Stereotyping are the organizational factors that virtually shape the way we think in 21st century America. They somehow manage to categorize some of life’s most complex matters into nice distinct sections. Classifications and organization, at first glance seem to be useful in distinguishing various aspects of modern life. However, these grouping methods can be very inaccurate, leaving flawed ideas in the minds of citizens on a global level. Stereotypes, though originating as convenient sorting mechanisms, instead, influence our thinking process (Lane 42-43). By instituting broad categories, establishing virtually immovable terms, and, often, being mistakenly identified as facts, stereotypes affect the mental process of humans.
Different sets of people do have unique characteristics common to the group. While it is not politically correct to point them out or speak of them, it is still the truth. Stereotyping has been used so negatively in the past we are fearful to acknowledge the obvious. Part of the problem is our tendency to judge people based on group membership. Yet, it is a denial of the truth and the obvious when we judge, there are reasons for stereotyping.
Originally used as an organizational tool, stereotypes were simply broad generalizations about subject matters. These ideas were not necessarily meant to cause the feelings of anger that they do today, but to classify ideas. However, possibly the most apparent problem with stereotypes is that they sort very intricate subject matter into large, broad categories. For example, human beings are too complex to use generalizations like, “all blondes are dumb” or “all smart people are nerds.” Stereotypes use wide terms, to simplify subject matte...
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...so work, to some extent, like self-fulfilling prophecy. When we meet someone for whom we have stereotyped ideas, we look for indications of behavior that confirm our notions and disregard all behavior that disagrees with our notions (52). Therefore, our prophecy about what they are like is confirmed. The stereotype becomes reality.
Through establishing broad categories, creating immovable terms, and being mistakenly identified as facts, stereotypes often place inaccurate ideas in the person’s minds. They have a huge impact on the thought process and ideas. As increasingly, more and more people become aware of this error, many of the stereotypes we now embrace will become obsolete.
Lane, Charles. “Let’s Abolish the Third World.” Thinking Globally. Andrew E. Robson. McGraw-Hill: United States of America, 1997.
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