Myths and Stereotypes

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Myth and Stereotypes: Racial Profiling
Wendy Horton
Kaplan University

A stereotype is an exaggerated belief about a group that can be positive or negative but generalizes without allowing for differences (Louisiana Voices, 1999-2003). One example of a stereotype would be racial profiling. Racial profiling is an inclusion of racial or ethnic characteristics in determining whether a person is considered more likely to commit a particular type of crime or an illegal act or to behave in a “predictable” manner (Wikipedia, 2010). For instance, some people will hear crime stories all over the news today and automatically assume that an African American, probably male, committed the crime. These crime stories, might indeed, involve African American males, but not all crimes are committed by African Americans. A few myths are to blame for this certain stereotyping. One myth is that most crimes are committed by African Americans. Another myth would be that African Americans are preying on White Americans in our country. There could be some truth to these myths but most likely they are just over exaggerated. For example, in 2005, 86% of White Americans who were murdered were actually murdered by other White Americans. Therefore, it was proven through statistics that African Americans were not the ones “preying” on White Americans (Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2005). This is simply a stereotype about African Americans that dates back for many years. These myths and stereotypes about African Americans can date back to the days of slavery and discrimination, from the 1870’s to the 1930’s mainly. After such a long period in slavery and being discriminated against constantly, African Americans decided to take a stand for their race. They begin fighting for their freedom and rights as individuals and as a minority group (Library of Congress, Unknown Year). During this time of standing up for themselves, African Americans became known as criminals...
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