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The Negative Effects of Stereotyping Essay Sample

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The Negative Effects of Stereotyping Essay Sample

Stereotypes are known beliefs about certain types of races, ethnicities, genders, and even occupations. They are based on assumptions and are known as “silly” judgments which classify or group individuals together. Stereotypes can either be good or bad but they also can be hurtful, especially if one takes their culture seriously. If one chooses to stereotype, they are putting someone down based on their perceptions which will cause them to not succeed. Stereotyping can often encourage bully-like behavior that children will stick with until they’re adults. Stereotyping can also lead to hate, and can cause the victims of those stereotypes to often live in fear. For example, many homosexuals are afraid to admit their sexuality because they fear they will be judged and misinterpreted. Depending on how you look at it, it’s an ironic situation for those who are doing the stereotyping and those who are playing the victims. Stereotyping can lead to hate crimes, discriminations, and prejudice among different groups of people.

One cultural researcher says, “We use stereotypes in part because it’s so hard to take in all of the complicated information about other people in the world. It’s difficult to spend the amount of time necessary to understand why or in what different ways people behave. So instead, we learn early in our lives to accept stereotypes of groups, or individuals. We develop stereotypes not just for large cultures, but smaller, specific sects; such as police officers, Mexican Americans, women, or executive males.” Stereotypes, generally carry a negative undertone, are widely used because they are overly present in today’s media, strengthened by individual experiences, and reiterated throughout history. The most significant source of stereotypical content comes from sitcom media. A cultural researcher explains, “The media continually normalizes violence, reinforces racism, and creates myths of who we are as Americans. Advertisement and movies are constantly reinforcing women as sex objects, and rarely as heroes except to throw a twist in a movie or story.

The media really reinforces our notions of cultural stereotypes.” For example, on the well know television show The Simpsons, the average American family is perceived as being lazy, incompetent, or stupid. It also plays on the stereotype of “hillbilly farmers”, as one of the characters from the show, Cletus Spuckler, is shown to be very messy and is usually portrayed wearing a white t-shirt and pair of jeans. On the show, he has done many things associated with hillbilly stereotypes, such as dressing in a straw hat and white smock, chewing or sucking a piece of straw and carrying a pitchfork or rake, playing bluegrass music on a banjo, and eating animals such as raccoons, opossum, and squirrels. This influences society into believing that all people who live deep in the country are like Cletus, and they may discriminate and bully them because of what they see on the show.

Stereotypes also come from people’s experiences or what experiences other people have had. A good example of this is the stereotypes placed upon African Americans, such as they are “hoodlums” or they are gang affiliated, and being physically violent or using constant vulgar profanity. This comes from the old assumptions about slaves by their slave-owners. Another damaging stereotype in society is the stereotypes amongst Hispanics. Majority of the women in this ethnic group are portrayed as being olive-skinned women. These women are seen as “the housewives” while the man of the house is out making a living. They are also portrayed as working in low-class jobs, such as a gardener for males or a maid/housekeeper for women. One last popular stereotype is the stereotype on Asians. Asians in society are portrayed as knowing karate, being smart and excelling in school, especially math and science, and having poor English skills. In society, these beliefs have been passed down from generation to generation and it affects the way people live their lives and how likely they are to succeed.

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