Should stereotypes be reinforced or exterminated?

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Should stereotypes be reinforced or exterminated?

Post by Chiasm Chicken on 5/29/2014, 11:27

Stereotypes have always played an important role in society. They define how we think of others and help to shape our first impressions both negatively and positively. Normally looked at as a bad thing, a stereotype also has its good parts: helping us stay away from genuinely shifty people because they match the shifty person profile.
I don't think stereotypes should be reinforced, per se, but I don't think that they should cease to exist, because they are extremely useful. People do often match them and it makes getting to know one a lot easier (kind of). The negative ones are the only stereotypes worth questioning. But there is a decent height of awareness for negative stereotypes, and it is not too difficult to break past the first judge of character, which would be based solely on appearance.
A world without stereotypes would be dangerous. It's important to know that someone with a white van and a handful of candy is unlikely to be appropriately friendly. Stereotypes often stem from truth, a negative truth that is sometimes exaggerated and moved to match all people of a similar appearance. This mass organization of people is not a good thing in principle, but does have its perks.
Stereotypes help us define who are friends are and sort the people in our lives. Imagine if we had no default way of thinking of a person, and had to remember each individual personality down to the last detail? We would not be able to meet as many people, especially not on a deeper level. Teenage stereotypes are accurate in that kids go through phases, deal with the emotional discomfort of adolescence, and often struggle through a rebellious phase. If we did not recognize teens as fitting this stereotype, and sorted them in the same category as adults, we would not be able to help them as effectively. The same goes for adults: treating them the same way as teenagers would do no good.
Not a great example, but I hope my point is clear enough. I think that many stereotypes are negatively and the world would be better without them, but some are definitely helpful and I can't imagine living without them.



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