rather than how I want to. 

I have no doubt there are people who enjoy living in a manner they feel is authentically black. However, it’s the social pressure to exclude those who think otherwise that I take issue with.  

No matter where I go in America, my thoughts, behavior, speech, clothing, attitude, and who I vote for are all subject to scrutiny based on my complexion. Joe Biden even knows that any black person who votes against him makes them unauthentic. Or as Joe puts it, “ain’t black”. 

Who determines what it means to be black? As far as I can tell, this social construct of blackness is unregulated and holds no constitution. Yet, we’re supposed to uphold these invisible standards. 

Everyone knows what being black means, yet no one can define it and that’s the point. Acting black is not meant to be concise in its tenets, it’s meant to be confusing. When you’re confused with how to approach life, this imaginary standard of racial homogeneity becomes a potential guide.  

It’s no wonder some of our children believe dysfunction and suffering are markers of blackness. No one tells them otherwise. 

No one explains to them that some of the most influential black people display the worst behaviors. More so, repeating such behavior doesn’t make you black, it makes you immoral. More so, no one tells them many of these immoral behaviors are just another act displayed in front of a camera because they’d rather profit off your confusion. 

Those that accept everything, deny nothing. Likewise, belief systems that accept any concept, lack the discretion to discard bad ideas. 

Modern day racism doesn’t show up in a white hood on horseback or tells you which water fountain you can drink from. Modern day racism shows up as lowered expectations, excuses for bad behavior, and negative social traits that some black people promote as being black social traits. 

Racism is defined as one believing it’s superior to the other based upon race. But in order for there to be a superior, the other must remain inferior. The adaptation of negative social traits allows for the possible notion that there is a superior race. It gives credence to the idea that black determination has been carved in stone rather than penciled in on a piece of paper.  

The many that believe “acting black” means to act in an inferior fashion, most likely believe black people’s savior are the people in control. Or the people they deem superior. This mentality has no particular color barrier. 

More so, the results of such a belief reinforce a troubling theory; the measurement of black success is relative to the graciousness of white people. 

This mindset creates an unforgiving duality, the victim and the savior.

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Curtis Scoon

Editor-In-Chief | Founder

The editor-in-chief, executive producer, writer, and businessman. Curtis is active in helping the black community by employing and providing services in the Washington, DC and Detroit, MI areas.

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