stereotypesDo you think others stereotype you because of your heritage- or because of your age, your gender, your dress, or where you live?
Absolutely. I have probably been stereotyped according to every one of your examples. I am 6'4 and weigh 250 pounds, so some people are intimidated by my size. As a native Southerner, many Northerners probably have their own unsubstantiated views; but as a Southerner with no real accent, many other Southerners wonder if I'm from California or New York (God forbid). When I travelled in Europe while George Bush was President, the Dutch and Germans I met would condemn me, assuming that as an American, I must have voted for Bush. I had to explain that not all Americans were that foolish, and that I had not voted for his brother, Jeb (Florida's governor) either. Now that I am in my mid-50s, the age stereotype probably bothers me most.
I think all of us have experienced stereotyping at some point in our lives. I know I have certainly experienced differential treatment based on stereotypes. It is part of human nature to judge others based on appearance. We should try to fight this urge and remind ourselves that appearances can be deceiving, but it is ingrained in our nature. I don't know that we, as a society, will ever completely do away with stereotyping. It is just an unfortunate part of life.
Without doubt, we have all been stereotyped in various ways and we all stereotype those around us. It's part of the way human beings think and organize information to try to group similar ideas into categories, and it works the same with people. Stereotypes are not automatically bad or negative - they may simply be methods to help keep groups of people connected with each other in our memories.
My guess is that my students see a short, cute, preppy middle aged English teacher and assume that I take my subject very seriously. Students always seemed surprised by how irreverent and sarcastic I can be, even about my favorite books! The stereotype actually works in my favor because it keeps them on their toes.
The main stereotyping I get is because of my skin color and my last name. Everyone assumes I'm Hispanic so I get phone calls in Spanish and I get people talking to me in Spanish on the street. I've learned enough to get by, but real Hispanics think I'm one of those people who's ashamed of his heritage.