Stereotypes continue to plague society


By Carly Harsha | Opinion Editor

Adopting stereotypes, and thus practicing prejudices, is an unfortunate, commonplace characteristic of the previous generation, and many members of this generation continue to practice it.

It is completely illogical. Why do people still allow themselves to be brain-washed by a society that will place a label on any group of people with a certain commonality, negative or not? Why do some people continue to be ignorant to the point where they not only hold prejudices, but they actually discriminate because of them?

“The use of stereotypes is a major way in which we simplify our social world; since they reduce the amount of processing (i.e. thinking) we have to do when we meet a new person,” psychology professor Saul McLeod said .

Stereotyping really is the truest form of insolent thinking. Of course, the stereotypes that people hold almost exclusively reflect what race or culture the person themselves are, disparaging others while sustaining the belief that they are superior.

In an experiment conducted by Katz and Braly in 1933, students in America were given a list of ethnic groups along with a list of 84 personality traits. They were then instructed to assign each ethnic group five to six personality traits that defined them.

The results were as one might expect. Jews were seen as shrewd and mercenary, African-Americans as lazy and ignorant, Japanese as manipulative and sly and Americans as industrious and intelligent.

Studies conducted in later years found results that were slightly more positive, but still unanimous in agreement.

Some people justify stereotypes as a way for people to clearly understand the world we live in. There is no need to attempt to understand each person individually. Having pre-implanted biases gives them the satisfaction of judging different groups of people without having to personally assess them.

This is nothing more than a juvenile way of thinking. Cultures might carry over similar actions, but individual people hold their own ideas, beliefs and motives.

Categories: Opinion

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