Words by Amber McKynzie
There are a plethora of myths out there about black people, but the question is, which ones are actually true? For years, the black community has been inundated with oxymoronic myths that just continue as the years go on. At some point, someone needs to stop and say, How can all black people be lazy if they’re all extremely athletic? Or, how can all black people spend the majority of their time running if they’re supposed to be inside singing? It gets a bit hard to understand the myths if they’re all contradicting each other, don’t you think?
So from watermelon to welfare, Black Enterprise is exploring ten of the black community’s most popular urban legends while thinking, Doesn’t it just make you want to scream?
Black People Make Everything About Race
Whenever there’s a problem or something seems unfair, black people blame it all on the color of their skin, don’t they? If someone cuts in front of them in line, it’s because he or she was black; if the cashier at Starbucks unintentionally charges three double lattes instead of two, it’s because the customer was black; and if someone is passed over for a much overdue promotion, it’s certainly all because that person was black.
While those ideas might be true in some circumstances, the race card isn’t every black person’s go-to defense for life’s misfortunes, no matter how small. The fact is, sometimes the next person deserved the promotion more, and every now and then it’s the cashier’s first day on the job and they just don’t know any better.
Race matters, but that’s not the only thing that lies in the souls of Black folk.
All Black People Can Sing
From Whitney Houston to Mariah Carey, it’s no secret some black people can sing, but the notion that we all can just isn’t true. Once in a blue moon, a talented person of color with a phenomenal voice is born, but do you remember the guy from American Idol who sang, “Pants on the Ground?” His vocal chords only went so far.
So while a few hundred black people are globally recognized for their inhumane octave ranges and outstanding vibratos, most of us will only be famous for singing in the shower!
All Black People Run Fast
Cool Runnings is a movie, not a lifestyle to all black people. While Leon and Malik Yoba can run a 9.3-second 100 meter dash, that’s not reality for anyone, regardless of their race; not even close. Although many people would like to believe that the black population is born with a magic running gene, hundreds of thousands of us must have been passed over because that gene simply doesn’t exist.
Usain Bolt is one in a million, not one in three.
All Black People Look Alike
If you meet one, you’ve met them all, or at the least that’s what they say when it comes to black people. According to the majority of America, or the world, little Tommy Jones from Crenshaw Blvd in Los Angeles is Kanye West’s twin brother, no question. And if you let ABC tell it, Bill Russell and Morgan Freeman are one in the same.
But unbeknownst to the general population, every black person does not share the same genes. We come in many different shades and sizes; some people have thick, curly hair while others’ is silky straight. Not to mention, some of us are just taller than others. Unfortunately the idea that all black people look alike will never be true.
Black People Are Lazy
If you’ve ever watched Aaron McGruder’s animated series, The Boondocks, then you’re familiar with the fact that Uncle Ruckus—a freed personality that exists post-slavery but lives with a slave mentality—thinks all black people are worthless when it comes to work ethic. But Uncle Ruckus’ character is a spoof on reality.
Black people have taken over Congress (John Lewis), Fortune 500 companies (Kenneth I. Chenault, American Express) and science (Neil deGrasse Tyson). And who can forget the White House? President Obama is living proof that all black people are not lazy.
Black People Don’t Tip
Let’s face it, when the bill comes some people are just hesitant to leave more money then necessary. Sometimes that person happens to be black. Other times that person might be White. While black people may be notoriously associated with under-tipping, the fact remains: everybody does it.
The cardinal rule: just double the tax.
Black People Abuse the Welfare System
Here are the facts. On Septmeber 11, 2011, a non-black woman named Amanda Clayton won $1 million in the Michigan State Lottery. Before receiving her winnings, the 24-year-old mother of two brought in $200 per month in food stamps. After receiving her seven-figure-check, Amanda continued to receive her monthly food stamps because she remained unemployed.
In light of Amanda’s carefree actions, it’s clear that taking advantage of America’s welfare system is not race specific. It’s a recession, so it looks like everyone is looking for a way to survive.
All Black People Are From The Hood
The notion that all black people come from the hood is obviously perpetuated by rap. If you ask Drake, he started from the bottom but now he’s here, and he brought his whole team with him—lyrics referenced from his most recent single, “Started From the Bottom.” In reality, Aubrey Drake Graham spent the majority of his childhood on television sets filming the Canadian TV series, Degrassi. There’s nothing “bottom” about that.
People may not like to admit it, but rappers lie. All of them are not from the hood, and neither is all of the black population.
All Black People Love Watermelon
Watermelon is delicious, but not to everyone. While the red melon serves as one of the juiciest fruits, and might occasionally show up at family reunions and dinners, not everyone flocks to the large produce.
The truth is, while black people are stereotyped for gravitating to watermelon, the fruit happens to be one of America’s choice fruits. It’s sweet, and there’s always plenty to go around.
Black People Have Smaller Brains
For many years, scientists have tried to prove that the brain size and capacity of a black person is smaller than that of a White person, but no studies can prove such a thing. The idea is ridiculous. One of the world’s first scholarly hubs was in Mali, West Africa—best known for its book trading and idea exchange.
People can try to continue to prove that black people don’t measure up to other races, but that will be an indefinite process.