Ever heard of the word “stereotype”?
I am ashamed to say that a lot of emphasize it and continue to be racist, sexist, etc. “You’re a girl, why don’t you put make-up on?”, “Men don’t cry”, “Blondes are stupid”, “Muslims are all terrorists”. How many times have you walked down the street and looked at all the people and judged them? Many times, I assume, because I have done it too. “Her dress is too short, she must be a whore”, or “That man with tattoos must be some sort of a criminal” or “Men aren’t supposed to have piercings”. I know people who do this all the time.
You don’t have to like pink things, or have long hair, or wear heels because you’re a girl. You don’t have to have short hair, not cry, like sports because you’re a boy. People make their own choices, who are you to judge them?
Another form of stereotype is racism. What is racism? It is when people are judged based entirely on their race, such as on the color of their skin, their background, or even their religion. Sound really wrong? That’s because it is.
“All Jews are greedy”.
“All Asians are good at math. All Asians like to eat rice and drive slow”.
“All Arabs and Muslims are terrorists”.
Every race, culture, country, religion and a community has a stereotype. It is a way of oversimplifying groups of people. It is one of the easiest ways of establishing identity. By conforming to a fixed or conventional image, the identity can be recognized and understood. And, herein lies the problem. It’s hard to be objective if one doesn’t reject stereotypes. So, it is better not to use any stereotype and pass judgments only when you are familiar with others.
Stereotyping is not only hurtful, it is also wrong. Even if the stereotype is correct in some cases, constantly putting someone down based on your preconceived perceptions will not encourage them to succeed.
Stereotyping can lead to bullying form a young age. Jocks and Preps pick on the Nerds and the Geeks; Skaters pick on the Goths, so on and so forth. Stereotyping is encouraging bullying behavior that children carry into adulthood.
Stereotyping can also lead people to live lives driven by hate, and can cause the victims of those stereotypes to be driven by fear. For example, many gays and lesbians are afraid to admit their sexuality in fear of being judged. It is a lose-lose situation, both for those who are doing the stereotype and those who are victims.
Please, stop. Don’t judge a book by its cover.