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Cultural stereotypes refer to the biased ideas that people develop regarding the cultural orientations of people from different parts of the world. Culture refers to the values and norms associated with a given society; hence, cultural stereotypes refer to the misconceived ideas held by people about the values and norms of other societies. Cultural stereotypes are developed when people adopt uninformed opinions about other people, concerning their backgrounds (Kashima, Lyons, & Clark, 2013).
Origins of Cultural Stereotyping
Cultural stereotyping normally originates from the development of opinions about other people without referring to factual information about their values and norms. Judging people based on their cultural backgrounds is also a major source of cultural stereotyping (Kashima et al., 2013). For instance, an individual claiming they are American results in other people creating mental ideas of the personality expected of an American, rather than focusing on the individual in question. In most cases, biased ideas are passed from one individual to another in the same community, and the media has a particularly big role in spreading cultural stereotypes (Matsick & Conley, 2016).
A World without Stereotyping
A world without stereotyping would be difficult to attain because the only way to eliminate the vice is by educating the society about the need to refrain from creating judgments before getting to know other people. Failing to reflect on the prevailing beliefs about people from a given part of the world would also result in a world without stereotyping, but this is quite difficult to attain. People are innately inclined toward judging others; hence, stereotyping might be difficult to eliminate. However, it is possible to eliminate certain stereotypes by educating members of the public on the facts associated with various cultural groups.
Learning Cultural Competence
Learning cultural competence without stereotyping is a function of the development of a society where everyone is committed to learning while allowing other people to express their identity, personality, and beliefs. This calls for a high level of cultural tolerance among individuals in society (Kashima et al., 2013). Cultural competence requires people to give others a chance to express their cultural inclinations without judging them and realizing that different individuals of the same origin might have different values and personalities.
Stereotypes between Germany and America
The stereotypes held by people from the respective nations against their counterparts are mainly aligned with the type of exposure to biased information that the individuals have. For instance, some Germans believe that America has a society that primarily supports war (Easy Languages, 2015). Others believe that Americans are always interested in influencing everything in the world; hence, they are perceived as controlling. There is also a popular belief that American food is unhealthy. Americans, on the other hand, tend to share the stereotype that Germans are uptight and anti-social (Easy German, 2017). It is also popularly believed that Germans are rude because they keep starring. Some stereotypes such as the innovativeness associated with Americans are positive. Some stereotypes can be justified. For instance, since Americans have a high preference for fast foods, a German can associate Americans with unhealthy diets. However, assuming that all Americans are unhealthy would be stereotypical.
Overcoming Negative Stereotypes
Educating people about the cultural values, norms, and artifacts of their counterparts are the only way to eliminate stereotypes. Cultural competence is also a requirement in disabling stereotypes (Spencer, 2014). People need to be more tolerating when faced by situations where they have to deal with individuals from different cultural backgrounds.
Easy German. (2017). What’s typical German | Easy German 192 [Video file].
Easy Languages. (2015). What do Germans think about the USA? | Easy German 104 [Video file] (2015).
Kashima, Y., Lyons, A., & Clark, A. (2013). The maintenance of cultural stereotypes in the conversational retelling of narratives. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 16(1), 60-70.
Matsick, J. L., & Conley, T. D. (2016). Cultural stereotypes and personal beliefs: Perceptions of heterosexual men, women, and people. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 3(1), 113.
Spencer, S. (2014). Race and ethnicity: Culture, identity and representation. London, U.K: Routledge.