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Stereotypes - Essay Example

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This paper is about the stereotypes. The word stereotype is derived from two greek words stereo and typos which literally mean “mark of a blow.” The effects of stereotype and prejudice last much longer than the environment where the actual prejudice was experienced. …
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Stereotypes
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Stereotyping of Affiliate Stereotype The prejudicial and the dysfunctional intentions of stereotype are clearlyevident from the Greek origin of the word. According to Schneider (2004), the word stereotype is derived from two greek words stereo and typos which literally mean “mark of a blow.” A study documented by Kemick outlines that the effects of stereotype and prejudice last much longer than the environment where the actual prejudice was experienced. In essence, stereotyping is a tool aimed at leaving a lasting negative mark on a victim. Prior to the 1980s stereotype was simply defined as “inaccurate beliefs.” However, empiricists argued that the definition was flawed because it required experimental verification to determine whether a belief was true or not. In 1981 Ashmiore and Dela Boca defined stereotype as “beliefs about the attribute of groups and their indivdual members” (Hauf, 2007). In essence, the definition outlines that stereotype is a claim that particular groups of people and their members have certain social and cultural attributes without having any scientific proof. Most of these attributes are usually attributed to behavioral, psychosocial and cognitive aspects of a particular group of people. For instance when one says that all black males are criminals the statementis considered as racial and gender prejudice. There is no scientifica evidence that has ever been conducted that has proven that black males have a tendency to commit crimes. Stereotypes can be connected to fallacies which are statement that are based on arguments that have no logic bases. According to Schneider (2004) stereotype has to do with the psychological perception created by the mind that allows for an easier way of storing and processing information and building a defense mechanism. For instance, if someone is robbed by an African American the mind will find it much easier to store information as “robbed by an African America” rather than storing information with details such as the name, age, height, color of the eyes and color of tha hair among others.
Example of Stereotyping
The best example of stereotyping in the U.S. is perhaps racial profiling that has continued to raise debates among proponents and opponents. According to Muffler (2006) racial profiling is “targeting individuals for police or security interdiction, detention, or other disparate based on race or ethnicity.” Racial profiling is based on the belief that certain groups of people are associated by some criminal acts and this is the reason for clasifying racial profiling as a form of steretyping. In the U.S. there have been instances where black American males have been waved by traffic police for no other reason other than because of their race and gender. Statistics in the United States have shown that black males usually commit more crime than their counterparts from other races. Police who have used racial profiling to identify potential criminals or to prevent crime exlpain that racial profiling are based on trends observed in demographic studies. According to Muffler (2006), studies have shown that in the most United States cities, persons from minority groups have been stopped and arrested by police for no particular reason except for the fact that they belong to a particular race. Police usually use fact sheets and demongraphic studies to justify the act of racial profiling. For instance, when a police is aware of the fact that in a given neighborhood African American males are more likely to commit crime, they will probably stop more black men for checking in case a crime has been committed. According to Muffler (2006), there are instances where racial profiling has been successfully used either to prevent crime from being commit or to arrest criminals. However, it is important to view racial profiling from a logical perspective on order to determine whether the act is ethical and just from the perspective of both the victims and the perpetrators.
Racial Profiling is based on Fallacious Argumens
The argument that “since studies shows that crime is mostly committed by African Americans, therefore, when a crime is committed somewhere it has definitely been committed by an African America” is fallacious and it can be categorized under fallacies that appeal to belief (Labossiere, 2011). Fallacies are arguments that use claims to ascertain their truthfulness rather than facts. Just because most African Americans have been caught committed criminal acts as compared to persons from other races does not imply that any other crime commited has been committed by an African American. The above statement is actually an inductive statement which implies that the premise weakly associates with the conclusion. Although demographic studies have scientifically proven that African American males commit more crimes than their counterparts from other races, there is still the possibility that a given crime or criminal has been committed by a person from another race. In essence, when crime is committed in a given place and the police respond by only arresting African American males it implies that their judgement was actually based on a fallacious argument, and in actually sense they might be missing the real criminal. As outlined in the introduction stereotyping can have long lasting negative impact on the individuals thereby denying them the quality of life they deserve within a given environment.

References
Hauf, P. (2007). Making minds: the shaping of human minds through social context. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Kemick, A. (n.d.). Stereotyping Has Lasting Negative Impact Prejudice has lingering effects, study shows. Toronto: University of Toronto.
Labossiere, M. C. (2011, November 30). Fallacies. Retrieved from The Nizkor Project: http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/
Muffler, S. J. (2006). Racial profiling: issues, data, and analyses. New York: Nova Science Publishers.
Schneider, D. J. (2004). The psychology of stereotyping. New York: Guiford Press. Read More
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