It’s common, even amongst well-meaning people. I’ve been seeing a lot of (white) friends/randos/whoever analyze the black condition lately, and there’s often this weird tinge, like they’re looking at captured creatures. (Which you could make a case for, but I’m not flowery enough to pull that off.) A lot of “I could never understand the burden, it must be so tough to go on living,” like. (You can understand it, and it’s not tough. I can’t eat pound cake or listen to Trina when I’m dead. It ain’t a fair trade, but we take what we can get.)
But it all comes back to the same thing: the stories we tell about black people are often about black trauma, and because those stories are dominant, they become the norm, not part of a whole. It’s slavery, whips & chains (in the slave and/or rapper sense), black-on-black crime, cop-on-black crime, etc etc. So people think that, in order for fictional black experiences to be correct or believable, they have to tick those boxes. It’s why black comics characters used to have to occasionally encounter racism or lady heroes kick some dude in the nuts after being catcalled/demeaned. And it’s like, yeah, that stuff happens, but it ain’t all that happens. I’ve got some personal stuff going on that’s tearing me up, but I still spend a lot of time eating gummy Life Savers, watching Seinfeld on DVD, and thinking about Lupin III.
It would be like if somebody read a comic and was just SHOCKED that the white guys in it didn’t go out of their way to…white people stereotypes are kinda crappy and not funny, mainly because they’re pretty toothless, but I guess playing an acoustic guitar at a party or driving Camaros or something. That does happen, but I imagine white dudes also spend time doing things normal people do, too.
Twitter/Tumblr/social media in general I think go a long way toward normalizing black life for people, I think/hope/pray, but we gotta keep on telling better stories until this kinda thing is left behind, ‘cause we’re up against 400 years of inertia