A stereotype, by definition, is a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing. It is true that a stereotype is rooted in truth, but a said stereotype can’t apply to all. For example, I could say that all of group A does a certain thing or looks like a certain image, but that’s pathetic because I haven’t met all of group A. I can’t say for certain. I have no right to say it.
Stereotypes, of course, are stupid. Believe it or not, this idea really started leeching into my brain by browsing Facebook pages. As I browsed Facebook pages (from various countries), I began seeing people’s pictures and their friends. Their daily lives, all of that. I began to see how so untrue stereotypes perpetrated about them are. Instead of seeing people as an oversimplified myth, I began seeing people as people who were worried about their daily lives and posted pictures of their highs and lows and their beliefs.
Of course, those said profiles can’t define all of that group, either, but it helps paint an accurate picture of the socio-demographics of where they might live, the hassles of life they experience. I can’t say, for example, all Americans are fast-food eating and arrogant. Some are, but not all. By being able to experience people’s lives just a little, by being able to see what they have to go through and what their accomplishments are, it helps give you an accurate picture on where they live (not all parts of one country are the same. Life in Massachusetts isn’t the same as say life in California).
Not only, of course, are stereotypes so stupid (and to really see that, I think one has to do what I did, and have to experience, just a little, on what life is for different people in different parts of the country), stereotypes are ridiculously harmful. Stereotypes are often perceived images of what a certain group does, and often, these might be projected on the mass media. Yet, when an ethnic group is told that they all act like this, sometimes, they’ll just conform and do what society thinks of them. This is absolutely ridiculous. Why should I conform to society’s perceived image of me? Fuck no. I’m a person, and I’m proud to be a person.
Once again, another short yet very strong post. I don’t want to get too into this, because I’ll complicate my message, but the point is: stereotypes are stupid and harmful, because stereotypes prevent us from actually learning anything, and harm our brains.