By: Celeste Duran
Disclaimer: This is an opinion piece solely by the author.
The old nerd, jock, and prep names are still affecting today’s high schoolers.
Some people may have noticed that stereotyping was not a thing in the past but present problem, but more people don’t know about than you realize. Stereotyping is another form of bullying, and is creating a problem. Many people ask why do we, humans stereotype people and can it be harmful as people say it is? The answers to these questions are more simple than you think
I personally don't think stereotyping is as harmful as people make it seem. I think to a certain extent it's acceptable, but there is always a limit. After passing the limit it becomes rude and disrespectful . “In some cases it is, but if you're not saying anything bad or not talking behind someone's back it's not,” said Marianna Navarrete Arteaga, who I agree with to an extent. According to Teen Ink, magazines, books, and articles made for teens, it has been proven that not all stereotypes are bad, but can help out people to asses a situation. It is used to make sense of the world around us. I think it is okay to stereotype people when you feel you are in danger and you are in a place where you are well aware of the area. For an example, in a school setting if you feel like someone is rude to you and he knows a lot of people because he is in sports, you can tell other people he is a jerk jock. I find that perfectly acceptable and some people agree with me. Marianna Ortega stated, “Yes, because he was rude to me and I wouldn't care how that affects him.”
Some people stereotype people based on their apparel. It can be used in both good and bad ways. For an another school example, if you see someone wearing super fancy clothes and has an expensive gold watch, you can say that their parents are well off . This is sometimes not true because some teenagers steal items and money to look like they are well off but they are not. But other times when it is true, it is because people buy what they can afford which, in this situation, is fancy clothes. Good parents always want is what best for their child, so they get the best of everything for them. Another example of this can be if someone is wearing rags or wears the same clothes all the time,one can assume that they are poor and in need of help. However, this isn’t necessarily true, The latest fashion trends prove otherwise. People like Justin Beiber, have been seen ripped up baggy jeans, a trucker hat, and an old looking oversized sweater. Some people like Shelby Barillas disagree with me “I don’t agree with the stereotype at all and it’s not okay either”.
Now for the million dollar question, why do humans stereotype people? It is in human nature to stereotype things so we know if we are safe. According to research done by professor Wim De Neys of Leuven University in Belgium, the part of the brain that detects stereotypes lights up when ever people were asked a question based on a stereotype. His research found that we all detect stereotypes and rational the same, so it really is not our faults that we find ourselves to stereotype because our brains can not realize it. Other research has been done by “20/20” and it has proved that stereotyping starts a young age and is close to inevitable. There is no doubt that stereotyping is a human thing that is very hard to avoid from the beginning.
Many people say stereotyping is bad no matter what. There are quite a bit of people who disagree with me and say that it is harmful to people and that they never stereotyped people. Such as Jaiden Aparicio who stated, “There really isn't a way to make stereotyping okay, because it downgrades someone who should be praised”. It is true that stereotypes can downgrade someone, but not all stereotypes have that same effect. Stereotypes can praise someone who deserves no praise or little to no praise at all. One example is when you see someone with a handsome face at school and you automatically assume that they are a well-rounded person. This stereotype obviously praises the person you saw in the example, but in reality this person is really rude to his family and his classmates. Praise can a problem to stereotypes, but it is not the main problem. There is obviously still harm in stereotypes. An example might be when a police officer sees a broad and built black man they think that he must be in a gang or that he committed some kind of crime. That is the typical problem with stereotypes and why they are seen as horrible, no good things, but not all stereotypes are bad and could actually help people out. One example is that you are a hall monitor and see someone with a black hoodie on and he is running swiftly through the slow moving crowd in the halls. He goes outside and just waits there for 20 minutes until you approach him and you see some little baggies. You think that he is selling drugs on campus so you tell the principal and security officer what you saw. They conduct a search and find that in his locker was drugs. Your stereotype of him worked well in finding the felon selling drugs at school, so not all stereotypes leads to bad things they are meant to help you survive out in the world with your known knowledge.
There is definitely more research out on the psychology of stereotypes and the science behind it, but to get the gist of it is that the brain mixes up what stereotypes and rational thinking and says they are both stereotyping. It starts at a young age and no one can avoid it. It plays a key role in fitting in with social groups and surviving the unknown.
Seeing the evidence can change most people’s ideas about the badness of stereotyping, but many people will still stick to their view on it. Jaiden Aparicio is one the people who really stick to their gut when it comes to debates like this. Jaiden stated, “We stereotype people because it is an easy way to meet them without actually recognizing who they are as a person.”
Editor Board, 2017-2018
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