Cross Cultural Psychology
Long live the Stereotypes
The United States of America is known by many as the world’s melting pot. It is believed that all Americans are the proud and fortunate inhabitants of a place of asylum for people of all ethnicity and backgrounds. In spite of the many principles and social structures instituted to combat discrimination and promote societal equilibrium, the transcendent effects of stereotypes are still overtly visible within American society. Americans are much more susceptible to accepting and condoning racial and social stereotypes about African Americans than many of their counterparts in the developed world because of prederterminant social factors. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines stereotype as follows: “something conforming to a fixed or general pattern; especially : a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment.” Although a stereotype is generally described as a generalization or common assumption of any group these statements contain emphasis on the continual stereotyping of the African American within the United States. The aforementioned definition of stereotype by Merriam Webster is intentionally chosen because it is a more precise and realistic definition. Unlike the fluffed and general definitions of the term stereotype, it is telling of the ways in which this practice came to prevail. It is common for people to jokingly use stereotypical comments without giving the act much thought, as exemplified through pop culture movies like “White Men can’t jump” or popular shows as the “Jamie Kennedy Show” and many more. Stereotypes are used continually whether intentionally or unintentionally but they are rarely analyzed or questioned. Most stereotypes of blacks tend to portray them as a more physical group. When a Caucasian athlete excels at his sport he is praised for having...
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