The first definition on Google that popped up defined stereotypes as:
“a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing”.
The key issue is that it’s oversimplified, and it’s a belief based on an encounter with one particular person.
Firstly, we are all unique, yet stereotypes convince us to believe a general set of rules for a group of people. Stereotypes assume that this group of people whether it’s based on their race, gender, religion etc are an homogeneous group.
But no one is the same.
I was having this discussion with my friend.
Society has conditioned us to believe that x person behaves in x way because they are from x group.
Stereotypes create prejudice.
And I do not see the benefits of preconceptions and prejudgements?
This is why one must be open.
You must be aware of the stereotypes that you believe in, willing to park them to side and decide for yourself what this human is like once you have had a first hand experience with them.
Be aware that because stereotypes are a widely held belief, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. In fact, it could be the furthest thing from the truth.
When you wholeheartedly believe in them you allow society to make a decision for you.
No human is the same, therefore no group are the same.
We are a heterogeneous group of people who tend to accept homogeneous ideologies. When you really think about it, it doesn’t seem to make sense, yet at times we don’t question it.
I have been trying to notice what stereotypes have shaped my expectations of others. What stereotypes have blindsided me and clouded my judgement?
You could try and do the same.
You’ll realise that your perception of reality has been skewed because society told you that this group are like this.
I agree that stereotypes can be born out of a real encounter. BUT this was based on the actions of one individual. And according to the definition, this one individual has now become the spokesperson who apparently answers for all. However, that was their experience and it was true for them, this doesn’t mean that it’s true for everyone who for example, may look like them.
Stereotypes, biases, prejudice are all very limiting. If you remain unaware, don’t look inwards and recognise that you play into these beliefs then understand that you haven’t thought for yourself. Society has done that for you.
Imagine if we all just viewed one another as human beings. Human beings that are simply experiencing life in their own way. Yes the way they live may be very different from yours, and that’s not a good or bad thing it’s simply different.
None of our experiences are equal. We all live life through our own unique lens.
Your lens is right for you and someone else’s lens is right for them.
So my advice is to experience as many people as you possibly could from all walks of life.
You’ll not only learn something about someone else you learn something about yourself.