Did you know that stereotyping is something that is encountered each and every day? The Problem with society is that we cannot accept that we are all different. Many people have seen others as different from themselves but feel that they are in the majority of people that are alike. This can be called social discrimination. Stereotypes are prevalent in society. Stereotypes are inevitable and unpreventable. As we accept that we are always under scrutiny in others eyes we begin to examine ourselves. The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of stereotyping and discover how they lead to greater social identity. Once they learn their identity they find themselves stereotyping themselves and others.
A stereotype is a preconceived, oversimplified, exaggerated, and often demeaning assumption of the characteristics that an individual has due to his or her membership in a specific group. We develop stereotypes when we are unable or unwilling to obtain all of the information we would need to make fair judgments about people or situations. In the absence of the “total picture,” stereotypes in many cases allow us to “fill in the blanks.” Our society often creates and initiate stereotypes, but these stereotypes often lead to unfair discrimination and persecution when the stereotype is not liked. When people are stereotyped they are judged and treated unfairly. Often when stereotyping happens negative discrimination tends to follow. This may often include isolation and lack of respect given to the stereotyped subject. Short examples of stereotypes would be how we shy away from people with a history of mental illness, because we are afraid they may harm us. Women and minorities are often excluded from high executive positions in the business and political world. Many clubs have restrictive membership policies which do not permit Jews, African-Americans, Indians, Arabs, women, and others to join.
However one stereotype that has affected me is my place in society as a woman and being African-American. In today’s society being an African American woman is a rigid task to live up to. However, it means I have resided to what my ancestors have left behind, which means to be stronger than ever. Rosa Parks was strong, Harriet Tubman was also strong, and Jezebel was even stronger. So what exactly does it mean to be a woman? It means to stand up for what is right, even if that means sacrifice, it means to be strong whether it be physically, emotionally, or mentally. African American women are perceived to be the backbone of the family, meaning that even though the male may support the family financially, that the women have the emotional and mental part in the bag. An instance of this can be seen when I was about twenty-one I was attending a prominent community college that was very well known in the area I stayed in. One day while I was in my American Literature I class we were talking about famous writers and their history. We were discussing the topic of Langston Hughes and his accomplishments of being a writer of the famous Renaissance. Hence when one particular student said, “Langston Hughes only became famous because he was a NIGER, didn’t have any intellect, or any kind of educational background. All NIGGERS (African-Americans) are stupid, poor, lazy, and don’t excel in anything in life.” When I heard that student made that comment I felt disrespected and hit hard in the gut like a bomb went off. I couldn’t believe some people still stereotyped against others because they feel their race or group is inferior to others. Furthermore I felt his statement was unethical and fairly unjustified by saying all African-Americans are perceived as stupid, lazy, or won’t excel in life. However they’re many African-Americans that are very successful i.e. Barrack Obama turned lawyer and senator to president, Michael Jackson world known philanthropist and national pop singer, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee who is Dominance in women’s track and field. Furthermore referring to his statement he made a hasty generalization is committed when the conclusion is based on insufficient information. Often the fallacy of hasty generalization can lead to damaging stereotypes made on the basis of just a few examples. Stereotypes about women, religious groups, minorities, ethnic groups, and so forth are often based on this type of reasoning. Drawing broad and very general conclusions based on insufficient evidence can therefore lead to harmful results, not only for the victim of the stereotype but also for the person doing the stereotyping (Mosser, 2011).
Also in today’s society it is hard to live up to the reputation you have to hold as a woman. Women are treated unfairly in the work place, relationships, portrayed poorly in the media and music industry. The stereotype of men as argentic and competent and the stereotype of women as communal and warm form a set of complementary stereotypes that work to perpetuate the notion that men and women are different but equal. They justify men’s occupation of high-status positions, and balance women’s low-status positions by attributing to them their own set of distinct advantages ( (Laurin, 2011). However I remember in one of my communication classes we were discussing the stereotypes that women face every day in society. Furthermore I recalled my professor making this obscured comment that a woman’s place in society is to play house to her husband and cater to his every demand. In addition hearing this comment made me so outraged that certain people still stereotype that a woman’s place in society is to take care of the household and her husband. In today’s society a woman can do it all by taking care of her household and family, providing a financial support, and being leading executive in office. This comment my professor made me recall back in the 1950s when the wife had to take care of the family and household. However, now we are living in the 21st century where times of drastically changed.
Lastly, I feel that within my own culture as I have seen in other culture we sometimes stereotype against each other. I remember watching this movie once where a African-American young teenage girl stereotyped her own race as not educated, unworthy of existence, and below other cultures standards. Recently I have seen other people from my race as well as myself stereotype. An instance of this can be seen the other day I completely stereotyped this young African-American men by the clothes he was wearing and the way he was speaking. I jumped and made a hasty generalization of the young man without knowing any knowledge of what that young man did for a living or what his character is like. I completely stereotyped him as a “Thug” of someone who constantly gets into trouble and they style of clothing he choose to wear. However I found that stereotyping has lingering effects that hurt people in a very real way, leaving them at a disadvantage (Kemick, 2012).
Kemick, A. (2012). Stereotyping Has Lasting Negative Impact. Prejudice has lingering effects, study shows.
Laurin, K. K. (2011). Self-Stereotyping as a Route to System Justification. Social Cognition. Retrieved 08 16, 2013, from Stereotyping: http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=9b2cd90e-894f-4459-accd-6a3b8862fea3%40sessionmgr113&vid=6&hid=105
Mosser, K. (2011). An introduction to logic. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. (https://content.ashford.edu)