An unfortunate truth about society is that race plays a very important role in all facets of life. Even if it’s subtle, race influences how we see others, both in a physical and metaphorical sense, and vice-versa. No matter where you go or what you do, there will always be someone watching you, judging you without knowing the first thing about you. It happens on the street, in stores, in college dorm rooms, and, unfortunately, it happens when music is involved.
There’s a level of stereotyping when it comes to what genre of music we assume someone listens to. For example; I enjoy listening to music from the rock and metal genre, but, because I am a Black, people assume that I listen jazz or soul. This is because, when someone thinks of jazz, soul, or even the blues, it is immediately attributed to Blacks as their “go-to” music along with some hip-hop and rap as all of the beforementioned genres were “made” by Black artists. Even my father stresses that I should listen to jazz, a genre that he himself enjoys, and I am tired of it, especially because this perception is wrong.
In reality, race has nothing to do with what someone enjoys, music or otherwise, its is the environment that forges who someone is. Someone isn’t born liking a certain type of music the same way someone isn’t born a killer. It is the accumulated environmental factors that determine who a person will become. For me, I grew up watching shows and reading books about fantastical places and creatures and this sparked my desire to become a novelist so I can make places like that. I wasn’t born with a desire to write books, just as I wasn’t born liking rock. Events in my life led me to this point.
Just because I am Black that does not mean that I like what other Black people like. I love rock music. I love the heavy and fast pace of the genre, its catchy rifts and melodies, its almost contagious level of energy that it brings and I am tired of being criticized, by both Blacks and Whites, who say I should like something I don’t. I don’t want to conform to what is suspected of me and I’m tired of pretending. I am who I am and I like what I like and nothing will change that.
I am aware that racism is so ingrained in culture that a single article such as this won’t be able to remove its stain on society, but I hope it’s a step in the right direction. I hope that whoever reads this will realize that knowing someone’s race doesn’t define them. I hope that they will stop and actually talk to someone before they judge them in their own mind. Like the old saying goes, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. Every person has their own story, even if their cover says one thing, their pages could tell something completely different.