Cultural and Racial Stereotyping Essay

Cultural and Racial Stereotyping Essay

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Most people find stereotypes to be obnoxious, especially when they have to do with sensitive subjects like gender or race. “Stereotyping is a generalization about a group or category of people that can have a powerful influence on how we perceive others and their communication behaviors” (Floyd, 61). Because they underestimate the differences among individuals in a group, stereotyping can lead to inaccurate and offensive perceptions of other people. Although stereotypes are prevalent in almost every society, becoming aware of our perceptions of others, as well as differentiating between both positive and negative stereotypes can help us overcome those stereotypes.
“Stereotyping is a three-part process” (Floyd, 61). In the first stage, we identify a group to which we believe another person belongs. For example, if a man is wearing a turban, one might assume he is a Muslim. In the next stage, we recall a generalization others often make about the people in that group. For example, many people in the United States generalize all Muslims as terrorists or haters of America. The last stage in the process of stereotyping is applying the generalization to that person. “You are Muslim, therefore must be a terrorist.” Obviously, these assumptions are not accurate, but are examples in the process of stereotyping (Floyd, 61).
There are several factors that play a role in the development of stereotypes. The biggest learning of stereotypes come from family influences. Young children don’t see color or hold beliefs about culture and religion, but as they grow up, their ideas about people change with the people that they are surrounded by and associated with. Stereotypes also come from the media and social categorization (Ferguson). In young l...

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...reotype. This tendency has to do with selective memory bias; remembering the information that supports the stereotype and forgetting the information that doesn’t (Floyd, 62). These self-confirming assumptions can influence how much we like a person, based on a stereotype.
Even though the world is filled with stereotypes and misconceptions about people, we can take mental steps toward overcoming those stereotypes. Being aware of our inner thoughts and feelings and how they affect our beliefs and actions is a constant battle, but will help reduce stereotypes in our own mind. Staying open minded to different religions, cultures, and races helps one get a better understanding about others for themself. Most of all, we can overcome stereotypes by taking into account individual differences and using factual information instead of assumptions (“Overcoming Stereotypes”).

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