Issues of race; difference between stereotypes and discrimination

Whether you are black, Asian, Hispanic, Caucasian, Middle Eastern or any other race you identify yourself as, you tend to face moments of explicit discrimination or stereotyping. In order to correct a wide variety of opinions the voices in this article come from a variety of backgrounds. I interviewed four black people, one Hispanic person, one Muslim, two Asians, and two white people.

According to the people I interviewed there seems to be a difference between the idea or being racially discriminated against and stereotyping someone.

“Being one of the only white people on the step team (Organized Chaos) I deal with white jokes all the time,” said Derek Gokey, a white male here at the University. “One time when we were playing basketball one of the guys asked me if I even knew what to do with a basketball just because of my skin.”

This idea of making jokes of race and correlating them to certain skills or attributes is known as stereotyping. All races have certain stereotypes that they have to deal with. For example, as implied by Gokey’s story, a black stereotype is that black people are good at basketball. This obviously is not a true statement because not all people of a certain race will have a certain skill but society tends to associate these attributes to people of a certain race.

“I have never been blatantly discriminated against but I have dealt with subtle stuff,” said Aditya Nilio, a university student of middle eastern decent. “A lot of people assume I’m good at fixing computers, I mean, I am good at fixing computers but what makes people assume that.”

There is a huge difference between stereotyping someone and discriminating against someone. Stereotypes tend to be subtle assumptions that everyone lives with based on a sundry of factors such as race, religion, sexual orientation, financial status, upbringing, your hometown, and many other factors. Discrimination is when these factors are used to maintain a level of power or dominance over an individual.

“I have been discriminated against multiple times because of my skin color,” Said Raymond Joaceus, an African American student here on campus. “I was almost arrested a few weeks ago because I’m black.”

Joaceus was at a party down town where he barely had any alcohol. While he was on the bus on his way home a girl puked and some of the puke landed on his leg. To avoid the embarrassment of having puke on his leg in front of his fellow students, Joaceus decided to wait until everyone got off the bus in order to exit and start walking back to the tower on Dutch Quad. Once Joaceus arrived back in the tower he attempted to enter the elevator when he was stopped by two police officers.

“Get out of the elevator, you look like the guy we are after.” one of the cops said according to Joaceus.

To make a long story short the cops insisted on berating Joaceus by threatening him repeatedly that they would arrest his if he didn’t follow their orders. The cops repeatedly asked for Joaceus identification, his wallet, and other documentation that was not necessary for the scenario.

In the end the officers handcuffed Joaceus and tied his legs to a stretcher and forced him to go to the hospital claiming he was “an endanger to himself and everyone around him” even though he was completely sober. The cops also berated Joaceus intelligence by claiming that Joacues wouldn’t remember any of the events from the night so he didn’t deserve to know the officers name.

This is an example of discrimination because race was used as a tool to maintain a certain power or dominance over someone. Based on Joacues side of the story (I was not able to get in contact with the cop because as said before his name was never told to Joacues) he was clearly being dealt with in a certain manner because he is a six foot tall black man.

Racism is a very tricky subject because everyone deals with race differently. Some people are offended by stereotyping meanwhile some people, such as comedians like Key and Peele (the comedians in the video above) embrace stereotypes to make comedy. Even though stereotypes may be used in comical scenarios discrimination is not something to be taken lightly as when someone is being dominated or looked down on based solely on their race, it becomes a huge problem.


2 thoughts on “Issues of race; difference between stereotypes and discrimination

  1. Its very clear you worked hard on your assignment here. I really liked that you went in depth on Joacues because I feel like a lot of people would just leave it once they got the quote they were looking for. I feel like you really got down to the point of the assignment here which is really good.
    The only thing I would suggest is focus mainly on Joacues. I think that would make your story more focused and strong. What were his opinions on this incident? How did he feel after?
    But really, this was fantastic.

    • Thank you. I definitely should have focused on his story more but I was trying to make it seem more balanced. I should have ignored being balanced and just followed the more important story.

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