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Do stereotypes about groups still exist today? And which stereotypes does Richard...

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scorpius | eNoter

Posted February 3, 2011 at 7:14 PM via web

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Do stereotypes about groups still exist today? And which stereotypes does Richard Wright have about people and things in society?

1)Create a display board depicting stereotypes that still exist today about any groups (blacks, whites, immigrants, the poor, the wealthy, women, men, politicians, lawyer, teachers, teenagers, etc.) by collecting articles, drawings, cartoons, etc. dealing with stereotypes. Also, include personal examples to explain how stereotypes help/hinder you, your community and society in general.

2)Write about two stereotypes that Richard Wright has about people and things in society. Does he overcome this mindset? Explain.

3)Write a two-page report describing two examples of stereotypes exemplified in literary works that impact characters. Do they overcome these stereotypes? Explain.

These are my English project, I don't get these questions, could someone explain them and show me how to do these?

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 4, 2011 at 8:18 AM (Answer #1)

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1)    A stereotype is a commonly held belief about the characteristics of a group of people.  For example, many people believe that all teenage boys are lazy and obsessed with video games.  Some people think all blond girls are dumb.  These are culturally reinforced ideas that are not true, but which come to mind when we first see a person.  You can find stereotypes in magazines, but you can also find them by typing the words into the image function of a search engine (such as images.google.com).

2)    Wright explores stereotypes about blacks, especially those that are poor and marginalized.  One stereotype he has is that whites will always discriminate against blacks.  Just as whites have stereotypes about blacks, this stereotype is not accurate.  Not all whites are racist.  Wright overcomes this stereotype by having more complex white characters.  Another stereotype Wright has is that black men are uneducated.  He also moves beyond this stereotype by demonstrating black men with intelligence and rich lives.

3)    You are probably reading Black Boy.  I will base my examples on that since you did not specify.  In some ways, Wright stereotypically presents himself as the typical poor young black man from the south who escapes to the north.  The book is also more complex though, because he overcomes the stereotypes whites have of him being uneducated and rising above his station.

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lprono | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted February 4, 2011 at 8:40 AM (Answer #2)

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Three big questions to answers. Stereotypes are still all around us; they help us to make sense of realities which we don't know directly or that we find threatening. Stereotypes make these groups irremediably other from what we are. The poor are lazy, Muslims are dangerous terrorists, black are over sexual, all the politicians are the same . . . these are just some examples.

Richard Wright challenged stereotypes about African Americans in his books. Yet, several critics have faulted him for relying on stereotypes himself. For example, fellow African American novelist James Baldwin faulted Wright for depicting characters which lacked psychological depth and credibility. More recent critics such as Henry Louis Gates defined the narrative voice in Black Boy - American Hunger and the character of Richard as a stereotype in the tradition of the Sidney Poitier's characters: they are exceptional individuals who stand out from the bleak mass of African American, the exception not the rule. These critics find Wright guilty of relying on the stereotype that defined African Americans are backward. In addition, feminist critics have pointed to the stereotypical notions of women in Wright's writings. They point out how female characters are either sexually aggressive or asexual; there is no credible in between.

As for the characters who are victims of stereotyping, Wright's books provide a lot of examples. In Native Son, for example, Bigger is victim of the idea that blacks are all rapiers and that they secretly covet white women.

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