Stop feeding your own stereotypical identity!

Joris Mertens,

I’m a security guard at a cultural centre in Belgium. Eventhough this is a private organisation, we keep our doors open to the public each day until 11pm. This off course also attracts the attention of our city’s street youth. Most of the time I don’t mind them, for their presence actually makes our work envoirement feel more alive. Alas, at least once each week, these younglings come here to create trouble. They often fight, steal, commit vandalism, or sometimes they even break and enter at night.

After my first year working here, I started noticing a patern. It seemed that these kids always grouped by color of their skin, and accordingly waged war with the others. There was a black group, an arabic group, a white group, and so on. Not a single one of these accepted members of another color than there own. What stood out even more, is that they acted as stereotypical as one could expect of them. The black kids rapped all the time, dressed themselves as if they were gang members and even occasionly started to rob people. The white kids had shaved heads, wore black jackets and had rasist tattoos which they displayed very proudly. The arabs almost never spoke another language other than there own, (eventhough I know all too well they actually speak fluent dutch.) and if anyone even dared to look at them in a funny way, they always immediattely reacted in violence. At the end of the day, they acted exactly as society is presenting them to be. However, everytime I talk with one of these kids separatily, their attitude completely changes. They start asking questions, show intrest in how things work and even talk about their future dreams. Why, I asked myself? Why can’t they let go of these stereotypical identities? Why do they keep returning to these groups of violence, while their hearts actually are urging for structure and peace? Maybe because they’re just misguided kids, who are brainwashed by the hate of blame.

My point being, is that the stereotypical identity that society has made them to be, only inspires more hate. Each time a white mother passes the black kids who are dressed in gang clothing, she becomes frightened and pulls her todler closer. Why? because they look damn scary! Is it racist to do so? No, absolutely not, a mother shoul be allowed to protect he child. But yet this inspires racism for the next generation. The same goes for a black man who passes the white kids with nazi tattoos, or anyone who gets violent threats when he/she accidentally stares at the arabic youth. HATE ONLY INSPIRES MORE HATE. Teach our youth not to give in to each race’s stereotypical identity, for at the end of the line, it’s but propaganda for racism.

My best regards to everyone.


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