Thursday, October 4, 2012

"Convince them that Everyone else is Doing it"

I just read a post at Hooking up Smart and one part really stood out for me,
…What researchers have found is that there are techniques for changing a culture that appear to work, but they are not always the obvious ones. Doing so in a way that produces lasting results, but doesn’t involve destroying the group entirely, requires finesse, subtlety, and patience. It also requires a certain suspension of optimism about human nature. To really change how a group of people thinks and behaves, it turns out, you don’t need to change what’s inside of them, or appeal to their inner sense of virtue. You just have to convince them that everybody else is doing it.
“The inner conformist is stronger than the inner activist,” said Michael Morris, a psychologist at Columbia University who studies the role of culture in decision-making.
Up here in Canada I feel like everybody has a positive view of self-improvement and social climbing and mobility. That's because my parents are that way and so are their friends. They sent me to schools where the emphasis was on doing very well academically, having hobbies, participating in many activities, learning new languages etc. so that we would be well-rounded people (which also made us attractive to universities). In university there was the same mentality and people clamored for unique experiences out of curiosity, to prepare them for work, and also to prepare them for graduate school (and make them more attractive to those schools). So for all those years I was surrounded by achievers, people trying to do their best, people pressured to "publish or perish", and the hoops one had to jump through in order to achieve desired goals. Since all of my friends were from school I though that this was a common mentality and "everybody else was doing it". Really it doesn't even matter if there are other large groups of society who think differently because I don't know them, I won't be working with them as colleagues, and I won't be dating them since I date prestigious and ambitious men.

This makes me wonder about some of the stereotypical things people think Western Black people do and don't do. How many of these things are based on the media especially movies, TV shows, and music?   These things are shown around the world and people think this is "Black culture" not just the culture of a small group of AA people. How many Black people around the world are really into hip hop (I mean totally satisfied and can see no wrong in it)? I keep on hearing that White people are the largest consumers of the music and they own the record companies so then isn't hip hop a White thing? But I don't hear anyone saying "White people who don't appreciate hip hop are sellouts to their own race". Why aren't people pushing oldschool Mowtown, Jazz, Blues, Calypso, Reggae, R & B, and pop as hard as hip hop? This is tragic because the hip hop that I hear/see in the mainstream in my opinion is the most materialistic, violent, misogynist, racist, and perpetuating of stereotypes when compared to the other music (and no I'm not going to search for some mysterious type of hip hop that doesn't have any of those things. I tried that before and was left with less money and two CDs full of cursing and the n-word that I was told was conscious and not like other hip hop. I gave it a shot and I've chosen other forms of music that's easier to consume). I've never had that issue with these other forms of Black music. I think that the music tastes of Black people needs to be studied and we might find that not as many like it as we think. Maybe a lot of people only like the beat and wish that most things about the style changed, which means they don't really like it! Seriously, if you say you don't like mainstream hip hop then do you really like hip hop? I have ZERO complaints about the mainstream ballads and Mowtown songs I love.

I also think that the values and beliefs of Black people around the world needs to be studied too so that what the majority of Black people think is known. There are probably studies like this already but I just don't know about them. I think this is so important for dispelling stereotypes! It could be that the majority of Black people in Western countries believe in marriage and having children after wedlock. The majority could believe that education is extremely important. They could actually be supportive of interracial friendships and dating. The majority may not think that everything bad that has happened in their lives is due to slavery or racism. They may barely think of race at all most days. They may think Black men and Black women are not a problem. They may think that Black people are not that different from other races.

It could be the case that the majority of Western Black people think these things but we are not hearing these sentiments as loudly or frequently as we should on the news, on TV, in movies, in music videos, in music, on Youtube, or on blogs! Is it because the minority is more vocal, attention-getting, famous, or more motivated to make their views known to the public? Have they just been more successful at making it seem like "everyone" is like them when really it's only a small group? Is this the media's fault or the fault of consumers? Are some Black people swallowing harmful messages put out by the minority while ignoring the beneficial messages of the silent majority? If you know something is a stereotype aren't you motivated to be different especially if it is negative? I guess some people might want to be a negative stereotype as some sort of protest or because they want most people to dislike or fear them (for reasons I do not understand). At least if you are conforming to a positive stereotype then there are obvious benefits because the behaviour/attitude is viewed positively. People have a strong drive to be "normal". For some the "Black normal" is very different from "White normal" but for others those two are almost the same! But many feel shamed and pressured to accept the extreme version of "Black normal" that actually makes it more difficult to to be successful in Western societies (i.e., being "Black normal" as defined by the minority means being considered abnormal by the rest of society and accepting the host of problems that comes along with that).

This is why it is SOOOO important to seek out alternative viewpoints, look at research and statistics, and sometimes just turn off the TV or computer and do what you think is right instead of what the media tells you "everyone is doing". Why do we have to all stick together when it comes to personal interests and life goals anyway? Since when does my going to school, dressing a certain way, speaking a certain way, or dating someone have anything to do with bettering the race or fighting for justice? I don't put on my clothes thinking "hmmm, I shouldn't wear this dress because this could harm Black people". I don't decide "hmmm I'm going to curse out this White woman today because that will help Black people" lol (doesn't it sound ludicrous to always think about race before doing anything?). MY LIFE IS NOT A PROTEST! We need to THINK about the lives we want, set goals, and figure out the best ways to achieve those goals by THINKING and looking at other people who have achieved similar goals (regardless of race). Based on my goals I don't think that acting like a stereotype would have helped me one bit. People should do what works for them instead of doing something because supposedly that's what members of their race do. I mean if Black people started jumping off cliffs would you do it too? Maybe if you searched for yourself and examined the people in your own life you would see the media is distorting the truth. Maybe those things labelled "Black" are not that Black after all.

I might agree with about 98% of what this man is saying omg!

May as well post another one just because :) Ok, he says if a woman goes out with him on 3 date's she's his girlfriend??? Where in the world can I find a man who thinks like that??? Yeah, I don't like the sandwich jokes...

Related Articles:
If feels weird seeing all these lists of things Black people like, dislike, do and don't do but I don't see other races doing this as much. I mean there are things associated with other cultures but it's not as strict or talked about in the same way. It's like when other races talk about this stuff there isn't this underlying "if you don't do this then you are no longer a part of this race, you hate yourself, you hate your race, and you need therapy" sort of notion. I mean it's funny to laugh at common traits but there shouldn't be pressure to conform to those traits or else risk expulsion from the group!
Stuff Black people like blog
Things Black people like blog (yeah yeah I like hot sauce and cocoa butter..whatever lol)
Stuff Black people don't like blog "This website will serve to educate the general public on Black people and the Stuff That Black People Don't Like. Black people have many interesting eccentricities, which include disliking a litany of everyday events, places, household objects and other aspects of their everyday life. Black people are an interesting subject matter and this website will chronicle the many problems in life that agitate this group of people." (seriously?...)
Stuff Black people hate
Stuff educated Black people like (Oh noes she's calling me out! I like a lot of stuff on this list..does that mean I'm a stereotype???)


  1. Hey Elegance,
    This comment is for you. Obviously someone has upset you or attacked you about your quote on quote blackness or their percieved lack of you having it lmao.... This is simply going to happen to black women like us. Who make the effort to go against the dictates of percieved societal norms within the race for BW. You really can't even give those types of people energy because at the end of the day. They win. And on top of that you actually give them more fuel by explaining to them why you are the way you are ect. Besides the vast majority of us BW regardless if wer'e from Canada or US just by the geographical philiosophy of being from the west have been socialized in a conformist/shame culture that makes us care about what other people think about us.
    You just really cant give a flip about these people and their opinions out here. Conforming to a certain degree is cool when it comes to social climbing and conforming in a positive way but seriously if the Bw were to start truly being conformist I see this all the time at my college... the majority would be running around with barbie pink hair, multi colored neon leggings, dimple piercings, and chest tattoos(seriously). So that can most def go 2 ways.
    The whole idea is this though. This is your blog. Black people tend to have a crab in the barrel mentality and like to pick our own apart while ignoring themselves and people of other races in the processs.
    You have wonderful fun/light posts about boosting the self esteem, beauty, and feminine presence of black women. Please dont ever let these trolls throw you off of your core goals and mission for this blog. I noticed you said "they" have been making this to where it's not as enjoyable 4 u anymore. I say tsk tsk tsk. U giving up way too much power boo. You run this. You are the driver, director, executive producer, and CEO of EBW. These energy vampires should have absolutley no effect on the tone, topics, or feel of your blog. Lets get that positive EBW energy that we love back up and running. With fun and sexy tips about being a hotter more competitive you in the marketplace. This blog is about being/becoming an elegant black women. Not defending our position of who we are. Because seiously its about something much greater than that. That being who we are evolving into. Something different, something better, something new:)So get that sparkle back Elegance. Never let them still your joy. Because you don't have to prove anything to anybody ever. People will try to shame us into doing something. By virtue of us being women. Especially being BW. Just remember "they" [and that goes for anybody male or female] should be playing your game and abiding by your rules or else there's simply no game to be played. Have a great day and a EBW weekend!

  2. Hi Shae :)

    Lol yes Maam! I have to stop trying to understand the people who dislike me online because who knows who they are and if they have any common sense. It's hard for me to not try to understand people but doing it online with adamant haters is just useless. Ok, thanks for the wake up call. Whoever lives the happiest life wins in the end right? Right now I'm definitely not miserable but who knows about the complaining trolls.

    Well your words are much appreciated! Have a great weekend too :)

  3. Hi Elegance,
    You of course know how much I love your blog and how much I admire what you're doing. I don't see anyone else doing what you're doing right now. I read a lot of BWE blogs but yours is by far the best I've seen.
    However, you must understand that people (haters) are probably mad because they didn't come up with a blog yours first.
    You must also bear in mind that you do not know who these trolls are, for all you know it can be some fat loser with no social life and the only way they can get attention is by coming on your blog to leave nasty comments to upset you. I've seen this before and trust me, you should just pity them. When i found your blog I was so happy to find someone who likes the same things I like. I think that a lot of black women need your blog because many of us have struggled with channeling our femininity and I speak from experience, so don't let anyone discourage you.

    I too have had people attack me online and it does get a bit annoying at times, but you know what, I started ignoring them and they eventually went away. They will not stick around in a place where they're not getting attention. Trolls feed on attention, it's their only food source, so don't feed them. I hate when I go on some BWE blog and I;m reading the comments, then some troll would come in and leave a stupid comment. What usually happens after is a bunch of people would start commenting about the troll's comment or attacking the troll (very counter productive if you ask me) which totally derails the entire topic. If they had just ignored their comment, you know, act like it didn't exist, then all the drama could've been avoided. Having said that, I am looking forward to future posts by you :)

    P.S. I love your previous post about being Bougie, it made me smile and I especially liked the pic of ms Rice, she does look rather feminine.


    Love it, absolutely love it and this blog. I've been reading your posts and they are so uplifting and positive. I'm already seeing improvements in my own life. Please continue writing and don't let these trolls get to you. I'm with Maria in that I see a lot of trolls and people who give constant energy to them. And it's truly sad (but entertaining sometimes lol)

    You're doing a great thing. Keep it up :D

  5. Hi Maria and Morpheus :)

    I won't let the trolls stop me. I have no idea who they are and they may just be miserable with their own lives. They may not be used to seeing feminine Black women at all and they may just think women like me are bougie. I'm okay with that because they would not be in my offline social circle anyway. I'm going to put them out of my mind and keep doing what I'm doing. There aren't too many Black femininity blogs so they should not feel so threatened anyway.