Stereotypes are conceptions perceived about particular individuals regarding their culture, class, nationality, and religion that lead to their undermining in the society. In this case, the in-groups act as superiors while the out groups are considered the minority with no say. A good example is when a particular group wears turbans, the conclusion is that they are terrorists or Asians assuming to be smarter than the Americans are just because they got an advanced way of learning.
In life, the types of stereotypes I have encountered ranges from religion, lifestyle and health conditions. Starting with lifestyle, there is this gap between the rich and the poor. Those people who come from humble backgrounds are perceived to be inferior and are always discriminated everywhere they go. It hurts to learn that, this group is always on the suffering side in terms of education and medical attention. They are neglected socially, and they do not receive assistance in any way. This is the same minority group when hunger strikes, most end up losing their life due to our ignorance towards them whereas people from well off class feasts and even waste meals they could have donated to those in need (Cox, 1994).
In fact, all this happen around us, if people could have conscience to offer a helping hand, this could have changed the world to a better place as everybody could be happy and no more suffering could be experienced. The people from inferior backgrounds are also denied chances to interact socially with others. I have witnessed cases where children from poor families cannot mix freely with those from the well off families to play, with views that they may end up dirtying them or even infect them with diseases. This lowers the morale of those kids to the point of even affecting them as they grow up viewing themselves of less importance in the society when before the creator, we are all the same. In the same account, sick people in our society face stigmatization and in this case those whose’ HIV status test positive are the ones who are discriminated most.
They fail to receive proper care from us right from the outbreak of the epidemic, as we tend to believe in misconceptions that drive us away in assisting them, because of attitudes developed towards the infected persons. People tend to believe that, sharing meals and generally socializing with the victims might also land them in contracting the disease but on the contrary, this is the reverse of the truth. As a result, they have no choice but to suffer and some end up dying in such conditions.
All the blame resents back to the society, the ones who bears most pain are the orphans left behind whom if not adopted by any organization they end up suffering their entire life. This is a situation that would have been corrected earlier, but due to the stereotypes in us, it makes other people’s lives miserable (Weiten, 1999). Religions are also affected in a way when it comes to stereotypes, and this is common between the two faiths Muslim and Christianity. Misperceptions about the two religions are controlled more by the stereotypes than the facts. Though we worship the same God, there is misinterpretation when it comes to what Muslims believes in and what Christians believe.
Muslims find it hard to understand why Christians believe that Jesus is the son of God while Christians condemn Muslims of believing in Muhammad and their violent act especially when they demonstrate the Jihad wars that are perceived to be holy. When it comes to learning, the two groups still separate themselves and go head building their own institution. The effect is that Christians cannot merge freely with Muslims for instance when intermarrying simply because of different believes in their faith.
A number of theories have been put in place to argue out and support this stereotype. Sociologists claim that factors like violence, bad parenting, lack of mental and emotional progress were obvious in our social status and were the ones that caused stereotypes. People also stereotype because it is difficult to accept all people the way they are. When we categorize ourselves, it simplifies ways for proper plans and organization in our universe.
Stereotyping enables individuals to feel good about themselves, it reduces curiosity and promotes self-esteem. An element of worth is shown when one rates himself as superior and others inferior. Psychologists suggest that stereotyping behavior starts developing right from the childhood stage where the behavior is emulated from friends, teachers, and guardians. Once it is absorbed in someone’s system, it leads to addiction that forms a habit. It can help to evaluate other people’s information but it will not be accurate always. Mistakes are also encountered, including incorrect opinions about people, escaping responsibilities and unfair judgment towards others.
In general, stereotyping leads to living with negative impacts and adverse lingering effects that may not heal quickly. Parties affected are considered poor performers in activities they do. In addition, they no longer think in a logical manner, and see themselves out of place in the society and this affects the long-term decisions a person makes in life. Therefore while using stereotypes, it does not matter whether it was meant to be intentional or in good faith, the impacts are always the same.
Cox, T. (1994). Cultural diversity in organizations: theory, research, & Edition reprint.
Washington: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
Weiten, W. (1999). Psychology: Themes and Variations. Canada: A & C Black.
Weiten, W. (2007). Psychology: themes and variations. New York: NY Cengage Learning.