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– "Dumb jocks!", "Women don’t belong there, doing
that!", "He must be a
criminal, just look at his clothes." How often have we heard somebody
these things, yet, how often have we said something similar? Our society is
on face values where we categorize people because of the actions of a few.
the above statements are prejudicial notions used to define members of a
an ethnic group, and are called stereotypes. Unfortunately, stereotypes
affect our ability to understand members of a different group or ethnicicity,
are we usually resistant to change because of them. We stereotype various
of people, but none like professional athletes, women, and different ethnic
in our country.
Professional Basketball, Football, and Baseball players have been the
victims of many stereotypes. Hearing people call them dumb is common. A
misconception by many people is that pro athletes aren’t educated. This is
farce since the vast majority of them have attended prestigious colleges and
universities, and received degrees in different fields of study. A popular
misconception is that the educations they did earn were in areas like Liberal
or other general fields of study which didn’t challenge their mental
Another stereotype is that pro athletes received preferential treatment while
college. Many believe that if an athlete needs a certain grade to remain
play sports, then the faculty would grade him or her lighter than the rest of
class. We have also stereotyped athletes as "above" the law. There
have been, on
occasion, incidents where a pro- athlete is treated better by the justice
an average citizen wo! uld be in the same situation. We are satisfied to say
because of the athletes fame and wealth, but fail to realize that it was
first offense, or to follow the story up and see that punishment was dealt
Additionally, we have frequently stereotyped women, especially at the
workplace. Women are always associated in business with jobs such as
nurses, customer service, and anything that needs a "womans" touch.
rarely thought of as the CEO of a corporation, or as the Vice President. When
women are in positions of authority however, we have stereotyped them as male
bashers or power hungry when they give orders. At home, we stereotype women
well. Washing the dishes, folding the laundry, cooking the meals, and taking
of the children are all associated as a woman’s responsibility. Women are
as passive and submissive to their husbands in the home. The way a woman
dresses, or the color of her hair is enough for many men to stereotype women.
have always looked upon blonds as air headed, with big white teeth, a
high-pitched voice, and a wad of Dentine bubble gum in her mouth. As well, we
have stereotyped women that dress in tight clothes, or short skirts almost
as being promiscuous.
Finally, the most common stereotypes are those which we have aimed at
different ethnic or racial groups. African-American stereotypes are the most
obvious. We have often stereotyped Young black men as gang members solely
because of the kind of clothes they wear. The media constantly blasts images
black men involved in crime and gang-banging across the six o’clock news, but
hardly ever the White or Asian doing the same. We have also stereotyped
Americans as the largest ethnic group on public assistance, which is not true
It just seems that way because people are ignorant to the fact that whites
most of the welfare system. We have also stereotyped them as superior to
races involved in sports. They can jump higher than everyone else, run
have better balance because of their "extra" muscles. It may seem
this way when
we watch sports on television, and it does seem that way at times,
though it is a stereotype.
Stereotypes are products of our own individual inadequacies. They make us
feel better about ourselves because we can point the finger at a person, and
not only him or her, but an entire group. Stereotypes seem harmless at first,
overtime they cause serious damage to our society. Because of them, we have
become narrow minded and less receptive to people different from us.
Stereotyping a person, or a group of people, is easier than it is to get to
them. Stereotypes are just another product of our society which puts more
what an individual possesses rather than who a person is. Sadly though,
stereotypes will remain.
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