I hate stereotypes. Why? Because it will drag you to become narrow minded in the way of your senses to respect a community. Some people called me terrorist, because I am moslem. Some people called me second level residence, because I am Asian. Some people called me nerd, because I don't drink and don't do shit.
Stereotyping and generalization are the basic human being’s reaction. It’s subconscious and is triggered and formed based on our background, education, culture, social upbringing, etc. We can’t help it. And the judgment is personal, individual. Stereotyping is practiced by everyone about other communities or segments of the same community.
Although I hate it, stereotypes are inherent to human nature, and for good reason. We are all stereotypical of fire. We don’t touch it because we know it will burn us. We are told never to touch snakes because they are poisonous. So aren’t we being stereotypical when we don’t go near these things? Aren’t we being stereotypical when we take a bite out of a banana rather than a red hot chile pepper? Stereotypes are survival mechanisms. In the earliest times of our existence we placed stereotypes on things like lions, wolves, bears, and crocodiles because it was necessary for our survival for us to automatically leave the vicinity as soon as we spotted them. Today, in times of war we place stereotypes on men in uniforms; we know they should be avoided or at least treated with great caution if we value our lives.
But we are smart creatures. We are intelligent and curious. We can understand the majesty of a crocodile; such an ancient animal that has survived for us to witness still. We can feel empathy for the great polar bears that are loosing their homeland to the sea like so many of us soon will. We admire the love and companionship wolves feel for one another. We understand peppers are best eaten in conjunction with other foods. We can tell the difference between cobras (rattlers, mambas, you name it) and pythons (garden snakes, etc.).
Unfortunately that’s bit tricky when it comes to world’s society. In society we often hear stereotypes about others. Although sometimes they are questionable, but here are lists about stereotypes I had heard in my community:
Turkish usually thinks Arabs are not trustworthy
French are considered the worst drivers
Dutch are stingy
British are too proud
Australians have no culture
Australians drink beer
All red haired girls are easy
Americans have fat arses
Chinese are good at business
Jews are greedy
White people are uneasy around minorities
Indonesians are Racists/Tribalists.
Indonesians are moslems and all moslems are terrorists.
Regardless the narrow-minded labels the society put, however, it does detract from the credibitlity of the message that the person is transmitting. I think it is very important to respect others by NOT mis-juding them. We could practice to hold back this prejudice, wait for a second, let our brain think, to form the second opinion after we interact with each individual. It’s not easy, it needs a lot of practice and open heart to do so. I do, sometimes, bitching people. But knowing it’s wrong, and trying to do our best to stop stereotyping and generalisation is the first step.
The point is, the predjudices against people are exactly the same. I’ll be perfectly honest with you when I say if I see a group of young guys, black, white, or asian, standing on a street corner in a city just hanging out I will turn around and walk away as fast as I can. You could say I’m being racist. Or sexist. Or…age-ist. I say I’m saving my skin. But that doesn’t mean if I were to encounter any of those boys on different terms that I wouldn’t be polite to them, or give them something other than the respect every human deserves. My advice: just give people the benefit of the doubt. Most people are just that: people like you or me. Treat people the way you would like to be treated.