Stereotyping Stereotyping plays a big role in our everyday lives. Understanding how we create and use our stereotypes improves us to deal effectively with people whose view or behaviors are different then our own. Stereotypes are everywhere, at work, at home and on the TV. We use stereotypes in our humor, in our description of groups.
For example, males are suppose to be strong and the breadwinner of the family, females are to take care of the children and to clean house. People of different ages get stereotyped as well. Older adults do not think younger adults could possibly understand what it's like to have responsibility. The younger adults do not think older adults listen or respect them because of their age.
We stereotype nationalities, creeds, ideas, or even occupations and hobbies. By understanding natural cognitive processing, and the way we categorize information, we may be more willing to look at our own personal stereotypes. The term "stereotype" was first used in the eighteenth century to describe a printing process designed to duplicate pages of type. A century later, psychiatrists started using the related term "stereotypy" to describe a behavior Of "persistent repetiveness and unchanging mode of expression" (Jones, 1977). This definition coincides with the Webster's New World dictionary, which defines stereotypes as: An unvarying form or pattern; a fixed or conventional notion or conception as of a person, group, idea, etc, held by a number of people, and allowing for no individuality, critical judgment.
Stereotyping enables us to adjust a very large amount of information on a daily basis, while saving us mental resources. For example, it takes too much mental energy to define every individual based on their characteristics of the group to which they belong, we use stereotyping as an "energy saving device." Most theorists suggest that stereotyping is a normal and automatic mental response to our complex and information overloaded world. Fiske, 1989 noted that when we categorize other people, we do so in order to simplify the tasks of knowing whom they are and how we should treat them. That we categorize people by age, height, weight, sex, cultures, etc. in the same way we would categorize furniture as chairs, table, and couch. For example, Native-Americans are savages, alcoholics, mean, dirty and uneducated.
Athletes are uneducated, conceited; get all the girls, unless they are girls? Then those girls are homosexuals." Blondes are dumb and airheads"Smart people are nerds."That person must belong to a gang, just look how he dresses." All Mexicans are short, overweight and uneducated." How often have we heard someone mention these things, yet how often have we said something similar. We all tend to categorize people because of the actions. At the extreme, the process of stereotyping eventuates in dehumanization. The enemy is judged to be inhumanly evil or contemptible that anything may be done to it with- out subjectively compromising one's own humanity and sense of loyalty. (A. J.
Turk, 1981) Stereotyping also plays a role in social interaction. For instance, according Ashmore and McConahay (Jones, 1977), the belief that the poor are lazy and incompetent by the non-poor is used to legitimize differences in economic well being and to help the in-groups to justify their resistance to public policies that are designed to alter the socio-economic status quo. It appears when we categorize someone in a certain way; we are most likely to remember that part of their behavior that is most consistent with our view of them and forget the specific features that led us to use the label. Consequently, in categorizing individuals we are creating an in-group and an out-group. From mutual glances to avoidance of eye contact from name dropping to name calling, from co-operation and competition, almost all aspects of behavior can be employed to let someone know what we expect of him or her. All too often, the result is that we will have defined the situation so that the other person has little choice but to behave as expected and thereby confirm our stereotypes of him or her.
(Russell E. Jones) Although changing stereotypes is a difficult task, our lives are full of examples of stereotypes that change. Snyder 1981 gave an example of how widespread negative stereotypes have changed over the years. For example, increase of Americans who say that they would vote for a women or a black person over a twenty-year period.
Another example would be the things we associate with "Made in Japan." Some stereotypes need to change and may conflict with our personal interests and will be highly resistant to change. Stereotypes can change when people of different social groups increase their interactions with each other. Though interaction, false or negative stereotypes can be disproved. Individuals may believe that members of some groups are generally lazy without believing that any of whom they know personally are lazy. In order for increased interaction to be effective, certain conditions should occur. For example, there must be equality of status among groups, also re categorizing into smaller or larger groups are another way.
The job of changing stereotypes is a difficult one because it asks us to understand how we think, what we like or dislike and what we see as good or bad. Stereotypes can change; sometimes they change naturally and sometimes they resist change. Changing our stereotypes requires we accept the change, we have contact with the ideas or people that do not agree to our stereotypes. Stereotypes are everywhere and that everyone has them. Stereotyping is generally viewed as undesirable or unattractive. Stereotyping is obvious in today's society.
We do it for a number of reasons, whether it is done consciously or not. Sometimes it can be offensive, teasing or bullying another human being. It is how we see each other. Increasing knowledge of different races, genders, cultures can only bring a better understanding for others. Stereotyping is only a showing of one's ignorance and disrespect.
They create a lot of injustice and cruelty. At the same time, they help us to make quick decisions, to avoid danger, to fill in gaps in what we know, to create and to recognize patterns, and to draw conclusions. They help us make sense out of who we are in life and to explain what has happened to us.