The Student Newspaper of Paint Branch High School

MAINSTREAM

The Student Newspaper of Paint Branch High School

MAINSTREAM

The Student Newspaper of Paint Branch High School

MAINSTREAM

Stereotyping Affects Us Negatively

Have you been stereotyped? If you answered “yes,” you are not alone. 

Stereotyping is the perspective that all people or things with a particular characteristic share certain attributes. Judging someone based on specific attributes of their race, gender, ethnicity, religion, or other characteristics and choosing a person of a certain group over another person based solely on who that person is are common forms of stereotyping. Stereotypes are often unfair and untrue beliefs that many people have about all people or things with a particular characteristic.

According to “Understanding stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination” from the Canadian free mental health service, “Everyone has different beliefs, experiences, abilities, appearances and more. However, certain people and groups are more likely to experience stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination.” The site goes on to state that many different groups face prejudice and discrimination that leads to stereotyping. This includes: ableism, cissexism, homophobia, racism, sexism, and xenophobia.

Stereotyping is wrong and it causes harm to individuals and groups. People shouldn’t discriminate against someone based on their experience with one person from the same group. In order to avoid stereotyping, one should work to get to know the person or ethnicity. Far too often,  people rely on stereotypes to make decisions and judge others. They allow bias to lead them  to a conclusion about a person because they are of a certain group. In my own experience I feel that most people judge me because of my ethnicity and this sometimes leads to them choosing not to talk to me because they think I lack understanding. 

Stereotyping has a negative impact on people because it is very unfair to infer something about someone based solely on one condition of who they are as a human being. According to “How to Beat stereotypes by seeing people as individuals”  by Zaid Jilan, “It might seem hard to argue with idea that we should focus on what individuals say and do and believe, instead of unthinkingly inferring those things from their group membership- but, in fact, we use group affiliation to evaluate individuals all the time.” What this means is that it is very difficult for us as humans to conclude about a person based on their behavior rather we choose to connect their characteristics to a group. Judging or treating an entire race based on one person’s action is wrong. Having a certain mindset about a group of people  leads us to unknowingly limit contact with a group of people because of their race, gender, ethnicity, or some other surface-level reason.

Stereotyping also weakens people’s confidence. One group that suffers from stereotyping is women, who often suffer from an issue of second guessing themselves. One particular place where women are stereotyped is in the workplace even though, according to Dina Gerdemen of the Harvard Business Review, “Women make up more than half of the labor force in the United States and earn almost 60 percent of advanced degrees, yet they bring home less pay and fill fewer seats in the C-suite than men, particularly in male-dominated professions like finance and technology.” Another reason why women’s confidence is weakened due to the fact that they are reluctant to promote themselves for certain roles, most likely because they feel like they are not fit for the role. In Gerdemen’s article she writes, “This weak self-confidence may hold some women back as they count themselves out of pursuing prestigious roles in professions they believe they won’t excel in, despite having the skills to succeed.” 

The perspective that women can’t do things independently and that  they somehow need men’s help is not true because women are very independent, capable and strong. I don’t think our gender determines if we have the ability to do something. Gender stereotypes are harmful  because they restrict the capability of men and women to develop important qualities that impact their lives. Stereotyping is very harmful in society at all levels and to reduce the impact of these we should  learn about individuals and interact with people from other groups and learn about them. This will allow all of us to become more open-minded and knowledgeable. 

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Condoleezza Masuba, Staff Writer

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