‘Act your race’ comments just perpetuate ignorance

Jonathan Wences

Jonathan WencesSome dramatic changes regarding the perception of race and ethnicity. While public discrimination and prejudice have not disappeared, our nation no longer considers them socially acceptable.

Despite this progress, racial stereotyping is depressingly common.

Stereotypes are harmful because they reinforce the idea that people who belong to certain groups should act a certain way, regardless of how individuals think and act.

We will never understand how attending college and graduating with a degree is inherently a “white” thing, a view some narrow-minded people still hold. Intelligence is not determined by race, and anyone, regardless of ethnicity, should be granted the opportunity to further his or her education.

Anyone who tells you otherwise is only striving to put down an entire group because of their ignorant assumptions. Pursuing a degree has never been something to be ashamed of.

It makes no sense when people of the same racial group can call other members of that group “too white” or “too black,” “not a true Latino” or “not a true Asian,” just because they don’t fit the stereotypical mold.

The entire point of racial equality is just that — equality for all races.

Equality will never be achieved if so many people continue to insist that each race should stick to a strict set of rules.

Just as not all black people sag their pants and speak in ebonics and not all Asian people are math whizzes, not all white people are wealthy college graduates with a number of degrees under their belts.

When someone encourages a person to conform to their own expectations just because they are of a certain race, they are treating that person less like an individual and more like something that should be categorized in order to fit into their limited view of the world.

Doing this only widens the gap between races, strengthening stereotypes and, ultimately, promoting ignorance and intolerance.

It causes people to judge others by their ethnicity or the color of their skin, which is something we as a society have been working to escape for several decades.

You may think you’re just making a harmless jab at someone when you say they need to be more like others of their race, but you’re only serving to ostracize them.

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