Social Sciences

Start Free Trial

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!

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

 

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.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

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.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team