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Are Stereotypes Inherently Bad?

Discussion in 'U.S. Politics' started by Brandon, Apr 8, 2007.

  1. Brandon

    Brandon New Member

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    Do you think that stereotypes that focus on race, gender, nationality and religion are bad, even the ones that put the person being talked about in a positive light?
     
  2. vicki2

    vicki2 New Member

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    I don't think stereotyping is inherently good or bad. I think it's human nature.

    In recent years, an attempt at political correctness tried to snuff out alot of stereotyping and it has seen a backlash. People didn't want to be told what not to think about others. The only way stereotyping wanes is with knowledge of other cultures.
     
  3. mtatum4496

    mtatum4496 New Member

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    I am with Vicki. I think it is human nature to try to put everything and everyone in some sort of a category. We do it with all sorts of things. And some people will buy into it very easily.

    When I was going to college in the Pacific Northwest in the late 1970's, people assumed I was a racial bigot, because I hail from the Deep South. They made this assessment even as they gave all the local Mexican population hell, calling them lazy and good for nothing as a group. They didn't see the irony.

    We make assumptions about people's character based on the religion they espouse, the part of the world they live in, their economic and educational status, whether they are single or married, gay or straight.

    Sometimes those stereotypes are right on the money when it comes to an individual. Sometimes they are completely off base.

    I suppose starting with a stereotype as a frame of reference would be okay. After all, you have to start somewhere. I think the real danger of stereotyping is when you let it get in the way of actually learning what the individual person is all about, and do not want to let go of the stereotype even when evidence to the contrary is staring you in the face.
     
  4. luvcamerasnic

    luvcamerasnic New Member

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    I totally agree. We cannot get around stereotypes. Think about how you view a breed of dogs, as a non-moral example. I own a rottweiler, and many people stereotype her as mean and vicious. She is the most gentle dog I have ever owned.

    I think there is no getting around it, that's just how people are.
     
  5. vicki2

    vicki2 New Member

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    Dogs are a good analogy. I have a distinct opinion about some breeds ...I try to keep it based on personal experience but sometimes what people tell me in the way of dog stories affects my opinion too. I've known sweet Rotties and I've known vicious ones so I know it depends on the owner. There are breeds I will not trust under any circumstances because I know even the sweetest ones have the capacity to turn. I've seen it happen.
     
  6. dong

    dong New Member

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    Chiming in with another agreement here. Stereotyping seems to me to be a byproduct of profiling, which is perfectly natural (however you take this to mean!)

    The general thrust of criticism is against the negative connotations and the incorrect applications of profiling- given this is a prevalent practice there's always going to be a risk of it depending on how it's used...profiling's use is probablistic in nature- it tells us (ideally inductively, I think,) that somebody is more likely to fit this or that set of attributes and so we are prepared to respond accordingly. A lot of people tend to jump the gun and this slightly more subtle point tends to get lost in a bunch of knee-jerks.
     
  7. vicki2

    vicki2 New Member

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    Profiling, to me, is nothing more than using statistics and logic to come up with an answer ...or suspect in the case of crime. Statistical information isn't just gathered out of thin air so I don't see why we should ignore it for the sake of hurting someone's feelings.
     
  8. berlinlife06

    berlinlife06 New Member

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    I don't think they are bad, because after all, that's what actually identifies most of the time a certain group. I think it is bad to follow stereotypes in our personal relationships. I think as a person I should do more to know about someone else before puting them under a clasification. But in general, and as a government, I think stereotyping is probably safer.
     
  9. mtatum4496

    mtatum4496 New Member

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    As I had written earlier, stereotypes can be helpful as a place to begin. However, I think it is important to remember that a sterotype may be mightly popular, but still be fifty years out of date. Certainly there are a number of sterotypes that were much more accurate fifty years ago than they are today. Yet some would want to continue to see those as the "norm" for the sector of the population cited and do their level best to fit people into that role, regardless of any facts to the contrary.

    In short, even as we evaluate whether a stereotype fits an individual, we may also need to consider whether or not a stereotype is still relevant to identify common traits of the population group in question.
     
  10. mamab

    mamab New Member

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    The thing with stereotypes, as far as I can see, is that they most likely are no longer valid, and putting that stereotype on everyone of that race, background, ethnicity, etc. is damaging. I think, however, that society has perpetuated the stereotypes, particularly with older movies, therefore those stereotypes are hard to break out of, regardless if they're accurate or not.
     
  11. vicki2

    vicki2 New Member

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    If they're accurate, should they be broken out of? I don't think so. I'm going with statistics!
     
  12. dong

    dong New Member

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    We're dancing around the ifs here!
     
  13. vicki2

    vicki2 New Member

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    I don't think I'm that iffy about this. I think the statistics prove that in the case of crime some stereotyping is dead right. Insofar as general stereotyping of ethnic grouips, I don't do that. Well, I do like blonde jokes.
     
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