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Stereotyping and Labeling Impact on Human Life Essay

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Updated: Jan 23rd, 2022

The world comprises of people from different social, political and economic backgrounds determined by nature or human interventions. Nature determines a person’s background in biological aspects such as sex, age and skin complexion among other aspects while differences due to human interventions include culture and the financial position of an individual in the society. These personality differences have led the society to create groups of people who share many aspects of their lives and distinguish them from other groups. People have been made to believe that certain groups of people behave in a particular manner or are likely to have specific characteristics. This belief is based on the assumptions brought down from past generations in society and is referred to as stereotyping.

This essay aims at outlining why stereotyping is a community issue of concern and how it can be changed. Stereotyping is defined as the act of assigning certain traits and beliefs on an event, individual or a group of people and is usually founded on assumptions. On the other hand, labeling refers to the names and adjectives used to define a stereotyped individual or group. Stereotyping and labeling go hand in hand since stereotype is what is conceived in a persons mind while labeling is the manifestation of the inner belief regarding someone or something. The main cause of this is usually the presence of little knowledge or ideas regarding the stereotyped group of people or subject of concern.

Stereotyping usually manifests itself in many different ways as a result of personality judgment and analysis. The most common forms of stereotypes are based on gender issues that try to explain the reason why males behave differently from women. Racial stereotypes are usually as a result of assumptions and lack of sufficient information in defining people from a particular race or ethnic group. However, stereotyping has also played a very major role in forming the basis of analyzing and studying behavior and other issues related to individuals. Researchers usually involve the use of stereotyping in formulation of their research hypothesis or questions. Using the assumptions based on stereotyping they begin from a general perspective regarding an individual and as the research continues it narrows down to the facts and truth regarding the stereotyped subject. The confirmation of the existence of the qualities described by stereotyping usually confirms or drops the labels attached to the individuals. Stereotyping has also helped people to keep danger at bay since it is based on limited knowledge and assumptions by people. This has helped people to maintain a certain belief regarding strangers until when they have sufficient evidence to prove otherwise.

However, stereotyping and labeling is a major community issue of concern as it breeds discrimination among members of the society. The fact that stereotyping and labeling identify and place people in groups that are assigned certain qualities means that the society becomes disintegrated. People are thus categorized in different groups that are usually identified as superior or inferior. Stereotyping thus contributes a great deal in fostering animosity and hatred among the categorized groups since one group thinks and perceives others to be weaker and inferior to them. Discrimination is a vice that leads to unfair distribution of resources in the leads to unequal distribution of resources in the society that plays a major role in the propagation of unemployment, poverty and crime.

Due to the labeling of individuals as either inferior or superior an individual’s self esteem is lowered and this contributes to greater risks of withdrawal from participation in public activities. The value of human life is thus degraded and abused and becomes irrelevant both to the superior and inferior groups. This in turn leads to greater violation of human rights and freedoms that are limited in terms of association with others and access to human needs. The group that is labeled as weak is denied access to many factors that contribute to the well being of society and this promotes suffering.

In addition, stereotyping leads to lack of personal initiative to explore and seek further information regarding a subject of concern. For instance the stereotypes and labels attached to the black Americans as violent limits the white Americans’ ability to explore any contributions their counterparts can make in their country. Similarly the assumption by many students that science subjects are difficult makes it impossible for them to take careers that involve these subjects and thus limit their professional choices.

Lastly, stereotyping and labeling hampers competency and achievements in all aspects of human life. For very many years women were thought to be housewives and domestic servants and hence had been restricted to the kitchen. They had been thought to be objects of deriving sexual gratification and entertainment. However, with the rise of human activist groups and affirmative actions it has been proved that women are indeed capable of achieving what men have achieved when given the same opportunity. Stereotyping encouraged male dominance in communal responsibilities regardless of society since the superior groups always think they deserve more and better than the inferior groups. There are many cases where men’s performance and achievements at work are compromised due to their inefficiency and lack of commitment.

Despite the above mentioned evils associated with stereotyping there is hope that the society can change and redress its assumptions to the fulfillment and attainment of equality and justice. There is great need to change our perception of people from being negative to a neutral or positive perception. Certain labels that are used to imply a certain group is weak should be dropped and replaced with a common and sensible description. People should be educated on the importance and consequences that are associated with the labeling and assumptions regarding others.

Affirmative actions need to be beefed up to ensure that all marginalized groups are given their rightful positions in the community. Stereotyping and labeling should not be the basis for allocation of duties and responsibilities since everybody has a unique talent, skill and ability that is useful to the general development of the society. In addition, there is need to establish very strong guidelines that govern human relations and promote the value of human life. Since stereotyping and labeling have contributed greatly to discrimination and conflicts in society, it is very prudent that human beings appreciate and respect each other with regard to their social, economic and political affiliations. This will in turn ease tensions and conflicts that arise due to lack of understanding of an individual or group.

Human beings have different skills, abilities and qualities that enable them have a unique personality. However, our assumptions should be guided by the principle of objectivity and reason to promote a just society that respects the value of human life.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Stereotyping and Labeling Impact on Human Life." January 23, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/stereotyping-and-labeling-impact-on-human-life/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Stereotyping and Labeling Impact on Human Life'. 23 January.

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