Why are Black people considered a threat to society?

(Threat stereotyping)

Black Lives Matter. Just 3 words that have caused perspectives to change, global redirection and bringing the past back into current times again. As we know the BLM movement has been all around social media and has been on our news channels. Blacks have a history of fighting against slavery, Black codes, Jim Crow laws, etc. In the book, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by  Harriet Beecher Stowe, the protagonist Eliza (an African American slave) talks about how Black slaves were treated as animals for labor to justify their treatment. Eliza talks about slavery being a “God’s curse” and “a curse to the master and a curse to the slave! I was a fool to think I could make anything good out of such a deadly evil” (Stowe, 220). Though slavery is abolished,  it’s still lurking around. More than four-in-ten say the US hasn’t made enough progress toward racial equality, and there is some skepticism, particularly among blacks, according to a new Pew Research Center from the 2014 Spring racial attitudes survey. But, why is there skepticism lurking around? Why is there doubt amongst Black people?

 Why are Black people considered a threat to society, in the first place? 

There is overwhelming evidence that young Black men are stereotyped as violent, criminal, and dangerous. Indeed, research suggests that Black men are associated with threat both implicitly (Maner et al., 2005; Payne, 2001) as well as explicitly (Cottrell & Neuberg, 2005). Because they are so readily appraised as threatening, furthermore, Black men are more likely to be shot erroneously and are often misperceived, suspected, automatically evaluated, and misremembered as aggressors (Graham & Lowery, 2004).

 Research  shows that it’s not only the physiological process/ perception, it’s also the appearance that is seen as a threat/menace. Taller Black men are judged as more threatening than shorter Black men and than both taller and shorter White men. New York City police officers disproportionately stopped and frisked tall Black men from 2006 to 2013. Height increases threat judgments more for Black men than for White men by manipulating height both visually and descriptively. “When you deal with the police, you must be careful. You are big and they will automatically see you as a threat.” — Charles Coleman, Jr. (6′4″ Black attorney/writer).  At 5′4″, police stopped 4.5 Black men for every White man; at 5′10″, police stopped 5.3 Black men for every White man; and at 6′4″, police stopped 6.2 Black men for every White man. These results suggest that taller Black men face a greater risk of being stopped than shorter Black men (Hester & Gray, 2017).

Though Black lives have been targeted for demise, due to misinterpretation from racist beliefs, the value of the African race has been respected more as time passes. In the book “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Harriet Beecher Stowe, there is evidence showing the roots of value on the African race and how “It is with the oppressed, enslaved African race that I cast in my lot; and, if I wished anything, I would wish myself two shades darker, rather than one lighter” (Stowe, 200). This gives perspective on the fact that society is attempting to realize the worth of Black life, and how their lives are precious too. They have a purpose and a stance in the world, which shouldn’t be seized away by the Caucasian Americans or anybody in general, which is not opinionated, but a fact.

2020’s Black Lives Matter protests are historic and inspire change. George Floyd’s last words before his death were “I can’t breathe” which brings a negative connotation from the experience of those words, but those words were also the ones that brought change. Undoubtedly, his death has marked the beginning of a global call for action. The protests for Black lives have words like “Black lives Matter”, and these words have renewed the perspectives of many individuals.

For more information here are some scholarly resources/references: