– “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 mention these things, yet, how often have we said something similar? Our society is based on face values where we categorize people because of the actions of a few. All of the above statements are prejudicial notions used to define members of a social or an ethnic group, and are called stereotypes. Unfortunately, stereotypes negatively affect our ability to understand members of a different group or ethnicicity, and re we usually resistant to change because of them.
We stereotype various groups of people, but none like professional athletes, women, and different ethnic groups 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 such a farce since the vast majority of them have attended prestigious colleges and universities, and received degrees in different fields of study.
A opular misconception is that the educations they did earn were in areas like Liberal Arts, or other general fields of study which didn’t challenge their mental capabilities. Another stereotype is that pro athletes received preferential treatment while in college. Many believe that if an athlete needs a certain grade to remain eligible to play sports, then the faculty would grade him or her lighter than the rest of the class. We have also stereotyped athletes as “above” the law. There have been, on occasion, incidents where a pro- athlete is treated better y the justice system than an average citizen wo! ld be in the same situation.
We are satisfied to say it’s because of the athletes fame and wealth, but fail to realize that it was probably a first offense, or to follow the story up and see that punishment was dealt accordingly. Additionally, we have frequently stereotyped women, especially at the workplace. Women are always associated in business with jobs such as secretaries, nurses, customer service, and anything that needs a “womans” touch. They are 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 as well. Washing the dishes, folding the laundry, cooking the meals, and taking care of the children are all associated as a woman’s responsibility. Women are also seen 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. We have always looked upon blonds as air headed, with big white teeth, a high-pitched voice, and a wad of Dentine bubble gum n her mouth.
As well, we have stereotyped women that dress in tight cl! othes, or short skirts almost instantly 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 of 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 ave also stereotyped African- Americans as the largest ethnic group on public assistance, which is not true at all. It just seems that way because people are ignorant to the fact that whites make up most of the welfare system. We have also stereotyped them as superior to other races involved in sports. They can jump higher than everyone else, run faster, and 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, nonetheless 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 label not only him or her, but an entire group. Stereotypes seem harmless at first, but 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 know them. Stereotypes are just another product of our society which puts more value on what an individual possesses rather than who a person is. Sadly though, stereotypes will remain.