Nothing like a good watermelon. A good, sweet watermelon. All bright red and juicy. But, as the old school always says. “Don’t let white people see you eating it.” You ever wonder why not? Are you wondering why not, now?
Sayings such as the above, tends to silently perpetuate certain stereotypes, ultimately permeating the very fabric of society with it’s racist views. Which is why today, you can almost smell the racism in the air.
When I was a child, I kind of understood the saying, meaning to stay on top of my game. Sort of like, “Never let them see you sweat.” I had an image to uphold. And I wasn’t about to shatter the image anyone may have had of me.
Fried chicken is the same way. Eat it in private, amongst your peers or in the privacy of your own home. Even if that home is just an apartment.
I’ll enjoy a good piece of chicken anywhere. I will just be very mindful not to be so “rough” with it. But I know there are some people, black people in particular, who refuse to indulge in these delicacies in the presence of white folks because they don’t want to further perpetuate the stereotype.
Every culture has its potentially offensive stereotypes. Blondes are not smart. White people have no rhythm, therefore, they can’t dance. Native Americans love to gamble, which is why they have so many casinos. All Asians are smart, just look at any IT department. Most Latinos are illegal immigrants, what did you think the wall was going to be for? Black people love chicken. Learn to season yours, and you will, too.
Every culture has its potentially offensive stereotypes. Doesn’t make them true. There are five major things blacks refrain from doing around white folk. Eating chicken is one. Eating watermelon is another. Dancing would be a third. Dancing? you say. Yes. Dancing. With just the slightest wrong move during a dance, you can appear to be “shucking and jiving.”
White people still are entertained by that. Public knowledge or not.
Don’t talk slang or use ebonics. Do you even know where the word ebonics comes from? You probably don’t. Neither do I. Let’s just say someone thought to generalize black peoples vernacular and came up with the idea of combining two words, ebony and phonics, to describe the way black people spoke. You can almost clearly see why this one would be important to stay clear of. Not that it’s our little secret language. But, that the way we talk with our friends is rather loose and less professional. We don’t want white people thinking we are all just loose and unprofessional, now. Do we?
These are the five major don’ts that should be on every black person’s list. As a black person, you may not even know these things are on your list. But, they are. You may not even know you have a list, but you do. We all do. And as much as I wish to not carry on a tradition of any stereotype.
I feel it stands true that reaction to the stereotype is the very beginning of dispelling the stereotype.
Whether it’s blacks and chicken or white men not being able to jump, we have to learn to do away with these stereotypes in today’s society. Stereotypes start with thoughts. Thoughts become words, words become actions. And those actions, too many times, tend to be of a bigoted nature. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so shall he be”~ James Allen
But, as far as the eating of the watermelon goes. I feel proud whenever I’m eating a watermelon. I know and understand some important history behind the fabulous fruit. Did you know that when slaves were first freed, some of them went on to own their very own watermelon patches? They grew and sold watermelons as a business.
But, because the white people were not happy seeing freed blacks advancing, they did everything within their power to put down the black man for being in business for himself. They chose not to “eat what free negroes ate.” They chose to not support the farms that sold this delicious fruit. They even went as far as to make it seem like eating watermelon “made you lazy.” I guess they got this one from watching blacks take breaks from working in their watermelon patches and eating watermelon. There just is no way one can stand up and enjoy a watermelon. One must be sitting comfortably with their head down. White folks painted this picture as a lazy one. Probably where the term “itis” came from. Supposedly, the drowsy sleepy feeling you get after eating a large meal.
Derogatory. Terms like this not only further perpetuate stereotypes, it also amazes me at how we can take a racial epithet, such as “itis” and hurl it on ourselves. We are so brainwashed and have been tricked into believing terms like this are actually “terms of endearment.” Really?
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