Being Brown Makes Me Look “Hood”

38125_419607353628_8209670_nVictor Vega,
Los Angeles, CA.

What troubles is on his mind? What’s he hiding from the camera? What’s in his jacket? That’s what I think when I see a picture of mine taken from several years back. If a white person was wearing street attire, one might think he’s cool, trendy, or might not even consider anything about the articles he’s decided to clothe himself in. If a brown person was wearing those clothes, one might think, “Oh, that’s the kind of street clothes he’s supposed to be wearing.” The meaning changes when the image is based on one’s background associations. When I wear a baggy t-shirt, can’t it be because it was all I could afford on a hot day, or am I guilty by association? Rather than victimizing myself, others think may I be the one facing the defendant in the county courtroom.

A socioeconomic story is subject to racial differences between those who wear the ‘hood’ or ‘thug’ clothes. And when other’s identities are based on their clothing—that may lead to an incorrect assumption because that story changes depending on which race is wearing those clothes. In my opinion, being black or brown skin colored already takes care of half one completing the street look. Just pop on the clothes and one has racially inadvertently fit the stereotype of looking hood or thug. The clothes tell a story about the socioeconomic standing, but race enforces that story. The accoutrements I wear are meant to convey a cultural recounting of my background, not the images my race is associated to. I’ve been perceived to wear gang-like attire, outside of my neighbored, but I’m merely trying to dress like everyone in my community when I’m at college. The stereotype is engraving throughout the minds of generations that a minority looking “hard,” is actually “hard” in personality as well, not feeling for the possibility he may be joyful, soft, or friendly.

My brothers and sisters of color have come a long way and beyond from being immigrants to this country. Please look beyond, see further, deeper than the phenotype of a person. All I hope others to consider is a death to the racialization of the dirty ghetto colored kid.


Tweets by Michele Norris