Typecasting: Double-Takes, Danger, and Death

The problem of squeezing Black people into certain predictable boxes

Hello friends,

As a Black woman—a person of the global majority*—every time I walk into a global minority, predominantly white space, I feel like many people around me experience cognitive dissonance, that mental discomfort when something, or someone, doesn’t quite fit your beliefs. Do you know how some actors always play the same kinds of roles? Well, that typecasting happens in many white people’s minds related to Black people. I’m convinced of it.

What else could explain the double-take as their minds struggle to process the fact that the person with an anglicized name is a tall Black woman? As you know, I’ve had that happen to me more than once. It happens less these days because my photo is firmly attached to my name on social media, but I’ve never forgotten how it feels to see that reaction.

There are other examples of this, and not only within the Black community. I was browsing Instagram one day when I saw a post about the same thing in the Latine** community. Here’s what happened. Some people were hanging out at a house. Another person arrived and immediately assumed that the Latine person in the group was doing domestic service rather than forming part of the group of friends.

Subscribe to Premium Membership to read the rest.

Become a paying subscriber of Premium Membership to get access to this post and other subscriber-only content.

Already a paying subscriber? Sign In

A subscription gets you:
The SARN podcast, with Sharon's short takes on anti-racism issues
A monthly behind-the-scenes update from Sharon, plus early access to some content
Access to the FULL archive of 400+ posts - no more paywall!