How is society's perception of the greasers in The Outsiders as hoods unfair?

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Ponyboy laments about his terrible reputation and society's perception of him and his close friends, who reside on the poorer East Side and belong to the Greasers. Unlike most of the Greasers, Pony is intelligent, excels academically, and is a sympathetic individual. Pony's oldest brother, Darry , is also an...

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Ponyboy laments about his terrible reputation and society's perception of him and his close friends, who reside on the poorer East Side and belong to the Greasers. Unlike most of the Greasers, Pony is intelligent, excels academically, and is a sympathetic individual. Pony's oldest brother, Darry, is also an intelligent, accomplished young man, who gave up a college scholarship in order to work two jobs to take care of his younger brothers. Pony laments about his reputation and society's negative, unfair perception of him several times in the novel. Pony mentions that he feels like Pip from the classic novel Great Expectations and believes that it is unfair that he is "marked lousy" simply because of his appearance and association with the Greasers. Before the big rumble, Pony is upset about the fact that the only thing he has to be proud of is his greasy hair and tough reputation. Pony once again laments society's negative perception of him by saying,

"What kind of world is it where all I have to be proud of is a reputation for being a hood, and greasy hair? I don't want to be a hood, but even if I don't steal things and mug people and get boozed up, I'm marked lousy" (Hinton, 113).

Essentially, Ponyboy finds it unfair that he has a negative reputation and is misunderstood by the majority of society. He desperately wishes to be judged on his inherent, positive qualities and avoid discrimination based on his socioeconomic status and rough appearance. One of the predominant themes Hinton explores throughout her classic novel concerns the importance of withholding judgment and accurately perceiving others according to their actions and personality instead of their appearance and financial status.

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Society's perception of the greasers as hoods or juvenile delinquents is unfair, because this view is a hasty generalization, or a stereotype.  A hasty generalization or stereotyping occurs when a large group of people are labeled a certain way based on a small sample of that population; that percentage is too inadequate to form any sound conclusion. 

In The Outsiders, many of the characters, like Dally Winston, for example, embrace their juvenile delinquent status as a greaser.  Dally liked to boast about his police record and carefully cultivated his 'tough-guy' persona among the greasers; however, many other greaser boys were hard-working and serious like Ponyboy's brothers, Darry and Sodapop.  They may have lived on the poor East side, but their behavior did not match that of a juvenile delinquent.

Being called a greaser in The Outsiders was an unfair stigma, one that resulted from false and inaccurate stereotypes.

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