Stereotyping in 2012: Ignorance is not Bliss

Stereotyping in 2012: Ignorance is not Bliss

I hate stereotypes. They’re annoying, faulty and ultimately destructive. It’s like taking the easy way out. How do you truly get to know a person if you already built preconceived notions about who they are based on something as silly as their appearance?


 “All black people like fried chicken.” “All Asian’s are great at math.” “All blondes are stupid.”  I know for a fact that I dislike fried chicken.  James, who is part Korean, has to study tirelessly to get decent grades in his finance classes. And a very dear friend of mine, who graduated last semester with a 4.0., has a head full of blonde hair. I don’t think of us as exceptions. I think of us as people. As unique individuals.


Back when I worked in retail, I had the misfortune of working with a lady who was borderline racist. Or clueless. I’m not really sure which. But whenever someone who wasn’t white walked into the store, she was on them like white on rice. Asking them that one simple question designed to urk the heck out of anyone that it’s being directed to. “Do you need help finding something?”

And it wasn’t just the question itself. It was the tone that she used when asking it. She used this “I know what you’re planning on doing, so I’m making sure that you know that I’m watching you” tone.  She would then proceed to follow them around the store, hovering over them and pretending to rearrange things, until the customer would finally get fed up and leave. 

Then she would come back with this huge smile on her face. As if she’d accomplished something by driving away potential business.  On the rare occasion that I even bothered to ask why she felt the need to follow them. She would always say that she had seen them do something suspicious. Riiggghhhtt. Apparently being Black, Hispanic or Native American is considered suspicious enough to warrant being tailed around the store. 

So why do I think stereotypes are destructive? Let’s take it back to basic psychology. There’s this little thing called self-fulfilling prophecies.  Which is defined as, “a previously false definition of a person or situation evoking a new behavior which makes the original false conception become true.”  Basically if you treat someone a certain way based on stereotypes, it can sometimes inadvertently cause them to believe it so much, that they begin to behave in that manner. Remember the Golden Rule, "treat others they way you would like to be treated." If you don't want people stereotyping you, then why would you do it to them?


My challenge to you is to get to know someone better. Step a bit outside your comfort zone. You may never guess just by looking at me that I enjoy going to the Charlotte Symphony, love classic black and white films and tune into NPR every time I get in the car.  I wonder what else you would never guess about someone who looks a little bit different than you. Take the time to find out. You never know who you might meet in the process.

Photo creds: 1)luvimages.com 2) dontstereotypeme.blogspot.com

XOXO Reese 


12 comments :

  1. It is such a sad reality that we live with today. I live in the south and I see this everyday. It is just ignorance.

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  2. It's true - we can so easily stereotype others. I live in Los Angeles, and you would think we would be more progressive, and in some ways we are, but there are ignorant people here too.

    I can be that way with teenagers in general - just assuming they are shallow because they are young - but they suprise me too. Just goes to show you can't stereotype anyone, even by their age! :)

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  3. I think we all need to be reminded of this.

    When we were little we didn't judge anyone unless they were mean and didn't share etc.

    I do know the stereo types are not true. Some jokes are funny. I'm not going to lie.

    But I am far from a racist. Trust me I have family who are. Drives me up the wall.

    People are blind anymore and can't find the beauty in anyone.

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  4. I get really annoyed when people assume, because I am milk white, I must be a racist. So they say whatever it is they have to say, and they get all upset when I don't agree. We all bleed the same colour blood, and cry the same colour tears! We're all equal in God's eyes!

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    Replies
    1. My fiance has the same problem! People will get mad and take whatever out on him, until I walk up, then they get really confused. Last year, we'd gone to visit family and while we were there a friend of the family accused him of being racist. lol I'm pretty certain he's not considering we're engaged. I'm sorry you have to deal with such stupidity :(

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  5. thanks for the comment on my blog!
    i would love to do a guest post. email me if there's still a spot available
    ~niki <3
    http://youngandimmortal.blogspot.com/

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    Replies
    1. Sure there's a few spots left for October. If you give me your email, I'll send you a newsletter with all the info.

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  6. yes...we talk about this around our table...it is judging and none of us can throw the first stone....
    I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.

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  7. Great post Reese. I think we all need reminders once in a while about not stereotyping. Even those of us who are conscience of not labeling people slip up every once in a while!

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  8. This post was awesome! I hate being followed around a store. It literally drives me crazy. It's rude and offensive. However, like the comment above me said we are guilty of stereotyping every now and again.

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  9. Great post, I work with a couple of folks like the one you described and it can be a bit painful at times. I can't stand when people automatically jump to conclusions about people without any basis whatsoever!! Drives me crazy.

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  10. Great post about a very important topic. I never understood why people continue such stereotypes. It is a great reminder to us all.
    Thanks for linking up with favorite thing friday.

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