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On Stereotypes - Research Paper Example

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Stereotypes One of the major concerns in regards to racial and gender considerations is the notion of stereotypes. Stereotypes are broad generalizations made about a group of people that may or may not have degrees of accuracy. Still, stereotypes are recognized as harmful and counterproductive to intelligent thought…
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Research Paper on Stereotypes
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Download file to see previous pages One understanding of stereotypes is that they emerge to exploit differences between competing groups. Stereotyping downplays similar characteristics and magnifies differences. One sees this occur among African-Americans, whose identity clearly goes more in-depth than racial background, as they are more American than African. However, American society consistently splits itself on lines of black vs. white. Another theory of stereotypes relies on psychological research and claims that for human beings it is too difficult to process all the nuances of individuality so stereotypes function to help cognitively organize groups of people. By assigning characteristics to large groups, it aids humans in simplifying, organizing, and predicting the society they function. As a result, there is decreased need to process new information that would distinguish people by individual traits. Sociologist Charles Hurst believes that, “…stereotypes (are) the lack of personal, concrete familiarity that individuals have with persons in other racial or ethnic groups. (Hurst 6).” In these regards, it’s clear that lack of familiarity encourages the lumping together of unknown individuals. Whatever the theory, it’s clear that stereotypes present a problem for society as they inhibit integration and function in large part to maintain a social caste system where upward mobility faces resistance. One can just view the cases of the maquilos workers on the Mexico – Florida border and the gender stereotypes they endured when attempting to receive fair and equitable wages and positions. Stereotypes are in direct opposition to our right as human beings to the pursuit of happiness and personal betterment. While stereotypes exist for a variety of reasons, it’s clear that there are a number of stereotypes that have emerged that are regularly believed by large groups of the general public. One of the major areas of stereotyping occurs in the area of gender. In these regards, men are presented as needing to be concerned with sports and ‘manly pursuits. Oftentimes, there are stereotypes presented of woman, such as blondes as being outgoing and fun loving, while girls who read having a prudish edge. One comes to witness a great degree of gender stereotypes in phrases such as ‘you should never hit a girl’. As within such statements there is the belief that men should be weak and men physically strong. Another area of stereotyping occurs in terms of race. Race constitutes one of the major areas where stereotyping occurs. For instance, Mexicans are depicted as lazy, while Asians are depicted as being studious and career driven. Still more stereotyping occurs in regards to religion. If one speaks to individuals very familiar with sects of Christianity, for instance, they will oftentimes report that Baptists have different attitudes than Catholics or Lutherans. In addition, there are a wide variety of stereotypes regarding practitioners of Judaism, with these individuals being thought of as thrifty or intellectual. Finally, stereotyping also occurs in regards to people’s sexual preferences. In regards to sexual preference, gay individuals are oftentimes depicted as speaking with a lisp or doing fantastical or ‘fabulous’ things. They are also believed to wear specific types ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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