Stereotypes

dis­cussing stereo­types has result­ed in the fol­low­ing con­clu­sions.

Crit­i­cal Assump­tions:

  1. Stereo­types are false.
  2. Stereo­types are neg­a­tive.
  3. Stereo­types are exter­nal­ly imposed.

Stereo­types are nei­ther false nor true, but are the result of the ossi­fi­ca­tion of val­ue judg­ments into appar­ent facts. Quite often the foun­da­tion of the stereo­type lies with­in fact (ex: a woman is usu­al­ly found in the home, cook­ing, rais­ing chil­dren, etc.) now, while this is not true for all women, it has in the past been true of most women, there­fore it is based in fact. How­ev­er when the state­ment becomes ‘A woman’s place is in the home’ a stereo­type has appeared. Why? A val­ue judg­ment has been made. ‘A woman’s place is in the home’ is actu­al­ly say­ing that the prop­er place for a woman (also improp­er for a man) is in the home. It is a state­ment of what ought to be, not nec­es­sar­i­ly what is. This val­ue cod­i­fi­ca­tion into fact ignores the real­i­ty of change in roles and asso­ci­a­tions. The val­ue judg­ment inher­ent in a stereo­type is what makes it false, because val­ues are sub­jec­tive.

Stereo­types are neg­a­tive. Well, most peo­ple agree with this, but there are exam­ples of stereo­types that are embraced. The Amer­i­can cow­boy for exam­ple. Rugged indi­vid­u­al­ism, on the fron­tier, Man­i­fest Des­tiny, a chance to make good, and the auton­o­my pos­ses­sion of a gun and the knowl­edge of its use entails, all offer an appeal­ing exam­ple of the Amer­i­can ide­al. Peo­ple latch on to this roman­ti­cized image, because of the stereo­typ­ing, even though the actu­al life of a cow­boy was very lit­tle like the west­ern por­trays it. per­haps the con­tem­po­rary exam­ple is how peo­ple adapt them­selves to fit a cer­tain image be it tech­no-geek, euro-punk, scrawny-mod­e­lesque or what have you. Unfor­tu­nate­ly an image is just that, not real­i­ty. so we live as stereo­types. Peo­ple see them­selves with­in a type and embrace that. I feel that the need to do so is fun­da­men­tal­ly neg­a­tive how­ev­er.

All that leads to the dis­cus­sion of exter­nal impo­si­tion. While the val­ue judg­ment of the stereo­type is cre­at­ed exter­nal­ly (ex: Irish stereo­types of vio­lence, drunk­en­ness, etc. were cre­at­ed by the British dur­ing col­o­niza­tion) the peo­ple these judg­ments are applied to must either ignore them and hope they go away (inef­fec­tive) or inter­nal­ize them and adapt. This inter­nal­iza­tion can have two major effects. The stereo­typed group/person can live with it. Or use the stereo­type as a weapon to fight itself. (ex: some rap that uses nig­ger in a way that throws its loaded sig­nif­i­cance right back into the faces of white suprema­cist cap­i­tal­ist patri­archy). It takes alot of courage to be able to do this, quite often it can back­fire.

I’m sure i’ve just writ­ten that loaded with val­ue judg­ments, so i’m stereo­typ­ing stereo­types. hyp­ocrite!