By Hanh Nguyen, Emma Willard School “ I live bigger than your labels.” ― Rachel Fershleiser, I Can't Keep My Own Secrets: Six-Word Memoirs by Teens, Famous & Obscure In a society where there are certain expectations for certain groups of people, stereotypes are more typically used more than you think. Many times we tend to stereotype someone and assume things too quickly without really knowing them. This is mainly because many of us have had stereotypes etched in our heads from the very start, and also we are stereotyped as well frequently making us think that it is fully acceptable. Some examples include but are not limited to, “Irish people like to drink and eat potatoes”. “Asians are really smart”. “Wearing all black is gothy”. Many told us. There are so many more you may recall and well, you may think to seem harmless but, they actually hurt more than help these groups of people when stereotyping them this certain way. Like, let me exemplify by taking the stereotype that “Asians are really smart”. That statement right there may seem harmless, or even like a compliment to that race of people at first, but if you really think about it, it is implying that all Asians basically have to fit the standard of being smart/intelligent. This negatively makes Asians pressured to be “really smart”, and pushes them to conform to that standard. As an Asian myself, I can vouch for that for a lot of my life I’ve heard that stereotype repeatedly said and it has affected me on a personal level. Feeling like I’ve always had to reach this high bar that was set for me because of certain expectations/stereotypes like that in this society has made me feel honestly at some points overwhelmed. I always felt that I wasn’t able-minded enough to reach it. Discussing with many of my fellow Asians made me realize that they actually felt a similar way, that they always had to comply with the standards and the stereotypes given to them by the rest of the world. It also made me realize that stereotypes are quite more toxic than I originally thought. That may be, they weren’t as harmless as they were believed to be. Okay, so stereotypes are bad… what should we do about it? Well first, obviously, we should try to stop stereotyping people. Although it’s not easy, like most things, we must educate ourselves and others. Quite frankly, that was a very generic statement so I’ll specify the broad terms in it. You must mainly learn more about the groups of stereotyped people, why they are, and how they are stereotyped. You could do things like research/read about certain groups that are being stereotyped to understand more deeply about them, unfocusing on the generalized beliefs about them given by society. Another thing you could do is to talk to multiple people, face to face, that are a part of a commonly stereotyped group, asking them about the certain stereotypical expectations given to them and whether they’re sort of or not accurately associated with them. Though there are many other methods, those are a few ways that are at least in my experience were helpful to educate myself and will likely be to you. There are really endless ways to educate ourselves and others nowadays that can really help us learn more about…. almost anything! The good, the bad, and both of things. And remember, we basically all are guilty of stereotyping someone either in our heads or out loud, and that’s okay! We all make mistakes because we are all humans. We can change for the better and we can end the stigma of stereotypes once and for all! image credits: Melissa Ling. Thought Co.
Give Us Your Feedback
Share your feedbacks to us!