Stereotypes:  are they right-wrong? True-false? Foolproof or foolish? Are many stereotypes racist or sexist?Please explain in much detail as you can. Thank you very much!

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besure77's profile pic

besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on


Stereotypes are qualities assigned to groups of people related to their race, nationality and sexual orientation, to name a few. Because they generalize groups of people in manners that lead to discrimination and ignore the diversity within groups, stereotypes should be avoided.

With this definition in mind I think that it is safe to say that stereotypes are wrong but unavoidable (foolproof). Every culture or subculture has pre-conceived notions of others whether they be right or wrong.

They can most definitely be racist and sexist as well. For example, there are stereotypes about women. One very popular stereotype about women is that they are poor drivers. The truth in this is that I am certain some women are poor drivers, but certainly not all.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Of course many stereotypes are racist or sexist because you cannot have a stereotype that is not at least somewhat offensive.  All stereotypes fail to treat people as individuals -- they treat them as just like everyone else in "their" group.

Are they right?  Are they true?  Of course they are to some extent, but only to some extent.  You cannot possibly have a stereotype that does not have a grain of truth.  For example, it would be pretty silly to have a stereotype that all white people can jump really high and dance really well.

But this does not mean that they are foolproof.  They may be true of some people from a group, but they are never true of all the people.

krishna-agrawala's profile pic

krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

Stereotypes refers to oversimplified, preconceived, and generalized beliefs about the members of a particular group of people.  At various times, for example, certain groups have been described as stingy, dumb, dishonest and so on. These judgments have often been confused with type of group such as racial, national, religious, gender based and professional.

Stereotyping result in people judging others on the basis of the perception of the group they belong to rather than on the study of the characteristics of the person. Thus stereotyping is also a form of prejudice.

An obvious problem of stereotyping is that they are widespread, which increases their credibility. This happens despite the fact that there may not be any truth in it or they may be irrelevant in a particular situation.

mkcapen1's profile pic

mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

Stereotypes are the way people classify others based on preconceived ideas.  It is hard to determine if they are correct or not.  Police detective use profiling which is a form of stereo typing.  However, statistically it works in their favor when it comes to catching bad guys.

As a citizen I find that stereo typing can hurt people.  If someone sees a large black man coming down the street towards them at night they are more likely to exhibit fear than f they see a large white man.  Every culture has stereo types. 

Stereotyping can be unfair.  I have a large black son who is like a kitten.  If he were walkig down the street at night he would most like;ly be expected to be dangerous but he is very sweet and would not hurt a fly. 

It is not as easy to get rid of stereo types as one thinks.  All my life I have worked hard not to stereo type people.  Yet, even in my own culture I have stereo types.  Having been ordained to marry a nice Jewish man I had a few dates with Jewish men who were dark very hairy and their nose hair grew to their upper lip, but as my grandmother exclaimed "They are doctors."  However, whenever anyone tried to fix me up with a blind date and told me he was Jewish I thought of the stereotype of the men I ahd dated.

I married a gentile and moved to Germany.  While there I met many blond haired Jewish men who had blue eyes and were from Israel.  Boy did my stereo type go ou the window.


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