Dr. Benie Colvin
English 1101 M, W, F
4 November 2012
Stereotyping using Racial Profiling
As a society, people play into the looks, culture, and beliefs of a person and within minutes people make an assumption of who they are. Society takes one look at a person and based on their race, instantly draw a conclusion upon them without even asking them their name. Stereotyping has been around for centuries; the most commonly used stereotypes involve race. People use racial stereotyping based on what society deems that race to be, without first getting to know that person in order to draw individual valid conclusions about them. When people are using racial stereotypes, they often think that they are better than the other person based on the color of their skin. In the article “Stereotypes” by Saul McLeod, he uses research on stereotypes by Katz and Braly which states, “Not surprisingly, racial stereotypes always seem to favor the race of the holder and belittle other races” (McLeod,Katz,Braly). A person who is set on pre-judging someone is that they are better than someone of another race. Some feel as though no one of another racial background can equal to them or is not even worthy to sit and eat with them, all because they do not have the same skin color. People cannot choose what race they want to be. As people belittle each others races, those that they belittle may be left thinking, together they are really better because they are black, white, Latino, or Indian. The media also plays a significant role in racial stereotyping. It is known to influence the minds of many from children to adults. They set forth an image of different racial backgrounds and portray it to the public. In a hosted article by New York Amsterdam news called “Media Blamed for Negative Stereotyping of Black Males,” it states, “This false image not only affects race relations...can be predetermined for them by suggestions in the media"(Media Blamed for Negative Stereotyping of Black Males.). The media adds to racial stereotyping because it gives people more reason to continue to judge a person from of their skin color. It also gives the motive for judgment because the media reflects how contemporary society is shaped. They categorize African Americans with drugs and crime, Caucasians with living the life of luxury, and all Hispanics with being in the United States illegally. Societies may absorb these opinions in their head by viewing television, and automatically think they know a person. The media puts different racial backgrounds in certain categories and makes it hard to change the perception of that racial background because that is all they portray them to be. However, the images that may be shown on television, in a magazine, or on the news does not define a whole set of people. Regrettably, stereotyping someone seems much easier than actually getting to know them. People look at an individual race and quickly identify the characteristics that are forced upon them, when in actuality they are nothing like the label society has associated them with. As a society, people should take the time and opportunity to get to know a person as an individual instead of placing them into a category. “Stereotyping: Seeing Beyond First impressions,” an article from the Boston College states , “Just like when people are stereotyping you, you should get to know them better because there is a lot more to a person than first impressions” (Stereotyping: Seeing Beyond First impressions.) Taking time out to get to know person intimately as an individual may be difficult for some in their head they already have drawn a conclusion about them. However, few minutes of conversation can change a person’s perspective. A barrier can be broken and opinions can change allowing realization to set in and determine that all people who have the same racial background are not the same. A person may look at all African Americans as rude and illiterate. Their entire perception of African Americans may change after getting to know one who is the opposite of what society claims them to be. Therefore, taking a couple of minutes to get to know someone can break a person’s racial stereotypical barrier. Stereotypes in general are hard to overcome. People who are used to hearing stereotypes repeatedly conform to them. “Stereotyping: Seeing Beyond First impressions” also states, “One thing to be careful of is becoming more like the stereotype because another person labeled you” (Stereotyping: Seeing Beyond First impressions). Conformity to stereotypes may occur because individuals may feel that they are destined to be the way society has claimed them to be. Racial stereotyping is very difficult to defeat. Individuals have to stand up and claim that they will not be what society may label them to be. Individuals have to prove that they are their own person and not what someone has labeled them to be. It is a difficult task trying to defy the odds of conforming to a stereotype, especially when it is everywhere. Racial stereotyping has a significant impact on the world. It affects the way individuals may treat one another and how communication and ideas may deteriorate just because two people do not represent the same race. Some individuals miss a good opportunity of getting to know different aspects of good people. They are blind to the fact that learning new things about a different culture or race could broaden their knowledge in the world. No one should be looked at differently because of their skin color. For society to make a change for the better, people have to be smart and strong to form their own opinion. People should not let the media, other people or family members influence their thought on a person just because they do not look like them.
"Stereotypes." Stereotypes. Trustees of Boston College, 29 Mar. 20010. Web. 05 Nov. 2012. <http://www.simplypsychology.org/katz-braly.html>. Media blamed for negative stereotyping of Black males. New York Amsterdam News [serial online]. May 31, 1997:13. Available from: MAS Ultra - School Edition, Ipswich, MA. Accessed November 5, 2012.