The Harmful Effects of Stereotyping
July 10, 2012
Stereotyping is having a certain perception about people who are different because of race, religion, cultural beliefs, personal characteristics, preferences, or life circumstances. It causes harm to everyone. A study led by Professor Michael Inzlicht showed that ???prejudice and stereotyping have lingering effects??? ( Kemick, A., 2010).
Stereotyping causes us to label or prejudge someone before actually meeting or getting to know them. It comes from fear and ignorance. All of us have encountered it at one point in our lives. Whether it comes from being labeled worthless and lazy because we are overweight, or perverted, mentally ill, or destined to die from aids because we are gay. The list goes on and on. Unfortunately the more we try to convince the racist or bigot their beliefs are wrong, not matter what logic we try to use to convince them, the more they defend them ( Ditto, P. Ph.D.,).
The first stereotype I have encountered in my life I heard from my mother??™s father, who was a terrible racist. He was someone who I always tried to avoid because of his negative comments about people because of their race. He would always say that black people were lazy bums that lived on welfare all their lives. They were murders, thieves, and trouble makers. The argument that I would use for this is the fallacy of hasty generalization. ???The fallacy of hasty generalization is committed when one has inadequate support for the conclusion, but one still jumps to a conclusion??? (Mosser, K,. 2011, Sect. 4.2). The generalization is that all black people are lazy and live on welfare. They are all thieves, murders, and trouble makers. Not all black people are lazy and live on welfare. They are not all thieves, murders, and trouble makers.
There are many black people who have made history. People like Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, President Obama, and many others that have made a huge contribution to society. So the stereotype that all black people are lazy bums living on welfare or thieves, murders or trouble makers is not only wrong, but totally ridiculous.
The second stereotype that I have encountered is the following stereotype involving politics. I overhead two older gentlemen discussing who would be the best choice for president, a Republican or a Democrat. One of the gentlemen said that all Republicans are wealthy snobs and only protect the rich people. Therefore a Republican would not make a good president. The argument I would use for this would be the Ad Hominem Fallacy. The ad hominem fallacy is where ??? the conclusion is to be accepted or rejected because of the person involved, rather than the actual argument, or reasons supporting the conclusion??? (Mosser, K., 2011, sect. 4.2).
This fallacy occurs because the statement that all Republicans are rich may or may not be true, and even if that were true they would not necessarily treat poor people differently than they treat people with money, or that they would not make a good president.
The third stereotype that I have encountered is when I was 14 years old a gay man moved into the house across the street from where we lived any some of the neighbors were outraged. Some of them were saying that because the man was gay he was a sexual pervert that would present a danger to all of the children who lived in the neighborhood. The argument that I would use for this stereotype is the straw man fallacy. ??? The straw man fallacy takes an opponents claim, characterizes that claim unfairly, and then criticizes the opponent on the basis of that unfair characterization??? (Mosser, K. 2011, sect. 4.2). Just because the man was gay did not mean that he was a sexual pervert that would be a danger to the children in the neighborhood. This is the type of stereotype that can hurt someone. The neighbors made this assumption based on prejudice against gay people. Their accusations made living in the neighborhood so unbearable for the man that he had to sell his home and move into another neighborhood.
Most likely, all of us grew up hearing comments from our parents or peers about certain individuals or the way they acted. At some point we began to wonder why our parents or friends had said something awful or funny about a person having to do with their being gay, Jewish, Black, Latino, Chinese or a member of some other social or ethnic group.
When we were young, we probably didnt have a name for this sort of comment, but as we grew up we learned that such comments were a form of stereotyping or bigotry. Stereotypes are generated by ignorance and fear of a person or group that is different . When we first heard the comments, we may have found them funny, even if we realized their how cruel they were. The problem is that stereotypes cause individuals and whole societies to lose their moral cause individuals and indeed, whole societies to lose their moral
Stereotypes can damage a person??™s real image of themselves and do real harm. When stereotypes sink into the mindset of a group and they come to define themselves by that stereotype, a whole culture is harmed.
Wounds to the body can heal but the harm that words can cause can last forever, damaging someone emotionally for life. That is why it is important to measure your words and learn from the experiences of others and avoid saying things that are negative to other people who are different.
Finally, my parents were certainly unconscious of what they were doing. They might not have believed it if someone had pointed it out to them–after all, most people see themselves as good and right. With effort, we can change ourselves and in so doing, change society. It is important to see the diversity that surrounds us as a good thing, something wonderful about the world.
Ditto, Peter, Ph.D. University of California, Irvine How Pre-existing Beliefs Distort Logical Reasoning Clip Number: INT_IO_13K_005. Retrieved from: http://www.searchcenter.intelecomonline.net/playcli
Kemick A., August 12, 2010 .University of Toronto. Stereotyping Has Lasting Negative Impact. Prejudice has lingering effects, study shows Retrieved from: http://www.usnews.com/science/articles/2010
Mosser, K., 2011. Logic an Introduction, San Diego, CA. Bridgepoint Education. Retrieved from:(http://content.ashford.edu/books