Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary defines stereotyping as a
standard mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and
that represents an oversimplified opinion, affective attitude, or
uncritical judgment. Stereotyping is a form of generalization which
attributes traits or characteristics to everyone in a large group. Stereotyping
does not recognize individuals characteristics or achievements.
People who stereotype tend to have fixed and unbending opinions. They
respond to challenges by distorting reality rather than reconsidering the
assumptions and conclusions which they have labeled truth.... What happens
is that the facts are compared to the stereotype and then rejected because
they do not fit the stereotype.
Stereotyping is often caused by ethnocentrism--our race is chosen by God and
is better than all others, or by tribalcentrism--our group is the best and
our way of doing things is the only correct way.
Ramifications of stereotyping:
- It forces us to choose sides.
- It causes competition, which is
- narrow thinking
THE PROBLEMS WITH STEREOTYPING:
- Denies dignity
- Denies individuality
- Denies people's achievements
- Destroys cooperation
- Embarrasses people
- Triggers fear in people
- Creates suspicion and blame
- Destroys happiness
- Victims are degraded
- Perpetrators lose touch with reality and their fears grow (ex., Archie Bunker)
- Our social impulse is curbed--one of our best sources of enjoyment is lost
To avoid stereotyping:
- Avoid jumping to the conclusion of neat categories.
- Review ALL information before coming to a conclusion.
- Suspend judgment; put off making conclusions