Social Discrimination, Identity, and Stereotyping

Topics: Social psychology, Identity, Stereotype Pages: 6 (1894 words) Published: October 19, 2010
Social Discrimination, Identity, and Stereotyping

The Problem with society is that we cannot accept that we are all different. Many people have seen others as different from themselves but feel that they are in the majority of people that are alike. This can be called social discrimination. Stereotypes are prevalent in society. Stereotypes are inevitable and unpreventable. As we accept that we are always under scrutiny in others eyes we begin to examine ourselves. The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of stereotyping and discover how they lead to greater social identity. Once they learn their identity they find themselves stereotyping themselves and others. A stereotype is a preconceived, oversimplified, exaggerated, and often demeaning assumption of the characteristics that an individual has due to his or her membership in a specific group. We develop stereotypes when we are unable or unwilling to obtain all of the information we would need to make fair judgments about people or situations. In the absence of the "total picture," stereotypes in many cases allow us to "fill in the blanks." Our society often creates and initiate stereotypes, but these stereotypes often lead to unfair discrimination and persecution when the stereotype is not liked. When people are stereotyped they are judged and treated unfairly. Often when stereotyping happens negative discrimination tends to follow. This may often include isolation and lack of respect given to the stereotyped subject. Short examples of stereotypes would be how we shy away from people with a history of mental illness, because we are afraid they may harm us. Women and minorities are often excluded from high executive positions in the business and political world. Many clubs have restrictive membership policies which do not permit Jews, African-Americans, women, and others to join. Those are some examples of stereotyping and discrimination right there. Being that those were negative many people do not know that positive stereotyping occurs too. America is often viewed as a powerful, strong, rich nation that is ready for change. African Americans are viewed as strong, athletic and talented individuals. Though the majority of stereotypes are negative there are positives in some aspects.

Due to the fact that these are big issues in today’s society, many people have written about these issues. To understand the effect and nature of stereotypes, we must learn what they are. Stereotypes are judgments on individuals based on their membership in a specific social group (Rowley, 2007, pg. 2). Although generalizations about different groups of people are bias in processing, some stereotypes may reflect accurately the observation that certain groups occupy different social roles in society, most notably in terms of occupational roles and social status (Jones, 1991, pg. 1). People use stereotypes in general as heuristics or shortcuts—to arrive at quick, effortless inferences and judgments (Fiske and Taylor 1984; Lippman 1922). This is greatly shown in the workforce. Men are more seen in physical labor and blue collar careers then women are. Also men are perceived as better athletes than women. Another definition of stereotypes states: Stereotypes—the tendency to categorize individuals or groups according to an oversimplified standardized image and attribute certain characteristics to all members of the group—are central to the formation of prejudice and the pervasive acts of violence, segregation, and discrimination directed against minority groups (Moore, 2006, pg. 3). There are many opinions on where people acquire stereotypes. Some think that you get them from parents and family. Some think the stereotypes are developed from you environment. The truth is that individuals acquire stereotypes from society’s major institutions such as the family, peer groups, schools, churches, and the...
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