This Friday for Clutch I write about how your "black people don't" stereotype sausage gets made and how what we often assign as "black" stereotypes are really "American" stereotypes about class and education. Whether or not you like sushi and Italian art has everything to do with whether or not you were exposed to it. Melanin has no effect.
Here's a snippet:
Often the traits black women are accused of having are more so signifiers of class than race. Blue-collar whites are just as unlikely to travel abroad (in a country with a population of more than 300 million, only 30 percent have passports to travel abroad), go vegan, and date outside their race. They also don’t work out as much (as evidenced by the obesity epidemic that is a crisis countrywide, not just with black people) or learn second languages.
It’s not just unique for a black woman to decide to run a marathon; it’s unique for most Americans.
It’s a bad habit we fall into, labeling ourselves by race (and then assigning negative connotations to it), when often what we’re experiencing are simple differences of class, curiosity, education, and exposure. Being incurious and set in your ways is a time-honored American tradition. And black people (last I checked) are the most American Americans running around.
But because white people aren’t often seen as a “race,” they don’t get lumped in. A bunch of overweight white people aren’t seen as “white people sure are fat.” They’re seen as fat “individuals” unto themselves, not tainting or representing the whole. White people (and black people) tend to focus on the coastal, urban, financial, or education-based outliers of the white community and not the large, swaths of white folk in the middle who love NASCAR, watch FOX News, eat at Hardees and favor the Tea Party, Jesus, and American football in near equal measure. Those folks don’t do any of the things black women “allegedly” don’t do, either.