Group Associated Stereotypes
I think that most group stereotypes are negative but this is not always the case. They can often take a morsel of truth and point it out to simplify a few negative points from which to wrongly view the total picture. I remember a phrase which I do not know who the author is yet it says, “Things we do not understand we learn to fear, things we fear we learn to hate, and things we hate we seek to destroy”. I believe often stereotypes are used to invoke fear or dislike which can promulgate acts of discrimination. I found a quote on stereotypes that stated, “A ‘stereotype’ is a generalization about a person or group of persons. We develop stereotypes when we are unable or unwilling to obtain all of the information we would need to make fair judgments about people or situations. In the absence of the total picture, stereotypes in many cases allow us to fill in the blanks. Our society often innocently creates and perpetuates stereotypes, but these stereotypes often lead to unfair discrimination and persecution when the stereotype is unfavorable” (Grobman, 1990).
I will address the following stereotypes of Politicians, the Religious Right, Tattooed Persons, and Feminists. I had some of my own Politicians stereotypes such as they were liars and did little good but to keep things the way it is. I know by reflection that this is not totally true. There are politicians that work for change. The following are some quotes I found on Politicians stereotypes. “Politicians never keep their promises” (Capitol Wire, Inc., 2003). The “politician-as-weathervane stereotype: this sees politicians as people without principles, adjusting their policies to events, changing even their public personae to make them more acceptable to the voters, ready to abandon any long-term aims they may happen to have in order to maintain themselves in office. In addition, this could be a politician who, lacking convictions of his own, is prepared to trim his sail to whatever wind happens to be prevailing, concerned only to stay in office” (Klein, 1972). I believe that this group holds an image that is fairly the same to most individuals. Even if someone believes that a party they support is upstanding. The view of the opposing group follows the politicians’ negative stereotypes. The issue is not so much are they there but are they true and constructive in meaningful dialogue.
The next group of stereotypes is about the Religious Right. The following are some quotes on Religious Right stereotypes, “media-driven stereotypes about the religious right wanting to impose its views often by force or coercive laws” (Colson, 2005). I think that this view could invoke a different view depending on one’s religious leanings or political stance. It could be taken positively if one is a Christian conservative and negative by most others that does not hold Christian conservative values. As an atheist leftist, I do not hold Christian conservative values so I need to make sure that I am seeing what is true with as little bias as possible, thinking are my stereotypes is about the Religious Right true and constructive in meaningful dialogue.
The next group is Tattooed Persons stereotypes. I know I have a close experience here since I have 18 tattoos on my chest, arms, and back. People think because I have tattoos I am mean, a biker, gang member, been in jail, am untreatable, have no morals, and on drugs. The following are some quotes I found on Tattooed Persons stereotypes, “Because the people who have gotten tattooed share a common knowledge that others outside the group–people without tattoos–have no access to. Instead, these outsiders have to draw from a pool of preconceived notions about this folk group, including notions about drug use, being a member of a gang, or some other deviant aspect about them. Unclean denotes something negative and dirty, and tattoos are thought of by many in this same way, usually by people without tattoos” (Rothenberg, 1996). I believe that someone with a good tattoo is a creative person and is often expanded in their thinking on issues. Tattooed Persons stereotypes are positive to other tattooed people, and negative mainly to those without tattoos. Again the emphasis should be not so much are Tattooed Persons stereotypes there but are they true and constructive in meaningful dialogue.
The next group is Feminists Stereotypes. I know I have a close experience here since I feel I am a feminist and I am a great supporter of women’s rights and value. I believe that as a man (actually a genderqueer, intersex, male) I can be a feminist because I highly believe and support feminism. My view of feminist stereotypes is people who are usually women but others like me as well which believe and support female value, equality and rights. I know others hold different feminists’ stereotypes and the following are some quotes which I found. “Lesbians and man-haters are often categorized within the feminist concept. There are indeed many lesbians who are feminists. Does that mean that every single lesbian is a feminist or that every single feminist is a lesbian? Some feminists do not feel favorably towards men or others not cis women. But in no way do all feminists wish men harm, nor do they hate them. There are many different beliefs within any ideology no different for feminism. Another general stereotype of a feminist is that they do not shave or wear makeup. There are some feminists that believe and others do not believe that they need to simply buys into society’s stigmas and guidelines of what is considered feminism or what some feminists do” (White, M. 2006). Feminists stereotypes can be positive to other feminists or those that share in their ideologies, and negative to those without who are usually men with dominant masculine leanings or those that fear or dislike women empowerment or some other reason.
Language and Rhetoric Used
Stereotypes come from mostly divergent language strategies which possess fractions of truth to globalize belief in their rhetoric. The stereotypes contain strategies to minimalize the positive value and replace it with negative caricatures. The following theme started to emerge which is if you are a member of the stereotype group, you hold positive leanings towards that group. In most cases, it did not matter if the stereotype caricatures were positive, negative, or both. In some cases, the language and rhetoric have a strong impact on internalized belief as demonstrated in the Senior Citizens stereotypes.
Now, I see the importance to keep in mind is thought development and its high sense of over emotionalism which produces a deficient logic. I can fall into a maelstrom of non-subjective assertions that I start to believe and that hold truth without evaluation. I believe that just blindly taking on one side of an issue as truth is poorly conceived. It lacks the cognitive tests which requires judgment to come to a precise logical standing that is worthy upon critical reflection. By identifying the stereotypes, I am able to see my own falsities and thus those employed by others. I can cut away the mumblings of unwarranted stereotypes to ascertain the truth. This broader contemplation of the facts compared to deficient acceptance of stereotypes will help me in my decision making. This explains why there is an importance in getting a balanced diet of facts and utilizing them to ascertain nutrient rich truth from unfortified innuendos and scare tactics. “When people become angry or afraid, they don’t think clearly” (Moore, & Parker, 2007).
Lastly, by producing healthy critical thinking requires a higher level of attention to all aspects of an argument. In turn, this must be explored from what is said, how it is said, who is saying it, what words are used, and what the motivation is. Now see my own personal thinking and attitude variable structure of stereotyping. It is easier for me to hold positive stereotypes with groups that I am involved and hold negative stereotypes of groups that I am not associated with. Which brings me back to the issue is not so much are negative stereotypes there but are they true and constructive in meaningful dialogue.
By Damien Marie AtHope
Capitol Wire, Inc., (2003). Promises, promises. Retrieved from Franklin & Marshall College Web site: http://www.fandm.edu/x3989.xml
Colson, C. (2005). Commentary: A winsome witness in the public square. Retrieved from Crosswalk.com Web site: http://www.crosswalk.com/news/1371876.html
Grobman, G. M. (1990). Stereotypes and prejudices. Retrieved from A Cybrary of the Holocaust Web site: http://www.remember.org/guide/History.root.stereotypes.html
Klein, R. (1972). Ministering to Britain. Commentary, 53(2), Retrieved from http://www.commentarymagazine.com/Summaries/V53I2P80-1.htm
Moore, B. & Parker, R. (2007). Critical Thinking. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Rothenberg, K. (1996). Tattooed people as taboo figures in modern society. Retrieved from Dozer’s Custom Tattoo’s Web site: http://www.dozta2.com/stories.html
White, M. (2006). Feminist stereotypes. Retrieved from California State University, Fullerton Web site: http://hss.fullerton.edu/womens/news/mwhite.htm