How to deal with STEREOTYPES? Asians, Irish, German, Black, Jewish
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?
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 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.
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.
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!
When Maps Lie
- When maps lie (Africa gets short-changed again) | Under The Banyan
Africa as big as the United States, China, India, Japan and all of Europe combined -- so why are our maps telling us otherwise? Read the article above for more info.
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.