20 February 2015
Stereotypes: Good? Bad? Both.
Stereotypes are in everyday life around the world. Having stereotypical thoughts are embedded into everyone’s mind. It doesn’t mean we believe these things, but we have learned some stereotypes throughout our lives. Having labels, even stereotypes, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad. There are some instances where stereotypes and labels are bad in terms of meeting new people and communicating with them on a personal level. We are human, which means we judge, some for the good, and others for the bad. Either way, we have all been exposed to some sort of stereotype in our lives.
Some stereotypes, are learned among others. By hearing people discuss about a certain groups. Things like African-Americans can jump really high, Mexicans are hard workers etc. Well it would be hard to define what “high” would mean and even then I’m sure that there are some who cannot. No matter what, it is almost impossible to prove a stereotype, which is precisely why it’s called the way it is and not a fact. When we hear the word stereotype we tend to cringe because we know that most of these are bad and make people feel bad for who they are and what they look like.
Stereotypes and labels are identical. Labels are usually names we put on certain group to “categorize” this crazy world we live on. As if categorizing helps identify each individual, but of course, it does not. Labels such as “slave” really affected Douglass’ life. He wasn’t really known as his name, he was probably only referred to slave and whatever garbage slave owners would call people like him. I bet every time he heard the word come out of someone’s mouth it left a sting in his own ear. Labels like these really affect people emotionally even if we can’t see them. Douglass described was young about his label of slave “I was now about twelve years old, and the thought of being a slave for life began to bear heavily on my heart” (3). For Douglass, this label was basically his own prison where he felt that he was innocent, or in his case, be able to have the right to freedom like any other man. Frustration, anger, and sadness are the types of emotions people feel when they are labeled, even criticized, by who they are or even what they look like. With these labels, and stereotypes, we see more and more people disconnecting from each other. Stereotypes affect society by creating groups and separation from others instead of coming together as one. It is important in everyday life to be able to connect and communicate with everyone. Stereotypes create a barrier between people and it is extremely difficult to focus on that person or what he or she needs to say. These types of issues arrive from labeling and putting others down without knowing them. Things like Education, and even different student groups can help diminish negative effects of stereotypes.
Education has definitely helped reduce stereotyping and labeling. With education such as public schools and college it gives a chance for students to interact with others from different cultures and ethnicities. In turn, this helps students build relationships and see the connection between themselves and others. Being in an environment where there are different people helps students learn that being different is okay. It helps them learn that being different is not always a bad thing. “People who are willing to communicate with others from different backgrounds report a greater number of diverse friends than those who are less willing to reach out” (Adler et al. 94). I have met so many people from different backgrounds and I can connect with them because I don’t see them for their colors, but how they are as people. As human’s we are born different, but we need each other when we face challenges and stereotyping and labeling affect the way we connect to one another.
The best people to prove wrong are people with stereotypical ideas. It feels great proving