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The following essay will discuss the topic of stereotyping, and how it affects society when practiced. What is stereotyping, and what are the causes? Is it related to instinct? These questions will be put reason, based on fact. When the facts have been made clear, a valid opinion regarding the topic of stereotyping will be made. Stereotyping is quite common among society, yet it is also quite difficult point out what it really is.
Stereotyping is referred to as any theory or doctrine indicating that that actions of an individual reflect on his or her whole culture, sex, age, race, class, or nationality. It could also be considered as a tool which people use to label others. In practice, one looks at a other, and begins to make generalizations about any physical or intellectual attributes one may possess, and then classes them into a certain category. Adopting stereotype ideas, one assumes that the behavior of one represents everyone of that class. If a young Japanese boy is excelling in math, for example, then a stereotype attitude would be to assume that all Japanese boys are good at math. It is quite obvious that this is not always so. Knowing this, does that mean that stereotyping is “wrong”? When is it considered “correct”, if ever? We are provided with prerogative to think however we like, but is it correct in assuming that stereotyping is immoral and unfair? This topic will be more discriptive through the proceeding.
As it was mentioned in the Introduction, stereotyping is relative to making generalizations towards a whole culture, class, or nation, etc. based on the actions of one or a select few. It is quite obvious that the accuracy rate of observing in such a manner would be quite minimal, yet there are people who practice it and people who have done it before, including myself. I would be telling an absolute lie if were to say that I have never stereotyped anyone. Who is to say why I have, for I am not a prejudiced person as far I can tell.
Yet I have caught myself thinking that all people from Hong Kong are filthy rich, because the majority of the people that I know, originating from there (which is not many) seem to be quite well off financially, with their fancy cars and clothing. Well the truth is, there are people who filthy rich living in Hong Kong, as well as people who are dirt poor. The jealousy towards my acquaintances from Hong Kong, lead me to believe that all people from there are rich. That is a classic example of stereotyping, within my experience. Looking back on that predicament, which was about two years ago, makes me feel feeble-minded, for the assumption was quite ridiculous. I am glad, however, that it had occurred, because it has enlightened me to the point that I will remember not to even think along the lines of something as ridiculous as that.
There are many other various examples of stereotyping regarding nationality, such as: The Irish are considered as uncontrollable alcoholics, the Chinese are portrayed as illusive thieves, Jewish people as being inherently cheap and Natives as being lazy and apathetic. All of which, are very unwarranted judgment, for there is minimal if not any credible evidence backing it up. Yes there may be a few Irish alcoholics, Chinese thieves, cheap Jewish people, and lazy Natives, but that does not mean, however, that they are all like they are said to be.
A person who stereotypes could be considered as a prejudiced person. A prejudiced person does not take the time to understand another as an individual. Instead, they make preconceptions about another, regarding their age, sex, race, nationality, class or culture. In my previous case, I was prejudiced about my acquaintances from Hong Kong’s nationality or culture.
The general relationship between a person who is prejudiced and a person who stereotypes is the fact that they are both mean-spirited. That is, they violate the rights of individuals by forming perceptions about people based solely on their membership in a particular group. Consequently, they fail to judge people based on their merits and individual traits but on generalized notions derived from popular culture. I contend
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Social psychology, Stereotypes, Discrimination, Labeling theory, Racial stereotyping in advertising
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