African Americans not hired?

I worked for an international organization in Washington, DC and a friend, Veronica, from back home joined a couple of years after me.  One day we ha the following conversation:

Veronica:  Aren’t African Americans the main ethnic group that lives in DC?

Me:  Yes, they are.

Veronica:  Then how come African Americans are not hired by our employer?  The only blacks I see are from Africa and other places.

Me:  There are several African Americans who work here.

Veronica:  How come I have never seen even one?  I have looked around and have not seen anyone with tattoos, dreadlocks, sagging pants or one whose every other word is swearing.

Me:  Do you know Hector from IT?

Veronica:   I know him.  Actually he is the one who helped set up my computer and he is very good.  What about him?

Me:  He is African American.  [I did not see the need to mention that Hector had recently cut off his dreadlocks :)]

Veronica:  What?  Hector is African American?  I don’t believe it.  He is a real professional, wears his clothes right and is courteous.  Are you sure, Zambian Lady?

Me:  Not only am I sure, but he told me so himself.

Veronica:  I would never have guessed!  The only African Americans I have seen are thugs and good-for-nothings on TV.

It was interesting to see that once again, someone had believed stereotypes she had seen on TV.  I was however, glad that Veronica now knew that there are plenty of educated and well behaved African Americans.  Like in every other race/ethnic group, there are both the good, the bad and the ugly among African Americans.


12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kmandu
    Apr 16, 2015 @ 07:15:27

    I don’t know why it continues to shock me that people can think this way. Livelytwist is so right, we are brainwashed by the media… meaning without even knowing it our minds are molded to thinking that we’ve experience things first hand when it’s only come from the media. Sad.


    • Zambian Lady
      Apr 16, 2015 @ 19:31:40

      The media really does shape our way of thinking. It is unfortunate that we continue believing the media’s stereotypes of certain groups and we that as gospel truth.


  2. Sherri
    Apr 15, 2015 @ 08:56:57

    How terribly sad that such stereotyping still exists, thanks to the media’s slanted coverage. I had a very close African American friend when I lived in California. She lives in Atlanta now and I hope to visit her one of these days 🙂


  3. Gallivanta
    Apr 14, 2015 @ 05:21:51

    Indeed. Stereotyping is so easy, we often let our minds fall into it.


  4. gfchopstix
    Apr 14, 2015 @ 04:13:45

    Amazing how easily one can be influenced by what is seen on TV / internet, etc.


  5. mukhamani
    Apr 14, 2015 @ 03:48:40

    In every part of the world there are certain mindsets which are difficult to remove, we just have to pray that they will be removed. Regards.


  6. livelytwist
    Apr 13, 2015 @ 22:49:51

    Media can be powerful in shaping perceptions. This reminds me of Chimamanda Adichie’s Ted talk, The Danger of a Single Story. We need more stories out there in mainstream media. By sharing this story, you enlighten us. Thanks!


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