For nearly a week straight on social media, the meme of "Daquan" was a trending topic.
The Daquan meme is a variety of photos of young white girls arguing with their parents about a stereotypical black guy named "Daquan" who "stays in the trap" and doesn't have a problem messing with 8-year-olds.
Countless hundreds of accounts spread this meme throughout social media (and no, not just Black Twitter ALL of Twitter) for nearly a week.
And who were the majority of those spreading and perpetuating this stereotypical meme that paints black men as drug slinging thugs and pedophiles? Black men and boys.
I wonder who created it? I wouldn't be surprised if it was created by a racist person who was using it to make fun of black people. Yet black people willingly and eagerly joined in on the "fun," retweeting it and making it a trending topic for everyone to see.
Not "Just a Meme"
As black people we love to complain and get the pitchforks out when there's an injustice against black people, no matter how small, but we don't want to own up to how some of us perpetuate our own negative stereotypes in this society.
I don't know if black people still think that we live in some kind of a bubble where our so-called "family business" stays in the family, but we don't anymore thanks to the internet. Black Twitter antics aren't only promoted on the accounts of other black people -- it's visible everywhere. For some reason a large group of black people seem to be on Twitter all day long, promoting ignorance.
I don't particularly care what racists think of black people, but I do care about how we're treated in this society, and much of that is based on negative stereotypes.
For example, look at what happened to Professor Ersula Ore while simply walking across the street. A white cop who probably believes every negative stereotype ever told about black women thought it was okay to slam her to the ground like she was a rag doll. Not to mention the black 51-year old grandma who was repeatedly punched in the face by a police officer.
Let's also talk about how black people (particularly black women) have such a hard time finding a place to live or work because of negative stereotypes. Even if you're a hard working individual with a college degree, you have to wonder if you didn't get that job because of a person who has bought into negative stereotypes about black women and men.
Stereotypes may ring true for a few, but their repercussions affect us all.
When Negative Stereotypes Have Very Real Repercussions
Anyone who says that "it shouldn't matter" or "it's just fun and jokes" when faced with the choice to laugh or fight back against negative stereotypes, here's a one-word answer for you: Trayvon.
Trayvon Martin was unfairly taken from this world because a small minded vigilante used negative stereotypes to judge his character without ever meeting him. This "community volunteer" assumed that Trayvon was a potential criminal walking through a quiet community.
I don't understand how as a young black man you can help perpetuate these Daquan-esque stereotypes knowing the great risk you take just walking down the street at night in this country. Do you like being harassed?
I don't understand how as a young black woman you can still help perpetuate the image of black women as sex pots and jezebels, to be used and consumed by the world.
I don't understand how we can still go around freely calling our "skinfolk" niggas and bitches like it's their names in public. Just to sound "cool" and "down."
Isn't it time for a change yet young people? Isn't it time that we work harder to shatter stereotypes rather than help promote them? At what point will we realize that in order to get respect from society we have to respect ourselves and each other first? Hopefully not when it's too late.