Stop the Stereotypes

Angelica Dameus, Staff Writer

At the 87th Academy Awards last Sunday, Disney star, Zendaya, arrived to the red carpet looking radiant as ever in a pearl white gown. The next day, during the Academy Award Edition of Fashion Police, television personality Giuliana Rancic insensitively commented on her look, saying, “I feel like she smells like patchouli oil or weed.” Offended and disappointed (and with good reason), Zendaya defended herself and all people of color with dreads who were affected by Rancic’s ignorance.

“… Do you want to know what Ava DuVernay (director of the Oscar nominated film Selma), Ledisi (9 time Grammy nominated singer/songwriter and actress), Vincent Brown (Professor of African and African American studies at Harvard University), Heather Andrea Williams (Historian who also possesses a JD from Harvard University, and an MA and PhD from Yale University), as well as many other men, women and children of all races have in common? Locs. None of which smell of marijuana… my wearing my hair in locs on an Oscar red carpet was to showcase them in a positive light, to remind people of color that our hair is good enough.”

The E! News reporter was quick to apologize and claimed full responsibility for any trouble she caused, and Zendaya accepted her apology gracefully.

Because I’m black, I appreciated her apology and decided to live and let die with the situation. However, as I was browsing through Instagram Tuesday night, I came across a comment on a video of a black woman and two black children dancing to a rap song that left me speechless: “What do you expect, they’re black.”

Stereotyping is to believe unfairly that all people or things with a particular characteristic are the same. In today’s modern world, stereotyping has become an issue put on the back burner for far too long. Assuming that a young black woman’s dreadlocks smell like marijuana or that black girls like dancing because they are black is wrong. Assuming anything about anyone because of their race is wrong. It’s the same as saying that an Asian student must have highest grade in their math class, or all white teenagers have iPhones. Don’t judge a book by its cover; stop the stereotypes.