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How to Deal with Negative Stereotypes

Updated on June 9, 2013

How to Deal with Negative Stereotypes


Stereotypes, most of us have heard of it, we've all done it to an extent and more importantly some of us have experienced the negative effects of stereotyping. Stereotypes are are thoughts of an individual or group of people with certain traits, behaviours, looks ect. It may or may not reflect the actual accurate reality of the perception.

Stereotypes could be from the innocent boys like blue, girls like pink, to the feminine high voice overtly gesturing gay male, masculine 'butch' lesbian female to the more negative side of certain negative racial cultures.

It dates back, well since humans were on earth as a protective defense mechanism. The group of people making the stereotype (called in group) made stereotypes of another group (out group) as to make their tribe or people aware of the behaviours, traits and possible dangers to keep them survive and interact better with the out group.

Where ever in the world you will exposed to both 'positive' and 'negative' stereotypes.

So the question is how can you and we deal with it?


Curiosity; show your Sherlock homes side.

Where did this stereotype come from? Are there any we bits of nuggets of truth that as years passed exploded into something else.

An example, coming from the land Down Under (Australia) and as an Asian, many people are intrigued that I am an Asian Australia; this comes from the fact that Australia was founded by the British colony and we have a lot, and I mean a lot of British people come to Australia each year than other races.

Another stereotype in Australia regarding Asians is that Asian people are very very hard work; fact; during the gold rush in Australia Chinese people flocked to the gold mines and both European and Asian people would pan for gold during the day the difference was the European people would retire during the night though a lot of the Asian people would search during the night!

Ask people why they have that particular stereotyped view of a group and be intrigued as to where that person acquired it from. Was it from their family, friends,school, the media or maybe living in certain environments or countries. Do a bit of historian research on Google yahoo, bing or any other search engine on the internet and dig up the roots of the stereotype.


Show people the real you

When people ask about questions about you, tell them information about your self that will make the other person say "really, I always though that..." & "you've changed my way of thinking of certain stereotypes..."

It could be "no I don't have a boyfriend because I'm gay. Yeah, I this is a catholic cross necklace I'm wearing and yes, I'm a proud gay catholic. There a misconceptions about the catholic church and homosexuality...."

Or you could be dressed in a nice frock and say that you honestly have a passion for both watching a playing women's cricket or body building.

This will often engage the person a bit more into the conversation into keen interest and even a bit of fun debating.


Be a Mover and Shaker; Change the Stereotype! Go against the grain of the stereotype.

Do the opposite of what is the negative stereotype behaviour, prove people wrong.Go on you know you want to!

If you're consciously aware of a certain stereotype that you perceive as negative or undesirable strive to tweak it in the way that you want. It could be a stereotype of "rich people are stingy", spend money on your friends, donate to charities ect.

To educate people more on the tweaked stereotype make a Youtube video, show all your friends on Facebook, Twitter and blogs and vlogs. Create a Facebook educational event or flash mob with new stereotype.


Lets get creative here!

Scout for someone that has a negative stereotype and invite them to meet the people associated with stereotype.

Get them to observe, speak to members, here each other's story, indulge and immerse themselves in the people's activity or community. Practice your actively listening and empathy skills with the individual or groups of people. Organise a community facilitation or awareness day of the new stereotype.

Accept the stereotype.

Heard of the Serenity Prayer; God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can;and wisdom to know the difference.

Once you have acceptance it is sooo easy to move with things rather than against. As they say roll with resistance.

Do you know what the Chinese Finger Trap is? When I did a mindfulness class we where each given one and put our two finger in each side of the hole and asked to see if we could 'free ourselves' as once you put your fingers inside your 'trapped'. The 'secret' to free yourself from the Chinese Finger Trap was to stop trying to pull your finger out and to gently wriggle your finger together. It loosens up the trap and you are free. The meaning behind was; when you stop struggling and accept was is happening and work with it and accept it, it will free and loosen you. In other words go with the flow.

Though if you don't like the stereotype another way is accepting that yes it does have some exploded truth but.... your different and you know of other people that are different from the stereotype.


Some self reflection time.

Ask your self how much does the negative stereotype affect you? Look inside yourself and ask why and how it affects you. Your values and beliefs tend to shine out that way. If you are still not sure or would like a bit of 'professional guidance see a counselor or life coach. Does anything negative in your childhood keep cropping up to reinforce the stereotype? If you are a writing type write in a journal or if your a more creative type draw pictures or even role play with someone. Watching a movie with similar themes about the stereotype might help you self reflect even more,


Show your community spirit!

Hold a community forum and invite people that are being stereotyped and members of the general public where each can have a say, debate and questioning and understanding time.

Heard of Rotary; community services group or Rotaract; younger version of Rotary? Maybe their team can organise and facilitate a community forum. Other not profit or community groups would be interested in raising awareness as well.

Look, it's a bird, no a plane, no it's...............Super Negative Stereotype Buster Pal!!!

Rise your heroism to another level and spread the word about stereotype myths through Youtube, Tumbler, community radio and T.V, write articles, direct take part in a play, community stands. Start up your online blog or vlog.

If you dare dress up in 'costumes' in public and do a public role play or march in the city.

Everyone knows what reality T.V. is, well almost everyone. If you know of a group of people that break a particular stereotype of a group, ask if you could film them living out their lives in a non conforming stereotyped way. Then ask if you could broadcast it on the internet or if lucky on T.V. Sort of like Big Brother or Survivor or the Armish though on non conforming stereotypes.

Walk in their shoes


To have a stronger way to relate or develop empathy for yourself or someone else a really great experiential exercise to combat negative stereotypes is have someone reenact or role play a certain stereotype group, from the way how they think they act in a stereotypical way to how you want or desire other people to view the group. It's good to experience what it feels like to have certain responses from the public, people you know or strangers. It also increases empathy on the negative feeling that may develop from negative stereotyping.

If anyone else has any ideas on how to combat negative stereotype I urge you to share it maybe on Youtube or another place and you will be contributing to a better world!

Have you experienced being the subject of negative stereotypes?

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Have you been bullied, harassed, assaulted, hurt because of a negative sterotype

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What percentage of stereotypes do think is truth or reality

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