Stereotyping and its Impact
Stereotypes can be clarified as general assumptions, beliefs and perceptions towards a specific group of individuals. These generalizations are significantly based on assumptions made over time. Stereotyping is not necessarily true. Their inception may occur when an individual is seen to behave in given unique way. When this happens individuals of the same inclination are assumed to behave in the same way though that is not the case. Stereotypes can illustrate a given group of people negative images whereas to another group stereotyping may give positive attributes, which may not, exist.
Stereotyping arguments are in most cases conclusive in the minds of those who believe them. Any attempt to change a stereotyping individual’s mind on the subject is met with resistance and suspicion. Stereotypes have a tendency of resulting in discrimination, segregation and rejection in most instances. For instance, the stereotypes on people whose religious beliefs are inclined towards Islam are that they are associated with terrorism activities and are oppressive to their women.
Stereotypes of this nature make it to be difficult for an individual who subscribes to the Islamic religious beliefs to coexist with people who subscribe to other religions. The reason for the existence of these stereotypes is the terrorist activities of a small group. Since these individuals subscribe to the Islamic faith, generalizations are made that Islam is a religion which supports and encourages the practice of terrorism.
Therefore, a person subscribing to the Islamic faith is highly likely to be discriminated against by other members of the society. This stereotype makes it to be difficult for these individual to socialize, access services and job opportunities. People inclined towards this stereotype argue that Islam is a religion which ascribes to terrorism and violence. They argue that it is clear given past experiences that anyone practicing Islam is an affiliate of one terrorist faction or other.
Personally, am inclined to ebb towards the stereotype argument though I understand the deception in the argument. The stereotype on the oppression of the women ascribing to the Islamic faith is widely accepted. Women of other religious beliefs view their counterparts in Islam as oppressed and denied basic human rights. Though it may appear to be so, the Islamic women prescribe to their religious beliefs strictly and do not view themselves as oppressed.
In some countries like the USA, Islamic women have the option of changing their religious beliefs. They have access to basic and fundamental human rights. The arguments that attempt to validate this stereotype state that Islamic women are treated as slaves by their men and are treated as insignificant and mindless group. These arguments attempt to illustrate these women as domestic pets who can only do as their master’s command them to do. They are purported to have no free will or a mind of their own.
Stereotypes are not only discriminative but can be a tool for inhibiting an individual’s abilities. Some stereotypes are intended to illustrate a group of people as weaker or lacking in given abilities and capabilities. Stereotypes, which are gender sensitive, have these characteristics. These stereotypes are at times a result of cultural practices, which deem one, sex to be superior to the other. In some instances, there are duties and responsibilities which are deemed to be performed by one gender while the other does something else.
These cultural practices and beliefs have led to generalizations inclined towards a given gender hence resulting to stereotypes that one gender is not capable of performing given duties or tasks. For instance, child rearing has been generally accepted as a woman’s responsibility whereas heavy tasks and protection of the family has been a man’s forte. However, in current times people have strayed from these norms but the stereotyping still persists.
If, a man chooses to remain at home looking after the children and performing house hold chores while the woman goes to work; then, stereotyping comes into effect. The stereotype in this case is that women should take care of the children and perform household duties as the cultural practices dictate. The man is expected to protect and provide for his family. In instances where a man chooses to stay at home and look after the children while the woman provides for the family is looked down upon by his fellow men. They argue that he is not masculine enough, and he is setting a bad precedent for his children. The general assumption is that since the man chooses to perform duties deemed to be a woman’s duties, he portrays a negative image on men’s image.
People have different capacities in performing given tasks as well as different behavioral adaptations. A person in a given setting is inclined to behave in given manner than those in a different setting. Therefore, stereotyping is inaccurate and unreliable in assessing and understanding any group of individuals. Human beings are independent in their thoughts and actions thus stereotypes fail in addressing the purpose in which they are intended. People who act as a group they do so to achieve a given purpose and do not remain in the group norms at all times.
Therefore, judging a person on the basis of a grouping stereotype is incorrect and misguiding. For instance African American women are believed to be proud, aggressive and opinionated. These racial stereotyping is wrong since these characteristics can be found in any woman from any race. Some stereotypes suggest that people of a given race have given shortcomings,whereas other races have superiority in given areas. These stereotyping has no basis since the stereotype is on the basis of a few individuals with the given characteristics.
A stereotype is in most cases injurious to its subjects. Their practice should be discouraged, and people should be viewed as dynamic and diverse in behavior. Judging people by their grouping is irrelevant and discriminative. I have the opinion that people should be assessed and judged individually according to their behavior, characteristics and merits. Generalizations often lead to stereotyping which is ineffective, inaccurate and based on misinformation. Hence people need to desist from stereotyping.