Thursday, August 22, 2019

Prejudice and Stereotyping in Society Essay Example for Free

Prejudice and Stereotyping in Society Essay Stereotyping is a form of prejudice and is also the root of racism and discrimination. A stereotype usually applies to a whole group of people who do something in a certain way. To them, it seems natural, but to some people its weird. Often, a name is given to the group, and to every individual. For example, nerd is the stereotype name for someone who is usually a computer whizz and cant play sport very well. This however isnt always true, because many people are computer whizzes and also good at sports. But, if you saw someone who you didnt know come to school with disks and computer stuff, you would probably say, hes a nerd, or shes a nerd. The problem with that is that you are making a judgement of their personality without actually knowing what they are like. Another real-life example is towards blonde haired people, women in particular. One journalist went for a weekend with blonde hair, rather than her usual brunette look, and noticed that no-one took her ideas seriously. Thats what stereotypes are all about. When society has an exaggerated idea about a group of people, when you see someone who seems to fit the description you judge them as that stereotype. Some stereotypes are called labels, because its literally like a label stuck to you. Theres no harm in making that point, but labels can also be a name for an individual. For example, if someone was known as Lazy- Bones, it means that they dont always do their part of the job, let the team down, and anything else that can be connected with being lazy. That person now has two choices: one is to actually live out their label and turn into a big lazy person, or they can fight back and prove that they arent lazy. Most stereotypes focus on the bad things about someones personality, or not necessarily bad, but more like an area that theyre not strong in. If someone gets labelled for something they cant do, it could have bad psychological effects on them. This is a way of bullying. Another way that stereotyping can have a bullying effect is when there is a social stereotype of how men or women, boys or girls are supposed to behave, and one individual doesnt fit the stereotype, people treat them like a weirdo. No-one really has to behave in a certain way and we are much too complex to be neatly shelved under a few stupid labels, as if there are only a few types of people instead of many different ones. Another problem with stereotypes is when it affects a whole group of people, such as the 19th. Century Irish. Back then the Irish had a reputation of being heavy drinkers, lazy, unreliable, troublesome, violent, and dishonest people. This meant that most of them fitted those stereotypes. For those who didnt, the fact that the stereotype existed didnt make it any easier for them to get employment as opposed to say, an Italian, whos stereotype was(still is) hardworking, honest and reliable. The good Irelander might have fit the Italian stereotype, but as soon as the employee hears Irish they discard them. In light of the recent terrorism attacks in America, many people have become prejudiced towards Muslims, since the terrorist agency is believed to be Muslim. Fortunately, this situation hasnt become too out of hand because political leaders such as President Bush of the USA have made us realize that it wasnt caused by every single Muslim, but only a handful in comparison, and if anyone is to pay for it, it is the terrorists themselves. But what is it that makes us want to label, stereotype, and pre-judge? It is all part of an important process called Generalisation. Just about everyone has this ability to generalise. Generalising is an involuntary process that takes place in our minds. It is related to learning from experience and predicting the future. We can make a generalisation about fire, that it burns and could kill you if you let it. We know this from seeing things like logs or paper burning up, or say, if you put your finger into a flame and it burns your finger. Heat and pain. Now, from your experience with fire, you can say, fires are hot, and they hurt you. So when you see a fire, you know that you shouldnt touch it. Saying that fires are hot is a prejudice, but it isnt racist towards fires or bigotry. If we didnt have the ability to generalise, wed put our finger in the fire every time we see one because wed never learn that fires can kill or hurt you. As you can see here, generalisation is an invaluable survival tool. This same principle can apply to people. If you told someone a secret, and they told everyone else, next time you have a secret, you know who not to tell. Racism is when you look at the way a certain culture/race/ethnic group do things differently to how your group might do them. This escalates to superiority, believing that your group is more important and better and more valuable than the other groups, and not accepting that they say, the your opinion doesnt count syndrome, commonly known as bigotry. The most visible example of bigotry in practice is probably in the days of slavery in the United States, and the apartheid in South Africa. In America, the black people were discriminated against, forced into slavery, even sold in auctions as slaves. In South Africa, the Afrikaners (white South Africans) passed laws that restricted what black people could do. The apartheid plan was to send the natives back into their part of Africa, even though they had been in South African territory ages before the Afrikaners were even dreamed of. Bigotry is an often cruel practice but the people it affects more often than not find the strength to persevere with the oppressors, and eventually win in the end. In conclusion to all this we realize that making generalisations is important, but it is also abused to become racism, labelling, and bigotry.

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