Friday, July 11, 2008

Stereotyping

Yesterday I was reading a blog, Complex Femme, and stereotyping was mentioned.

What is stereotyping? According to Dictionary.com

4. Sociology. a simplified and standardized conception or image invested with special meaning and held in common by members of a group: The cowboy and Indian are American stereotypes.
–verb (used with object)
5. to make a stereotype of.
6. to characterize or regard as a stereotype: The actor has been stereotyped as a villain.
7. to give a fixed form to.

It is my opinion that while stereotyping is often taught to children by their parents, whether intentional or not, it is also caused by being uninformed, and can be caused by first impressions, and experiences.

My first stepfather was Mexican American. He was physically abusive to my Mother. Given this experience I could easily stereotype Mexican Americans as abusers. However, I know that isn't true. No matter how hard I tried to get my mom to leave this man she wouldn't do it. Later he cheated on her and then left her for his girlfriend.

My ex both cheated on me and was abusive. So now I have the experiences that would allow me to stereotype all men as abusive cheaters. Again, I know that this isn't true.

My first impression of an Australian was a very rude boy that I refused an alcohol sale to, because he did not have proper ID. First he tried to say I was prejudice against Australians, then he proceeded to put me down through the entire transaction as a rang up the rest of his items. To top it all off it was some how my fault that his credit card would not let him get cash back at the register. I could easily have decided that Australians are rude.

I would ask that before you use stereotypes for groups of people, whether it is religion, race, sexual orientation, or some other group that you take the time to realize how you formed this opinion and hopefully become more informed about the group of people that you are stereotyping. What holds true for one or two individuals doesn't necessarily hold true for a whole group of people.

2 comments:

Rose DesRochers said...

Excellent post. I think before stereotyping people need stop and think what their stereotyping is doing to our world today.

Mae said...

Great post. No two persons are alike.

 
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