20/20: Stereotyping

Is it human nature to stereotype?

This video encourages the discussion of Jewish values as they relate to contemporary culture. Jewlarious does not endorse any particular film.


Comments (13)

(12) charles bloom, January 17, 2013 12:18 AM

INDIVIDUALITY IS A GREAT THING

CONFORMITY IS A DANGEROUS HABIT.

(11) Adrienne, June 2, 2008 2:14 PM

value of laughter

The value of laughing at stereotypes is
that we recognize their untruth. Laughing is more like scoffing at them but it is also recognizing good naturedly that there are harmful elements to them that need to be voiced in order to diffuse the tension they create. However, there are those who honestly believe stereotypes and they may use them to reinforce their hatred of all that is different from themselves. I think the bottom line here is intention, hateful or jovial and therefore ironic.

Chai, May 31, 2013 2:57 AM

Be true to yourself

Stereotypes are a logical, natural thought process that is essential to human survival. To walk over to a large imposing black man in Bed-Sty is unintelligent, and if that is considered racist, so be it. Its those who make false stereotypes who are using this natural tendency of "CATEGORIZATION" wrongly. But that doesn't make it inherently wrong.

(10) Glen, May 29, 2008 12:09 PM

They work

People have a tendency to generalize because those generalizations serve a purpose. It is one of the ways we think. Rudolf Flesch in 1952 book "The Art of Clear Thinking" talks about how we form concepts. Usually it is a reflection of social and family environment. Take for instance the concept of "dog" as Flesch talks about in his book. The concept of dog is not only a generalization but it is a stereotype. Stereotypes are generalizations. All concepts are generalizations and therefore stereotypes.

Some are good and some bad. The reason that people use them is because they work on some level for some reason. It is the underlying assumptions that can be harmful. The "bad" stereotypes are those that don''t work except to make one look superior and the other look inferior. Without concepts (stereotypes) we would have a much harder time communicating. Using generalization with some specificity is helpful in any communication but some communication can be hurtful. Hurtful communication that is a statement as fact without the possibility of change is bad stereotyping.

Glen

(9) Anonymous, May 29, 2008 4:17 AM

THINK! OUTSIDE, THE BOX! (sometimes)

(8) cynthia, May 22, 2008 10:01 AM

The real question.

To ask if it is human nature to stereotype is a given, we all know it is. The real question is whether we should be able to talk openly about it and explore it. Open dialoge can ignite anger or resentment but more often it allows for education and the dismissing of falshoods. To deny that there is stereotyping does not make it go away it only deepens the mystery and misunderstandings.

(7) Daniel, May 22, 2008 6:36 AM

So, what?

We live in categories of stuff. Tables, flat panels, keyboards, sand, etc. We do not give names individually to each component (imagin calling each grain of salt table by a name!) I do not like jalapeños. Not a specific jalapeño, but all of them. It is not a crime, and if I say I despise them it is not a crime, nor politically incorrect.

So... why people should be different? I do not like people that smell bad. That is a category, it defines a quality. Many cannot trust people that they cannot identify (some Asians look all similar to me).

It is human nature to categorize people and assign them moral values or judge their qualities, or in more modern terms to stereotype, and use that as a prima facie evaluation.

We cannot fight it, but we can educate our children (Sons? Daugthers?)that it is OK (and desirable) to be different, and that individual people can only be judged when you know them individually, and then recognize when they are assigning values based on stereotype.

(6) Mitvah, May 21, 2008 3:55 PM

Wise statement

"Impatient explorers find little boxes to put their experiences in".

(5) Dvirah, May 21, 2008 9:12 AM

OK But

Sterotyping is a kind of mental shorthand. While it remains a general comment of observed fact, it does no harm, but it can be harmful if we use sterotypes to make judgements.
Since it is natural to sterotype, rather than feel guitly, we should just remain aware of two provisos: (1) this is a generalization, and so may not be true of any particular individual. Observe before catagorizing! (2)Don''t hang a value judgement on your sterotype. It may be demonstratable that a member of some given race is likely to have a particular talent. But this is neither "good" nor "bad" in itself: the value comes from the use any individual makes of that talent - and it is particular to that individual, not to the whole race.

(4) Raquel de Almeida, May 21, 2008 8:06 AM

society is not a melting pot

We are several groups of people of different colours, faiths and customs living together and being taught mutual respect. For a Muslim to poke fun at Jews is bad taste, for a white man tell black jokes is racism, for men to say that women can''t drive is call mysoginism and so on. I guess there is a thin line between stereotyping and open displays of phobia towards other groups.!! Malicious or innocent fun it must be understood that it will provoke and inflamme.

(3) charles richman, May 21, 2008 6:30 AM

Justifying racial, religious, ethnic, sexual stereotypes is dangerous in what it teaches.

When we stereotype people we deny their individuality. We reinforce notions about how people should behave in situations and we question why thay don''t behave in the stereotypic manner. 1. We not only form our images and attitudes of an individual based on the stereotype we have formed about her/his group affiliation, but our behaviors toward these individual are modified by our group stereotypes.
2. We transmit our stereotypes to our children and other youth when we use stereotypic language. We might innocently repeat a stereotypic language, but they pick up on these messages. As Aboud found 20 years ago group biases and the ''isms'' begin to develop as early as 3 years of age.
3. Stereotype Threat (Steele) is when stereotypes are so threatening that children and adults who are stereotyped begin to believe, identify with, and be live the stereotype. Their lives are now shaped around the stereotype. For example, when a particular racial category of children are stereotyped as intellectual inferior many of those children underachieve to unconsciously validate the stereotype.
4. There is no distiction between the damage done by so-called good vs. bad stereotyping. When certain ethnic groups are of children are stereotyped as intellectually superior to others it places an undue emotional burden on both children and parents. For example, The mother sees her child''s grade becomes completely upset because her son "Dljfoi" was awarded an A-, not an A. or when a particular racial group of children who are stereotyped as "born" athletes and there is an individual from that group who is a poor athlete, many others question the individual as being odd, unattractive, not one of us, etc. and this can be hurtful.
Anyway you look at it group stereotyping is harmful.

(2) Anonymous, May 19, 2008 9:57 PM

Fact *or* Fiction

Just as science is proving - through brain scans, MRI''s, etc. - that men ARE different than women (duh), there are clear differences between people (nationalities). To stereotype is facing up to the facts. To hate ANYONE for their G-d given trait is bigotry. The two should never be confused.

The Bible is full of references to the traits/midot of the nations. Eisav: "by your sword you will live." Yishmael: "Pera adam . . . " Is the Bible guilty of some crome called stereotyping? I think not. Eisav couldn''t accept the Torah because it said, "you shall not kill." Yishmael couldn''t accept the Torah because it said, you shall not steal." Bigotry? No. The Torah also teaches that ALL mankind were created in the image of G-d.

(1) Rosen, May 18, 2008 8:25 PM

stereotyping is easier than to perceive individuality

Stereotyping is all to often easier than focusing on one''s individuality. The common stereotypical statement is, "when you''ve seen one __________, you''ve seen them all!"

Prejudice will probably always be around, especially with such programs inflaming them such as South Park and the Sarah Silverman Program and her movie "Jesus is Magic".

 

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