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The impact of stereotyping can not be underestimated. It has major impacts on literary every aspect of human lives especially those who are stereotyped. This paper examines the impact of stereotyping on people. The paper makes use of research work already carried out by research in this field of psychology. Care is taken to ensure the materials used are credible and the information presented is credible.
According Greene and Burleson (2003), stereotype can be defined as, “abstract knowledge structures linking a social group to a set of traits or behavior characteristics” (p. 331).They further explain that these traits are applied to a particular social group which can be African Americans, Women, Italians, youths. Stereotyping has been known to affect a number of aspects of human life. According to Greene and Burleson (2003), stereotyping can affect responses to one gets in the course of communicating with others. Stereotyping has a perpetual effect in that it creates a memory picture of a given social group. The individuals who are stereotyped may act in a compensating manner that may bring out negative relations between the two people who are relating (Greene and Burleson, 2003).
According to Roviere (2003), stereotyping is more than just associating certain people with a given trait or characteristic: “the process through which we, either voluntarily or unconsciously, attach certain expectations or traits to a person” (par. 1). However he warns that, “When we begin treating people differently based on particular stereotypes (such as race or gender), we cross the line from what we might consider to be harmless into something much worse: racism, sexism, and the like” (Roviere, par. 1). Though stereotyping might be based on some truth and it might be justified by referring to statistics, it should be noted that stereotyping often leads to big mistakes being made because of generalizing everybody in a given social group with having some specific characters which often leads to wrong interpretation being made (Roviere, 2003).
Stereotyping has often led to conflicts because of the stand that people basing on the stereotype character that is imposed on others. It should be noted that in such cases everybody sees himself as correct and the person being stereotyped as wrong:
These stereotypes tend to be self-perpetuating. If one side assumes the other side is deceitful and aggressive, they will tend to respond in a similar way. The opponent will then develop a similar image of the first party, and the negative stereotypes will be confirmed. They may be growing worse, as communication is shut down and escalation heightens emotions and tension. (University of Colorado par. 1)
Stereotyping has often being referred to as the process of, “the dehumanizing process [that] is necessary to feed the oppressors' sense of being justified and to alleviate the feeling of guilt” (Roviere, 129). This process makes the victim have the belief that stereotype is true and as a result the oppression seems to be justified somehow.
Generally speaking stereotyping can be said to have both the negative and positive impacts on individuals and the society at large. In most cases the people who are stereotyped are the ones on the losing end because they seem to be pushed to a given corner of some characteristics some of which might not be true though some might be. According to a research carried out by Aronson and Steele, it has been shown that stereotyping has some psychological effect on the people who are stereotyped. In the context of the USA the African American people are generally affected because of the many stereotypes associated with them most of which have negative implications on them. It has been shown that personal attributes are prone to be compromised because of being stereotyped. It is argued that psychologically competence is highly responsive to situations and interactions with others. This implies that a person will be impacted negatively if the interaction is such that it associates negative impacts with the people who are stereotyped. This is often the reason for people who are stereotyped being quite defensive because they are psychologically set to defend themselves against the values which have been heaped on them (Aronson and Steele, 1995).
The effect of stereotyping has the effect of blocking one from performing at the optimum level. At times though, it can be argued that this as well can as a catalyst to increase the performance of people. Research has shown that stereotyping of individuals generally has the ability to make individuals emulate the stereotypes as the correct way of behaving. It is said that the negative effects of stereotyping individuals may take time to manifest it but as time goes by the stereotyped individuals tends to display self-filling prophecy. It should be appreciated that stereotyping reminds those who are stereotyped of how the society views them. It lingers in the minds as a constant remind of certain facts they may not wish to identify with. Arguing from this point it should be appreciated that stereotyping has an overall negative impact on the stereotyped. Apart from the immediate impact that stereotype has on the individuals who are stereotyped, there are other long term effects that stereotyping can on the society. This may likely impact negatively on the future generations to come and probably will take years to correct (Aronson and Steele, 1995).
A stereotype developed in the present time will likely affect the culture for generations. for instances if African Americans are assumed to be lazy in the present time the forwarding of that stereotype over generations will lead to African Americans being denied jobs in the future generations because it would be assumed that they are not hardworking. Another in which such can occur is associating a given social group with being dull in carrying out some duties, for instance women more often than not are associated with being not good performers in mathematics. This will likely as time goes by affect the way growing girls will be viewing the subject of mathematics. The media has been viewed on a negative light as pertains to the stereotyping.
Today’s media is responsible for digging up the past and bringing it up to the present time. For instance, “media awareness” argues that, “Disney’s Peter Pan may be a new take on an old tale, but its stereotyping of Indians as cruel and malicious, with their articulation reduced to "ugh" and their dress to loincloths, is as strong as ever” (Par. 2). Such kind of refreshing of old tales keeps the stereotyping going strong and in real essence affect the social group which is affected. Such kinds of refreshing are arguably not in the best interest of the future generations, “Consider the impression left when they (this refers to the young Aboriginal people on the above portrayal) see themselves portrayed this way time and time again. It’s hard for them to have a positive image of themselves” (Media awareness, par. 5)
The media has been implicated with having enormously big influence in enhancing the impact that stereotyping has on the society. For the instance “media awareness” (2009) argues that the negative portrayal of early Aboriginal people is most likely having negative impact on the current aboriginal people who might associate passiveness, aggressiveness and drunkenness with the aboriginal people. The media, it has been argued, should strive to portray people in a positive way being the biggest single influence on the youth (Media awareness, 2009).
It is recommended that people should avoid treating everybody as a group. This generalization has the effect of assigning characters and values to people in a wrong manner. Generalization often will lead to wrong interpretation of people’s views and underestimation of their potential. To avoid such from happening, it will be important for people to be treated individually. People need to be sensitized on the negative impact of stereotyping people. This will be of great importance as it will help in reducing the negative impacts on people who are stereotyped especially the young people. It will also be important because the future generation will not have a vague picture of their past as depicted by the stereotypes.
Stereotyping has been defined as the linking of a given social group to some se t of character traits. Further clarifications have implicated stereotyping with expecting voluntarily or unconsciously certain traits from some social groups. Stereotyping has often led to people having conflicts. It has been argued that generalization in stereotyping has led to negative effects especially when individuals are judged according to a given group to which they belong. Stereotyping has often led interference of performance in cases where people are stereotyped to be poor performers. This often occurs because of psychologically being set in such a manner. This especially can impact negatively young growing people who may develop a wrong attitude towards themselves because of the way they are stereotyped. The media has been implicated to play an influential part in enhancing stereotyping in the society. This has been accomplished through the use of media programs which depict certain social groups with having some certain traits.