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How to deal with STEREOTYPES? Asians, Irish, German, Black, Jewish

Updated on March 21, 2016
Unacceptable Irish Stereotype that most people find acceptable.
Unacceptable Irish Stereotype that most people find acceptable.

The Stereotypes

No matter who you are, or where you come from, one thing is certain. There is something about you that means you are the victim of a stereotype. Black, White, Hispanic, Persian, Asian, you name it. Male, Female, Straight, Gay. It even becomes so pathetic, that our body weight, age, height and looks have led to us being stereotyped. Our religion, or lack there of, leads others to believe that we are the same as every other member of our religion? That we are the same as every other red haired person in some way. shape or form? In some countries, do blonde people have a lower IQ? Where do people get this nonsense?

Throughout this article we will delve into the reasons why society, no matter what country we are in, creates and maintains ridiculous stereo types.

Do you think you can avoid being stereotyped? Is it up to the victim?

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Deep South of the USA stereotype
Deep South of the USA stereotype

Our Childhood

Lets begin at our childhood, shall we? When we are so young, we are heavily influenced by our surroundings and the people who help us to grow. Although I know some fantastic human beings who have dragged themselves out of the pits of hell, into a life that they deserve, one can't really avoid the fact, that your childhood will stay with you forever, whether that's a positive thing or not.

Some people believe we are prewired and others believe, that as we grow, we become rewired. Is this true? As we grow, do we absorb what we see and make our assumptions based on the people around us, and how they feel about certain topics. I do believe this is at least slightly true. And in turn, this shapes our views on another persons height, weight, color, gender and moral/spiritual beliefs.

It makes me sad when I pass by a group of black/white/asian/hispanic kids and they are all of the same race. Right from this young age, they are segregated, and have no understanding of what the other children are like. I also believe that this segregation, makes their imagination wander. It makes them feel, as if the "others" are different. And, well...different is, after all different. And when they finally do have to meet these "others", the majority of people take slowly to change.

Whether or not we can change as we grow is something we will discuss below.

The Media

The media is so easily accessible, and this is becoming more true every day. Our children even watch the kids news and their little TV shows, which are created by adults of course, many of which have their own message. When we turn on the TV everyday, and spend so much time analyzing the clear opinions of the media, which is spun to be "news", it really must affect our minds. On a prolonged basis, if I am watching one news channel, and you the other, it really must make the two of us think quite differently, about what is real. The "news", after all, is meant to be fact. So it doesn't help when the media try to sensationalize everything, to make us read their story. I find that lately, people should be asking themselves, "would this have happened, without the media attention? Would it have happened without the exaggerated story pedaled by the media? And would half of the stereotypes exist without the advertisements , movies, TV shows, and billboards we see everyday? A good example would be the portrayal on American TV, of Russians as Moran's who cannot do anything for themselves. Just yesterday in The Big Bang Theory they repeatedly made unneeded attacks on the Russian nationality and it was in bad taste. I understand that jokes are jokes, but not when they are this unbalanced.

I do believe that as the years spin past, the media and TV shows are telling us how to think. This leaves us with either a lack of independent thought, trusting what the biased media tell us, or else an issue with trusting the information we receive.

German stereotype
German stereotype

Society

Society as a whole may also be an issue when it comes to not only stereotypes, but racism. A lot of the victims of stereotypes have absolutely no tolerance when it comes to being the victim and some others really don't do anything to stop the trash talk. Take the Irish for example(and i am only doing so because I am Irish. If I were of another ethnic group I would use that. But I will not, because I believe I do not have the right to do so.) Wicked propaganda against the Irish for centuries led to the creation of the drunken stereotype, the fighting, wife beating stereotype and the image of the country that has led people to see it as a backward place. What have Irish people, including myself, done to counteract this. Very little. As a matter of fact, our sense of humor has resulted in an embracing of these ridiculous stereotypes. St. Patrick's day has become a drunken farce, football teams have been named the fighting Irish, and silly little leprechauns sport the front of cereal boxes across the United States. Most Irish people I know find it irritating, but just laugh about it. On the other hand, many Irish- Americans embrace it to the point that they have lost the real identity of being Irish, They only know what they see in movies, in stores and in the society that surrounds us. When I tell them that Ireland is actual quite the digital hub, they laugh and think I am nuts. I have even questioned their logic behind the stereotype. They always reply, well they do drink and there was that guy who was Irish who fits the stereotype perfectly. 1. I am sure there are many Germans, Czechs, British, Polish, Nigerian, Chinese and any other nationality who also fit that stereotype. 2. Are they not smart enough to realize that if he is a famous guy, they probably zoom in on him BECAUSE he fits the stereotype. Its probably the reason he is famous and more than likely, why they have heard of him. Society, after all, does love a stereotype

The English are stereotyped as tea drinking, posh, mannerly folk. Again, I am sure many of my English friends find it a little frustrating, to be portrayed as some kind of momma's boy with big teeth and ears, when they couldn't be any further from it. Similarly, immigrants are all illegal, Women are weaker than men, Men are all the bad guys in relationships,The Russians as stupid, the Mexicans are poor landscapers etc etc. And the only thing keeping these stereotypes alive is us, and society as a whole.

Now of course there is the opposite attitude within society that creates an atmosphere around a stereotype that places the stereotype completely off limits. I was watching an unnamed movie a few months back. There was a loud couple sitting next to us in the theater. They thought everything was hilarious. The jokes about all the other races of people. I thought it was funny, and if anything, quite flattering when some of the jokes targeted me, as I am. As the movie was winding down, the jokes kept rolling, and for some reason the couple beside us went silent, got to their feet and stormed out of the cinema. "What the?" I asked my wife. "I don't think they enjoyed that last joke", she replied. After the movie we chatted about it. My wife had been sitting beside them and what she explained to me, I have to say, vexed me a little. You see this couple thought it was funny to laugh at all of the other stereotypes. And I think this is fine. It is a comedy after all. But for some reason, when a joke targeted them directly. Well.... I guess that must have crossed the line. Again, this kind of attitude is just as bad as any of the above.

Shameful stereotype and categorization of all Asians.
Shameful stereotype and categorization of all Asians.

Our Intelligence

Do stereotypes show a lack of intelligence? I think so. I can't help but notice that when I question stereotypes, especially when A bigot is pedaling the trash, their argument is always invalid, and totally illogical. If the stereotype was not planted in their head as a child, then they must be of low intelligence, if they cannot understand that all people who share something in common cannot be the same.

To emphasize this point, I once had an argument with a racist who maintained that Africans were stupid and that is why there are so many conflicts on the continent. I was furious at this accusation and I told him that the guy who had the best grades in my class was from Nigeria. He then stated that my class was rubbish and that the quality level in my college was very low. I took this as an idiots attempt to divert attention from the topic at hand. I asked him was he aware, that Egypt was the cradle of civilization for half the planet, and the problems began on the African continent when the Europeans arrived, destroyed the coexisting system that was in place, killed and enslaved so many and it is not something that could be fixed overnight. He laughed and replied,"Egypt is in the Middle East, and you just don't know what you are talking about". My point was proven. This man was in fact a Moron.

The same man also tried to convince me that all Muslims were terrorists, and all terrorists were Muslims. That even though the religion is as splintered as any other, with different levels, different beliefs and hundreds of millions of people, it was not reality that mattered. It was what he believed.

I do feel that many people who stereotype, are in fact of low intelligence. I once had a woman insist that I must have a bad temper and be into booze. She was a customer. I was in the United States for a month at the time. I truly just stood there while she ranted about what I was. Needless to say, she was also a little on the slow side. I laughed a lot, and when she was due to leave, I asked her if she had ever been to Ireland. She told me she had never been outside of the state. Worldly then!

History

It is true that he who conquers, writes history. Since I was a kid, I always wondered about the history of Native Americans. I used to run around playing cowboys and Indians, somehow always seeing them as equals. Half the kids would always want to be on each side. It wasn't until I reached a certain age, that I watched a spaghetti western. At that point I began to ask questions. Why are they killing the Natives? Why do all the Natives act the same and have no character, yet the cowboys are praised as heroes. The answer was all to clear. Who wrote the books and created these movies after all? By doing so, history was rewritten.

I don't believe we will ever know what happened in many of these countries. Monuments were destroyed, entire cultures wiped out, and hidden from the history books. And then there are stalemates. In some cases, one may claim victory, but the spoils are still shared. What I am referring to, are the countless wars, from which two sides come out still intact. Some last for hundreds of years, and the scars left.... well they are extremely deep. As a result, we have two versions of history, two cultures with a deep hate for each other, and of course in some cases, two different world maps(check out maps from around the world and you may notice different countries centering the map, or even different sizes for certain continents in an attempt to make them look less significant than they are).

The hate that comes out the other side is something awful though. And the stereotypes that result, are indeed built from pure hatred. Over generations, we can only hope that it will wear away. But sometimes it is too deeply implanted into our psyche. The hate for another race due to the past, haunts many countries, and many of the stereotypes we see today are all that are left since the dust settled so many years ago.

The real size of the African continent.

Our own Person

And what keeps the stereotype going. Well it truly is us. Is it our jealousy of others that makes us exploit their weakness. Is it fear, that they are better than us? Or is it just pure ignorance? It could be many things, but the only one who can cease this stupidity is us.


We may feel comfort in being around our own. In being part of a group who are just like us. Many deny it. But it is very true in today's society. Segregation and fear of the unknown, of the weird, or different. It causes cowardice, and it is all too comfortable to sit at home, stay in our own neighborhood, our own state, country or continent. Just in case you might learn something.

It would be a shame after all, if you had to face the music. It would be such a shame to go out there as your own person, without all those tags linking you to your own stereotypes and meet people as they are. To simply meet people face to face and extinguish the tags/ stereotypes you have attached to them. To respect everyone else as an individual and maybe then they will gain some respect for you too. In turn they will break down their stereotypes. If only......

At the end of the day, Its all up to us. Nobody else is going to do it for you.

Have you been the victim of a stereotype

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Are you guilty of Stereotyping (Be honest - Its an anonymous poll)

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    • Smart girl 101 profile image

      Smart girl 101 3 years ago

      There also is the thought of blondes being a not as educated as brunetts it's not just skin it's hair as well people find it hard to look past the shell.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

      I enjoyed this hub very much. We are all stereotypes for any reasons. People who are stereotyping are those who are afraid of the unknown and believe the "hearsay" of the others. Irish people are not drunkard people as well as Germans are not rude. Some Irish love to drink and they enjoy life while Germans are just prankly speaking and direct people.

      Thanks for sharing:-)

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      Very interesting and informative Hub here! I dare say we are all guilty of stereotyping in one way or another. Just depends on the situation we find ourselves in. Our police here do what we call "stereo profiling". If they see a black man walking around white neighborhoods at night, they assume he is out to rob someone. And on and on. People are stereotyped in the airports, too.

      Regrettable practice, but it is evident in our everyday life.

      Voted UP, etc.

    • cfin profile image
      Author

      cfin 4 years ago from The World we live in

      That was a very incitement comment gmwilliams. Thank you. I do feel that we all stereotype and generalize. It is an evil in all of us, that we should try our utmost to overcome.

    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 4 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      This is very educational and insightful hub. Many people think in stereotypes because of either ignorance, fear, and/or hatred. Also, as you have eloquently asserted, it is familial, religious, and/or societal incdoctrination. It is easier to rely on such atavistic paradigms than to read some intelligent books and do critical thinking on the subject at hand.

    • Asp52 profile image

      Asp52 4 years ago from England

      Thanks for a thought provoking article, in the poll I replied no I don't stereotype but on reflection I think I do. I know it's wrong but it is something that is almost tribal in our society to embrace. The media does not help matters, English actors always play the villain,Mexican youth are all in gangs and Japanese all know martial arts!- Great Hub voted up

    • cfin profile image
      Author

      cfin 4 years ago from The World we live in

      Hi Don,

      Well the truth is, that no matter what a person looked or sounded like, I would probably move pretty quickly if they were running toward me with a weapon ;-)

      But yes, we all stereotype. Some have less effect than others. I think it is a matter of what goes too far? stereotyping race, color, sexual orientation/ gender? It doesn't feel good to be lumped into a collective. If someone can avoid the stereotype, they should. However, sometimes its unavoidable. Those are the ones I am aiming for.

    • Don Fairchild profile image

      Don Fairchild 4 years ago from Belgrade, ME

      This brings to mind a prankster quote that I once wrote about Stereotyping.

      "I really hate it when all women stereotype us men!"

      I too am guilty about occasionally stereotyping, especially when a 300 pound biker carrying a weapon runs towards me shouting expletives. I guess I shouldn't prejudge, as he might just be looking for directions to the nearest tea house.

    • cfin profile image
      Author

      cfin 4 years ago from The World we live in

      I like to make people think, especially on a stereotypical Friday morning :)

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Oh please do not get me wrong, I love this hub. It is always a good topic to discuss.

    • cfin profile image
      Author

      cfin 4 years ago from The World we live in

      Hi Eric,

      Its not a thesis ;) I just sat down and wrote how I felt about it, at that very moment. It probably is lunacy, but take it with a pinch of salt. I was coming at this ridiculously broad topic from a lighthearted angle. Nothing too serious. Just feeling brought up by the ridiculous behavior of others and the comments people make.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Been watching this and thinking on it. This hub is interesting but wrong. It ends up being a stereotyping of those who stereotype and that is lunacy.

    • cfin profile image
      Author

      cfin 4 years ago from The World we live in

      Thank you love doctor. I did a brief stint as a loss prevention manager. And yes.... You are 100% correct. They teach the associates to racially profile people. I only worked there until I could get a job in my trained profession, and I was so glad to quit. They treat you the way you look, but mostly on a racial level.

      When I started, they treated every black, hispanic or asian person to walk through the door, as a shop lifter and I was disciplined for teaching my workers otherwise. As for hiring practices, I won't even get I to that. Horrible!

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      I have walked into a store dressed in a black pant suit, heels and smelling like perfume and I get excellent VIP treatment and then I have walked into a store wearing a pair of shorts and a halter-top and nobody has acknowledged me. Just an observation. I don't take it personally. Now, the other day I was at a store called BCBG Maxaria window shopping only and there was this black guy walking around suspiciously and two of the sales associates came up to him asking if he needed help. I know exactly what was going through their minds since I am observant. There are many different types of stereo-types. It is bad. Many people are guilty of it. I believe that everyone deserves respect and if you have nothing to say just don't say anything at all. Voted up interesting!

    • cfin profile image
      Author

      cfin 4 years ago from The World we live in

      Indeed Nell. I feel like everyone does it. It really is a terrible thing that most of us are guilty of. Those Germans. Terrible sense of humor ;) Those English all drink tea. You are American? You must love guns. It really is an anomaly, that our brains connect dots that don't exist.

      Hubpages is great. You are right. Sometimes I feel like taking down my address, even though I actually reside in the US for now. People automatically have preconceived notions of what you are allowed to say, what you look like, what you can comment on and even the color of your hair. No it's not red! Hah! All by my address or place of origin.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Hi, fascinating read, and yes we all do stereotype people. Not necessarily the same way though I think. my closest friend is Irish, she comes from Tipperary, I always tell her it's a long way...! lol! but seriously she says about the northern Irish, and she gets really angry at them, leaving me totally bewildered by her anger. we were on holiday in majorca, and we went to an irish bar, it was great!, but there were northern irish there and they were fine, we were having a real laugh, but she took me to one side and said the stereotypical stuff about them, I must admit I was quite shocked, but I put it down to her knowing more than me so I kept quiet. I do believe we see something in loads of a certain race that makes us do the cliché thing, like English being stiff upper lip or just plain ignorant if they have money, trust me on that! lol! but hopefully most of the time we realise that we are wrong, the one great thing about writing on here is that we get to talk to loads of people without seeing them so not making assumptions, nell

    • profile image

      Sanxuary 4 years ago

      There is a huge difference between discrimination and stereo types. One could say if you hate being stereo typed then stop doing that to yourself. You want to be rich piece of crap gave it away by driving his H-2 Hummer. The want to be banger with his pants pulled up to his crotch line. I could go on for days. Really what I see is advertising owning you with its products and a World of fake people being someone they really are not. What you purchase is only a tool in life and it identifies no one. When you seek to stereo type yourself you our selling yourself as a product. Advertising was created by Pavlo who discovered that dogs could be programmed to salivate for food. Imaginary rewards and the idea that being like everyone else makes you one of them. I refuse to have a cell phone and instead stand around zombies tapping on them like their having a sexual relationship. You can only imagine the stereo types I get from not having one. In the end it has no effect on my life or the lives of the real people I meet. Just as important is knowing fake people and knowing that all the things they own never tells me who they really are. Stereo typing and stereo typing yourself is usually a sign of low self esteem and self preservation.

    • cfin profile image
      Author

      cfin 4 years ago from The World we live in

      Thanks for sharing :)

    • profile image

      Donna9376 4 years ago

      I really enjoyed this hub, thanks for sharing. Voted up and very interesting :-)

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      cfin, thanks for that clarification. Here is a funny one for you. My name is Eric Dierker both of my parents were third generation German. But I am adopted. My biological parents were first generation Black Irish and Italian. So in the fifties people could stereotype me as all that, not forgetting illigitimate. My wife is Vietnamese, so my son is a halfbreed. Please stereotype my son ;-)

    • cfin profile image
      Author

      cfin 4 years ago from The World we live in

      Well that would be less stereotyping, more judging a book by its cover. For me, stereotyping includes, for example, thinking someone is an alcoholic because they are Irish. Thinking someone is good at math because they are Asian. Two totally unrelated characteristics.

      What you are describing, for me, is more like, thinking someone is sick because they look unwell. Or thinking someone is rich because they dress well. I do see where you are coming from though. I guess I am looking mostly at bigoted stereotypes.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      A man walks into a shoe store wearing Armani and Gucci and a big Rolex. I would not guide him to the cheap shoes.

      A man walks up to me wearing a blue uniform a star and a belt complete will gun I give him respect.

      A man walks up to me 30lbs underweight with dirty worn clothes and the beginning of Jaundice. I do not ask him for money. But rather give him some.

      I am just saying let us not make stereotyping a dirty word, but rather recognize it and control, not let it control us.

    • cfin profile image
      Author

      cfin 4 years ago from The World we live in

      Hi Ericdieker. I cannot think of a reason why one would stereotype for very beneficial reasons. Can I have an example. Maybe that Swiss manufacturing is awesome, or Germans are all efficient?

      Thank you for the comment :)

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Here are two problems that maybe you can explain. Some of us stereotype for very beneficial reasons. Often to help serve someone better or to be more friendly. Is that bad?

      The obvious problem with painting all stereotyping as bad --- well it is stereotyping.

      definitely voted up and interesting

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