Posts Tagged ‘culture’

Combating the stereotype habit is just like any other tendency, or addiction. First you should understand how habits are constructed. Habits are just patterns followed repeatedly enough to where it’s almost second nature. It takes three characteristics to make up a habit; knowing how, knowing why, and having the drive to do so. If you can eliminate any one of these traits, you eliminate the habit.

If someone knows why people stereotype and wants to stereotype people, but doesn’t know how to stereotype, it’s not a habit.

If someone knows how to stereotype and wants to stereotype people, but doesn’t know why the do it, it’s not a habit.

If someone knows how and why they stereotype people, but they don’t want to, it’s not a habit.

I will be the first to admit that this is much more easily said than it is done. It is very hard to break people from the habit of stereotyping, just as it is for any other habit because it’s about reconditioning the mind to do something that took years to discipline itself into doing. However it is this simple and you can go about breaking the habit in different ways. You can counter any of the three with a new habit. Having to re-consider why something is done is an easy approach. Commonly, when people are exposed to new reasoning on “why”, they soon loose the drive to do something as well. The how and drive are the hard characteristics to topple, particularly the drive.

Even more, how do you break the habit of an entire nation and society? One theory that has proven effective is disaster. When 9/11 happened most people lost sight of what they saw in groups of people. Everyone lent a helping hand and pulled through the catastrophe. Most people lost sight of why and for a moment in history (until the blame game) people were united in an effort to help their fellow man and woman regardless of what they looked like. As beautiful as it was, it’s just not practical. We cannot have a catastrophe every month until the American people are conditioned. By then there simply wouldn’t be enough people to care.

In my opinion a more practicul start to the solution is attacking advertisers and the media. It sounds so rebellious but when you look at it, they play off the most stereotypes just to push what they’re offering on groups of people. Television networks like BET, Mtv, and LMN play on groups of people of race, age, and gender. Products and advertisers use ways to market toward people all the time. Is it me or is every product marketed towards African-Americans playing urban music in the background? It’s funny and holds some truth, like stereotypes, but look at how serious it is and it’s effectivness. I really hope I have shed some light on the subject and the small steps we can take toward helping the issue. It’s a shame America has so far to go in this struggle. My search for understanding on this subject is far from complete and if you feel I’m lacking in some of things I say, feel free to tell me.  Next time you have a chance, think of an ethnicity and what first comes to mind when you think of it, then talk to someone of the descent. It’s cool to see what you have in common in contrast to what you may already be conditioned to thinking.

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What problem can you think of that most people do but most people don’t do anything about? No, it’s not laughing when seniors drool. “Ill be short and sweet…lol…stereotypes!!!” was a topic suggested by a friend of mine so lets talk.

Stereotypes are used by just about everyone who doesn’t live under a rock both mentally and verbally. I say it’s one of the most talked about things but never acted upon because of the vast amount of people who use stereotypes everyday versus those who see it as deviance and doing something about it. It’s almost a new age taboo that’s become such a standard it falls shy of being an everyday commodity.

Stereotypes are harsh generalizations about an entire categorie of people. These  irrational views give people rigid views of groups of people when really there is no direct evidence that people of that categorie should share that generalized trait. Such views as white youth being prone to taking lives in retaliation to bullying or black youth being prone to stealing are so conditioned in society that it is often joked about and those who fall into the categories are exploited. This conditioning builds unwanted attention to anyone who outward appearance fits the description. This also allows for some to get away with deviance when they don’t fit the type by exploiting the idea of stereotypes.  There is also such a thing as positive stereotypes, where a particular group is seen as possessing a good trait among other groups. These stereotypes, such as people of asian descent being good at math or African Americans are better dancers, put an unwanted strain on someone who doesn’t fit the portrayal, or status quo.

Stereotypes, or prejudices, also leads to a scapegoating. Scapegoating is when people of a particular catagorie unfairly blame people of another catagorie for their own problems. Such as when people of lower middle and the working class may feel strain and notice financial change in their world, they may blame people on welfare or even immagrant workers for the strain on jobs and financial woes. It all traces back to those irrational views of a group of people.

So why do we do it so much? The answer is hierarchy (Short and sweet). Hierarchy simply is a system of rank in any society and stereotypes only help to inforce this idea. By enforcing that people in one categorie do one thing and people in another do differently creates a classification, or logical order, of everyone in society. For example, If people commonly agree that African Americans are lazy, what’s going to stop a future employer from turning someone of African descent down for a future job or referring him to a lower, more subordinating employment? If people commonly don’t see Euro-American males in business suits as thieves, what’s to stop a store owner from not watching the guy in the suit and paying attention to the working class Mexican shopping? Stereotypes form and invoke the structure of people’s standing and class in society. When some people have noticed the system, they play up or play down parts of their lives to stand apart from those who are seen as “fitting” the stereotypes.

So what can we do? I was struck recently when my uncle commented on one of blogs and said,”…What do you think of when I say the words “Apache-Indian”? Do you think Doctor, Lawyer, Businessman or Statesman? I would guess you don’t and I ask you to ask yourself why? Your answer is the key to truly understanding and fixing the problem…” It wasn’t until then that I realized the conditioning and habit society has with stereotypes. BUT I am a firm believer that habits can be broken….

Can you imagine an America being full of people who actually strive for the “American Dream”? Where most people finished high school and went on to college. Right now 25% of those who graduate high school go on to college,  that’s after all the dropouts. If the dropout rate drops and the college turnover rate were say 50% I think the world as we know it would explode.

Let’s dwell deeper into this apocalyptic theory. One in four dropout in the public school system so the graduation rate is about 75%. If the dropout rate were one in ten or 90% then what would happen to all the social problems in urban neighborhoods!? Without these dropouts turning to the streets for respect you would see a new level of boredom in America. Face it, without the next generation of “degenerates” who would carry on the legacy of crime and despair that happens in streets now. Our police officers would not be killed in the line of duty and would go back to just writing tickets and helping old ladies across the streets. Our media would have NOTHING to talk about. I cannot imagine turning on the TV and the news not reporting a crime but having something good to say… that’s ridiculous!

This also means that parents are involved in education and teachers are enthusiastic about their work and their students. We cannot allow this to happen. When teachers and parents get more involved with their children and students, the students feel more self worth. They have something to look ahead to in life. They broaden their horizons and we all know those kids shouldn’t have this. These parents cannot open up to the community. When that happens they become more involved and we all know a society with educated and informed people is a doomsday device.

If out of the nine and ten students that graduate 50% of them go to college, that’s where the apocalypse begins. For example, the average African American family makes about 65% of what the average Euro-American family makes (about 38,000 to 58,000 if I’m not mistaken). You mean to tell me if more African American students went on to college this gap would close? OH HELL NO! This would mean that not just African Americans but all groups of people would prosper. The average income of families would increase while crime and violence fall. The American culture would integrate diversity and the wealth and power in society would begin distribute itself evenly. What’s even scarier is these people who educate them selves and become diversified and aware of their society would have children and families who do the same thing!

Without social stratification the world would shatter. We thrive off of the uneducated and underprivileged in our society. We love turning on the news and reading newspapers only to see the top story being someone killed last night. We see it in the media everyday and it never gets old. If you ask me, it’s the perfect joke. We love to walk down the streets and ignore the bum begging for change because we know he has the same oppurtunity to better himself like we have, so screw him for his laziness. We love walking into Walmart to be greeted by the 40 year old who dropped out of school and being served in the Mc Donald’s by the woman with 3 kids. We cannot allow these people to be replaced by students working afterschool a couple hours to make some spending money or college students working for their books. It’s no fun!! We wont feel good because these people are bettering themselves and America can’t have that. This would pull those at the top of capitalist-bureaucratic pyramid closer to middle America. They cannot have the plan they set into motion fall apart in front of their eyes. We all helped in building this world and it feels good, so why shake things up now with an educated, informed, effective, and diverse society!?

My dreamworld is absolutely amazing place to be…

My dreamworld is full of people who are independent within themselves and live their lives through character and not personality

My dreamworld is full of people who recognize that growing together is a greater path to effectiveness

My dreamworld is full of people who find it easier to lend a helping hand rather than point the finger

My dreamworld is full of people who look at failure as opportunity to help and not condemn

My dreamworld is full of people who recognize society as a whole and not specs of cultures occupying a space

My dreamworld is full of people who do not compromise

In my dreamworld, I can walk down the street with someone of a different race holding hands and not be judged

In my dreamworld, I can walk down the street with someone of the same sex holding hands and not be hated

In my dreamworld, I can get a job based off of my skills and accomplishments and not my looks

In my dreamworld, I can send my child to public school and not worry about the quality of education

In my dreamworld, If you are from America, you are American, not a color or a statistic

In my dreamworld, we are united and we love it

In my dreamworld, American is an ethnicity

In my dreamworld, homosexuality is a preference and not deviance

In my dreamworld, skin color is just a biological trait and not a label

In my dreamworld, subculture is expression and isn’t frowned upon

In my dreamworld, people are heard and not just looked at

In my dreamworld, there is no majority or minority

The media in my dreamworld don’t make violence a commodity

The media in my dreamworld isn’t superficial

The media in my dreamworld isn’t in it just for the ratings

The media in my dreamworld isn’t lowbrow

The media in my dreamworld don’t underestimate the intelligence of people

The government in my dreamworld communicates

The government in my dreamworld is transparent

The government in my dreamworld is run by the people

The government in my dreamworld isn’t in corporate America’s back pocket

The government in my dreamworld don’t underestimate the intelligence of its people

My dreamworld is full of people who communicate on a more personal level. Everyone is involved in society and it makes society effective. We are welcoming of difference and we seek to understand, even when we do not agree. We do not reduce ourselves to accomplish anything. We are a collective people who can take responsibility for our problems and work together to solve it. My dreamworld is awesome, but to take from the great George Carlin “…you gotta be sleep to see it..”

I know I am not alone on this subject. To me, what allows for some of the prejudice and slant views of groups in society from others is when groups “claim” certain things as their own. Come on, nobody likes that kid on the playground that wouldn’t share his toys. With that said lets tackle Black History Month.

Black History month was started back in  the late 20’s by Carter G. Woodson, a historian. It began as “Negro History Week” and soon became “Black History Month”. The month of February was chosen because Abraham Lincoln(Feb 12th), our 16th president, and Frederick Douglass(Feb 14th), an abolitionist amoung other things. The purpose for Black History Month was to explore the history of blacks in society because Woodson and others alike saw that blacks were misrepresented, overlooked, and neglected as a functioning part of society. Blacks were often seen as slaves with descendants on the low end of the social scale according to history books, so Black History Month was seen to combat these views and show that blacks had more contributions to society.

I can see the importance of Black History Month during those times of extreme social stratification. I almost seems necessary to show the world that looks down upon you that you  have and have contributed more to society. Times have also changed and I don’t see the importance of Black History Month anymore. I can see the people running over the hills with pitch forks and burning stakes looking for me so let me explain a little.

First, calling it “Black” history month is a politically incorrect phrase. Remember, Black is terms of race and not ethnicity, so shouldn’t Black history month include Jaimaicans, Haitians, Barbadians, Africans, ect? My point is when you say “Black” let us not only mean “Non Hispanic African Americans”

Second, I can only say off of my experiences in the schools I attended, Black History month wasn’t really taught or shown to us. You would only see a couple of the same faces highlighted every year such as Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, and Malcom X to name a few. We all know who Martin Luther King Jr. is and what he preached but I don’t know many people my age who can interpret his dream and tell me what it means to them. How many young people know what Malcome X stood for? The famous faces are highlighted but not taught.

Third, many people say Black History should be taught 365 days a year. So why celebrate a month? Just intigrate learning Black History into social subjects, which to my knowledge is done anyway.

My point is part of the problem with ethnicity prejudices in America is groups of people claiming or calling something their own. Though it may seem as if it’s a celebration of heritage, which I don’t deny that it is, it creates major separation in the American society. So my answer is create a “Cultural History Month” or “American History Month”. Let us celebrate all the great cultures and ethnicities that defines the United States! Puerto Rican, Vietnamese, German, Irish, African, Cuban, Japanese, Haitian, Indian, Brazilian, Native American, Mexican, Polish, ECT, and what ever ethnicities you can think of. Throw all of them in and embrace the history of all the people that make America the great country that it is.