Mahzarin R. Schuck's 'On Stereotypes'

Pages: 3 (695 words) Published: October 31, 2017


In their piece "On Stereotypes," Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald, professors of psychology, test their theory that "stereotyping achieves the desirable effect of allowing us to rapidly perceive total strangers as distinctive individuals" (622). Using pathos, the authors ask their readers to envision a sixteen-word sentence describing a car in order to demonstrate that humans cannot avoid thinking with the aid of categories. The authors acknowledge that unfavorable stereotypes give rise to damaging effects among groups of people. However, they suggest that when multiple stereotypes are combined, they produce the idea of a unique individual. Additionally, the authors challenge their audience to question their own perceptions about certain groups of people. This piece is written in a persuasive tone for a general audience, especially those interested in learning about stereotypes: the way they are used, who uses them, and who...

Schuck asserts that stereotypes allow people, including law enforcement officials, to quickly gather information and choose rapidly when information is inadequate. Using pathos, the author reminds his readers of the terrorist act of 9/11 by arguing that racial profiling could have assisted law enforcement in stopping the attack. Schuck adds to his argument by saying that while they are sometimes wrong, stereotypes have a definite and important place in our societal lives. Agreeing with Banaji and Greenwald, Schuck states that "such assumptions [stereotypes] are especially important in a mass society where people know less and less about one another" (webpage). The author's purpose is to suggest that officials can be taught how to recognize stereotypes and to act in such a way that the person under suspicion does not feel threatened. The author writes in a factual tone for an educated audience, especially law enforcement officials and...
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