If you don’t already know, a stereotype is a generalization that is usually exaggerated or oversimplified and is often offensive to distinguish a group.
Imagine this: A middle aged man who is a hard worker and finished college with a degree in management. He applies for a job as a gas station manager for a major gas station company. He is the most qualified out of all the other applicants yet does not get the job. You may ask why he doesn’t get the job. I’ll tell you why. This is because he’s Arab and comes from a country that America is at war with.
This situation is only one of the many stereotypes that occurs everyday. Just because someone is of a certain ethnicity or religion, that doesn’t mean you can stereotype into groups.
Stereotypes are hurtful and most of the time untrue. Her are some examples of stereotypes:
Every Arab is a terrorist
Every Hispanic person is Mexican
Every white American is rich
Every white Southerner is racist
All Blondes are stupid
Every Hispanic person in America is an illegal immigrant
Every German is a Nazi
Every British person has messed up yellow teeth
These are only a few of the harmful stereotypes that are out there in the world.
If you’ve ever been the victim of a stereotype, which is a good probability, you know that they can cause you to do unnecessary things. They could make you lash out in rage or even confront that person face to face.
The chances are that if you stereotype someone more than once and mean it that could push them to do something irrational. America was built on the whole idea of “freedom” and “freedom of religion”. Yet, no one really accepts that and there is still segregation everywhere, whether it’s religious or ethnicity wise.
I have pretty light skin and no one would ever guess that I’m a Muslim or even Arab. My dad has pretty dark skin has been a Muslim all his life. I was also born a Muslim. My mom has light skin and that’s where I get my green eyes, my red hair, and my light skin from. If you saw me in the streets and I told my background, you’d probably think I’m lying. People always ask me if I’m a terrorist or if I know any when I first meet them. I always say no but they never believe me. The word terrorist means someone who causes terror or frightens others. The truth is, stereotypes give us ideas and push us to believe things that aren’t true.
Most people are affected by stereotypes and really don’t know it. There is really no person in this whole world that isn’t affected by stereotypes. Because of stereotypes, we don’t have quality of life. And without quality of life we can’t enjoy life. This is one of the main reasons people do not get along with each other and why people are separated by what they look like or by ethnic background. If we abolish all stereotypes we will finally be able to enjoy life without hate and without conflict. So, I ask you, can we do it?
Stereotypes: A Big Problem in Our Modern Society
I personally hate stereotypes. I dislike the fact that people think I should act one way because of my sex, personality, or nationality. I hate that people think I should like sports because I am a man. I hate that people think I should be priest because of my personality. I hate all of this because people are creating a concept of me based in what they see, but not in who I really am.
Stereotypes are a big problem in our society. It puts labels about how a person should act or live according to their sex, race, personality, and other facts. This could affect individuals who perhaps like different things or do different activities, but feel ashamed of doing so because of stereotypes. Stereotypes like all men like sports or women are not as strong as men, are among the most common in our society. Stereotypes have created a distortion of how every individual should be. We as part of the generation Y should know how these stereotypes could affect us as individuals. We should learn not to judge and prejudge about people because of what we think they should be like, and should change our point of view about the stereotypes that are deeply rooted in our society.
The negatives effects that stereotyping causes in people are many. Some of the negatives effects are harm, poor performance in different activities, and even health problems. According to the article “Long-term Effects of Stereotyping” published in psychcentral.com, Rick Nauert argues how people can be affected by stereotypes even after being exposed to them. Nauert based his arguments based on a study of the University of Toronto that shows how people get hurt because of stereotypes, and how it could affect their performance in different task. “People are more likely to be aggressive after they’ve faced prejudice in a given situation. They are more likely to exhibit a lack of self-control. They have trouble making good, rational decisions. And they are more likely to over-indulge on unhealthy foods” says Michael Inzlicht, who led the research. This demonstrates how individuals are affected in a negative way because of negative stereotypes.
But not only bad stereotypes cause negative effects in individuals. Good stereotypes can also be harmful and cause new problems. They are even worse because people are not aware they are causing harm. In the article “Why stereotypes are bad even when they’re ‘good’”, published in the website guardian.co.uk, Oliver Burkeman explain how good stereotypes could create another problems such as sexism and racism. This can be harmful to many individuals. Burkeman argument is based in a study by the Duke University that discovered that positive stereotypes can be harmful in different situations without people realizing they are doing so. In this study the participants were exposed to fake articles related to black people. The first article was positive and showed that black people are better at sports. In this first article the participants didn’t realize this was a stereotype. Next the participants were exposed to a negative article about that black people are more prone to violence. “When asked to estimate the probability that a hypothetical series of people with typically African-American names might commit a crime, people exposed to the positive stereotype rated that possibility as higher than did those exposed to a negative one. The positive stereotype (“good at athletics”) apparently led to stronger negative beliefs about black people than the negative one (“prone to violence”)” (Burkeman). This demonstrates how good and bad stereotypes are equally bad because it causes prejudgment and leads to bigger problems.
Stereotypes create a misconception of how people are and how they live in other cultures, religions, or countries. This misconception could cause problems such as discrimination. This is a big problem in our multicultural society. In the talk “The danger of a single story”, published in TED.com, Chimamanda Adichie argues that knowing a single story of a person or a country can cause misunderstanding and create stereotypes. She uses the example of when she first came to the US to study. She says that a woman felt sorry about her because she came from Africa, and even ask her if she could listen her tribal music. Chimamanda tells us how she felt struck by this because she is member of a middle class family in Nigeria and she doesn’t listen to tribal music. This demonstrates how people are influenced by a single story of a country or a person, and are no aware of many other stories that could change the perception of them. “Now, what if my roommate knew about my friend Fumi Onda, a fearless woman who hosts a TV show in Lagos, and is determined to tell the stories that we prefer to forget? What if my roommate knew about the heart procedure that was performed in the Lagos hospital last week? What if my roommate knew about contemporary Nigerian music, talented people singing in English and Pidgin, and Igbo and Yoruba and Ijo, mixing influences from Jay-Z to Fela to Bob Marley to their grandfathers. What if my roommate knew about the female lawyer who recently went to court in Nigeria to challenge a ridiculous law that required women to get their husband’s consent before renewing their passports? “(Adichie). What if we see in other countries, cultures, or religions not only what we belief, but also other stories that could change our perception. It is important to learn from each other to understand and avoid stereotypes that could be harmful.
Stereotypes are creating problems in kids. These problems can affect children in many ways. We can see the negatives effects in many areas such as the academic area. In the article “Awareness of racial stereotypes happens at an early age, has consequences”, published in berkeley.edu, Carol Hyman show us how stereotypes could cause problems in people from early ages. He support his claim based on a study of the University of Berkeley that shows how racial stereotypes make the children perform poorly in school. He mentions how we could solve these problems. Hyman says that school should “Change the way tests are described”,” Eliminate stereotypes and prejudice”, and “Adopt classroom practices to reduce competition”. If we want new generations to be successful we need to do something to change it.
This problem is creating confusion in kids because they are growing up thinking that they should be one way because society thinks that’s the ideal. Stereotypes also are creating a false idea of how they interact with other individuals. Many of the stereotypes the children receive are through media. We can’t change this because is the way our society works, but we can teach our children to value other people for what they are, not what they appear to be. It is also important to teach our children to respect each other regardless of sex, sexual orientation, race, culture, religion, personality and more. It is important to teach them these values because they are the future of our society.
We as the new generation should do something to avoid this problem. We can start changing our perception of stereotypes. We should be aware that all stereotypes are bad regardless if they are good or bad because it causes prejudgment. We should learn to respect and understand other cultures, religions, and countries. This could avoid many problems such as discrimination. And more importantly we should teach newer generations to respect each other regardless of their differences. With all of this we can change our perception of the stereotypes that are deeply rooted in our society and make of this a better society.