Cultural Stereotypes

Topics: Stereotype, Stereotypes, Prejudice Pages: 6 (1604 words) Published: December 18, 2012
1. The term «stereotype»
2. Common Stereotypes
2.1. African Americans
2.2. Men and Women
2.3. Cultures
2.4. Groups of Individuals
3. The Positive Side of Stereotypes

Cultural stereotypes may seem humorous but they can harm people. While many people understand and accept this as true, a "case study" approach, in the form of personal testimony, is often more valuable than a truckload of research. The definition of a stereotype is any commonly known public belief about a certain social group or a type of individual. Stereotypes are often confused with prejudices, because, like prejudices, a stereotype is based on a prior assumption. Stereotypes are often created about people of specific cultures or races. Almost every culture or race has a stereotype, including Jewish people, African American people, Irish people, and Polish people, among others. Stereotypes are not just centered on different races and backgrounds, however. Gender stereotypes also exist. For example, if you say that men are better than women, you’re stereotyping all men and all women. If you say that all women like to cook, you are stereotyping women. Sexual orientation stereotypes are also common. These stereotypes occur when you have negative views on gays, lesbians, and transgender individuals. People who have these negative views are often known as homophobic. Every culture has many different stereotypes about other cultures. A stereotype is a statement that simplifies human and social realities. It is a single quality that is said to belong to every member of a group. Stereotypes are based on incomplete or faulty information. They get in the way of knowing people as individuals and of understanding the world in a complex and sophisticated way. They can lead to serious misunderstandings.

1. The term «stereotype»
To understand different examples of stereotypes, you should first define what a stereotype is. Any time you grouping races or individuals together and make a judgment about them without knowing them, this is an example of a stereotype. Racial remarks, sexual remarks, and gender remarks are the biggest stereotypes. Stereotyping is especially prevalent -- and problematic -- in conflicts. Groups tend to define themselves according to who they are and who they are not. And "others," especially "enemies" or "opponents" are often viewed in very negative ways. The opponent is expected to be aggressive, self-serving, and deceitful, for example, while people in one's own group are seen in generally positive ways. Similarly, if problems occur, blame is often placed on "the enemy," while one's own contribution to the problem is ignored. For example, problems may be attributed to the opponent's lack of cooperativeness, not one's own; or the enemy's aggressiveness, not their fear of one's own aggressive stance. Even similarities between parties can be viewed differently: one's own competitiveness may be seen in a positive light as "tough, effective negotiating," while the opponent's competitive actions are seen as "hostile and deceptive." Such stereotypes tend to be self-perpetuating. If one side assumes the other side is deceitful and aggressive, they will tend to respond deceitfully and aggressively themselves. The opponent will then develop a similar image of the first party and respond deceptively, thus confirming the initial stereotype. The stereotypes may even grow worse, as communication shuts down and escalation heightens emotions and tension. According to the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology [11], a stereotype is a way of representing and judging other people in fixed, unyielding terms. Stereotypes can revolve around a certain characteristic of the group of persons to which they are assigned. Generally, the persons of that group are reduced to being known and understood as the stereotype that results from this, rather than being viewed as individuals. Stereotypes refuse to...
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