“Have you ever wondered what educated black people like? Why do we like baked chicken? Why do we love neo- soul? Why do we rock patterned stockings?” a woman asks. She then encourages viewers to discuss these topics with friends. I was recently directed to a website called “Stuff Educated Black People Like.” The list ranged from people to food and musical interests to fashion, television and political leaders, speaking of a monolithic, uniform and insular experience among persons who have a bachelor’s degree. It is the site’s only entry.
What I don’t understand is why these stereotypes are acceptable and others are not. Yes, I am familiar with the excuses that are given, that it is a privilege of those who belong to the group. So, I can say something negative about socially colored black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige people who are of this particular educational background because I am a member but you cannot. But, what does this rationale say about you or me and how we feel about the group that we claim to belong to? That we excuse black on black stereotypes? How do such stereotypes benefit us? What exactly is the purpose of this list or those that we have created about the groups to which we claim allegiance?
It offers no comedic relief and is certainly of no educational benefit. What is the purpose of knowing what so- called “educated black people like”? Is this list a means by which those who have a bachelor’s degree and identify themselves as socially colored black determine what she and he should like? Are they to become the stereotype and if they like something that is not on the list are they no longer educated or “black”?
I believe that these stereotypes and others like them that seek to cover the life experiences, interests and abilities of entire people groups should be turned off. These generalizations speak loudly within American culture, making it difficult to hear the still, small, new sound of life that is always attempting to speak within each of us. I, for one, am tired of singing and hearing and buying into the same old song. Shhhhhhh.