Stereotypes have existed as long as human culture has been in existence. They are a reflection of what certain people or groups of people think about others who are different from them. They are expressed by a single phrase or words, images or words combined with images.
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Those who share similar views on stereotyping understand and recognize the evoked images easily. There are both negative and positive stereotypes. An example of a positive stereotype is the phrase ‘black people are good in running’ while ‘women are irresponsible’ is a negative stereotype. Individuals who stereotype others feel superior to them.
Stereotyping disregards the fact that individuals have their uniqueness and assigns common qualities to all individuals who belong to a certain group. People use stereotyping in order to simplify their world since they involve themselves in little thinking when they encounter new people .
Through stereotyping, it is inferred that people possess certain abilities or qualities assumed to belong to all members of the group they belong to.
Stereotypes amount to social categories which cause prejudice. Although some stereotypes are positive, most of them are negative and affect individuals negatively. This essay will discuss some common stereotypes and their effects on people.
The first type of stereotype is youth stereotypes. Stereotyping a particular group of individuals may have an influence on how the group is perceived by the society and probably alter the expectations of the society on the group.
Continued exposure to stereotypes causes the society to consider stereotypes realistic as opposed to sampled representations. The media at times plays a significant role in making stereotypes more pronounced. An example of a stereotype is the notion that youths are uncontrollably engaged in crime.
This is a perception which is highly developed through the media when stories on property crimes, students shooting their colleagues and acts that involve perceived youth gangs are publicized by the media.
However, statistics paint a different picture since there are indications that youth homicide cases have decreased considerably. Since 2001, such cases have continued to drop remarkably.
In addition, the number of youths accused of committing property offences which are the most prevalent youth crimes reduced remarkably between 1987 and 1997.
As a result of this impression created by the media that youth crimes are ever increasing, lobby groups politicians have been advocating for stringent disciplinary actions to deal with young people who commit criminal activities and reduce the perceived increase in criminal activities committed by the youths.
This has been in total disregard of the truth that young offenders are punished more severely than adults who commit similar crimes .
Negative stereotypes affect they way adults look at youths and also have an impact on how young people perceive themselves. The impression that young people do not earn respect from people around them does not motivate them to perceive themselves positively.
Minority groups like women, blacks, lesbians and gays experience the impacts of negative stereotyping and are hardly represented positively in the media. This causes most of the minority groups to fight for the elimination of the negative stereotypes associated with them.
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Youths argue that they are intelligent people but most adults do not believe that they are intelligent. They face discrimination that is stereotypical in nature which is wrong. The only way through which youths can be assisted to realize their goals is listening, trusting and respecting them. They should not be stereotyped on the basis of how they look like or the kind of music they listen to.
The second type of stereotype encountered in daily activities is women stereotyping. In most cultures and societies, women are viewed as people who cannot take up leadership roles.
As a result, leadership positions are only reserved for men and women who attempt to fight for them often face strong opposition from men and the society in general.
The entire society seems to accept that women are ineffective leaders and subscribe to that kind of thinking. It is even surprising that some women discourage their fellow women from getting into leadership instead of supporting them.
Gender stereotyping affects women negatively and prevents them from making a positive contribution in the society. When women are discouraged from getting into leadership positions, this affects the way they perceive themselves negatively.
In addition, the perception that men are the only individuals who lead well breeds poor leaders since they do not face a lot of competition in leadership. Those who deny women leadership positions argue that women should only concentrate on domestic matters and leave leadership for men.
Their arguments are based on a wrong perception that allowing women to get into leadership destroys the societal fabric. The mistake in this kind of argument is that men do not always make good leaders.
In many situations, they are associated with poor leadership which eventually exposes their subjects to suffering. The truth is that there are many women who succeed in leadership and achieve what most men do not achieve. The perception that women are poor leaders is simply a mere stereotype.
The third type of stereotype that is common among some whites is racial stereotyping. This is a type of stereotyping that depicts black people as inferior to the whites hence they end up being denied privileges and opportunities that the whites enjoy. Although racial stereotyping is not as pronounced as it was a few years ago, it still exists.
For instance, black people are restricted from accessing certain institutions on the basis of their skin color. There are also cases of individuals who are mishandled simply because they are from a different race.
Racial stereotyping becomes a very complicated issue in cases where the blacks are citizens of countries whose majority citizens are white. This implies that they have to deal with negative stereotypes for their entire lives .
Racial stereotyping affects the blacks negatively because it denies them a chance to live comfortably as the rest of the white population. When the blacks are viewed as individuals with a different identity, the feeling that engulfs them is that they are lesser human beings.
This prevents them from making positive contribution in the society even when they have the ability to contribute positively. The mistake in this kind of thinking is that black people have the same qualities as white people.
The perception that white people are better than the blacks is wrong since whatever they can do, the blacks have the capacity to do it too. For example, black people have succeeded in many sectors in places where they are considered inferior to the whites. A good example is the incumbent US president whose roots are of black origin.
Benson, J. (2006). Exploring the Racial Identities of Black Immigrants in the US. Web.
Marcella, L., & Jeroen, V. (2012). Self-Stereotyping: The Central Role of an Ingroup Threatening Identity. Web.
Schneider, D. (2004). The Pychology of Stereotyping. New York: Guilford Press.