In today’s society stereotypes are being used, all the time without knowing it. The problem that stands and will remain is people in society cannot accept we are all different in our own way. This leads to the issue of social discrimination occurring because people see themselves different from others, but believe they have a minority group that happen to be similar to them. According to the website “Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Discrimination”, Stereotypes are oversimplified generalizations about groups of people. Stereotypes can be based on race, ethnicity, age, and gender. Unfortunately, we are constantly being judge in the eyes of others that we begin to judge ourselves in a negative way. Each racial group has their own stereotypes being given whether they are each positive or negative. In this essay, I will examine the negative effects stereotypes create and how they lead into racism, discrimination and social identity. When a person discovers their identity the individual will begin stereotyping themselves and others which creates negative issues such as racism and discrimination.
Stereotypes are developed when people are incapable of obtaining all the information being needed to make unbiased judgments about a certain person, group, or situations. People fail to realize we are all equal and create stereotypes towards certain minority groups creating problems. Issues that can occur with stereotypes typically lead to discrimination when the stereotyped is perceived in a negative way. When people are stereotyped they are being judge and treated unfairly. When negative stereotyping occurs negative discrimination tends to go along with it. This could possibly lead to segregation and lack of respect given to the person being stereotyped. Some common stereotypes that are told in society are Whites are successful and Hispanics are lazy and come into America illegally. Arabs and Muslims are terrorists and Asians are the smartest with school. African American males are criminals, African American females are poor and are known as the “Welfare mothers”. These are just the general stereotyping and discrimination of ethnic groups.
Each ethnic group is stereotyped in different ways, but why is it that the white population is the only group that is stereotyped to be successful while other groups are looked down upon? In the article “I Was Devastated About Las Vegas- But Quietly Relieved That the Shooter Was White” by Linly Zack, the article talks about most of the mass shootings in this county are committed by White men. Since White men are stereotyped as successful and having power people tend to make excuses letting the person off easy for a crime that is life changing. However, if the shooting was done by another race there would be a different ending. The author acknowledged how these stereotypes have not changed. Zack says “if he had been Hispanic, it would be the reason we can’t let these people in our country… if the shooter was Middle Eastern or Muslim it would be known as a terrorist organization” (Zack, 2017). The importance this article shows is how stereotypes create negative discrimination against certain groups. If people allowed themselves to have an open minded view they could put an end to discrimination and see not all stereotypes are true.
Another example to show of how stereotypes trigger issues with discrimination is because of an individual or a groups economic status. In the article, “How status and stereotypes impacts attributions to discrimination: The stereotype-asymmetry hypothesis” by Laurie T. O’Brien, Zoe Kinias and Brenda Major, all three of these researchers work together to do two different studies to test how people are more likely to make attributions to discrimination when rejection occurs where the victim is negatively rather than positively stereotyped. In the first study they focused mainly on the observers, while the second study focused on the victims. Both studies showed victims who are from a low status class were rejected from a job because the victim was positively stereotyped or negatively stereotyped. This is important because Laurie says “This designed allowed us to hold power constant across conditions because in all conditions the power held by the perpetrator was the ability to decide who was hired for the position” (Laurie,2008). This shows people have adapted to how lower status groups see themselves and how people with power stereotype them causing discrimination.
Using stereotypes does not only lead to discrimination, it is important to know it can lead to racism. There are different ways in which racism can be seen with stereotypes. Two types of racism are aversive and symbolic racism. Aversive and symbolic racism indicates a subtle type of discrimination held by people who may have positive opinions in public contexts, but hidden negative views, either subconsciously or consciously (Nguyen-Phuong-Mai). People who believe they are not racist can make stereotypes which they are not aware of. Individuals who view symbolic racism believe certain ethnic groups have a negative impact on the dominant culture, and that the group fails because of their “lack of effort” rather than the disadvantages they are faced with.
This is shown in the novel, Racism without Racist: Color- Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America by Bonilla-Silva Eduardo. In chapter three the author Bonilla-Silvia discusses the frames of color-blind racism and one of the frames Bonilla-Silvia talks about is cultural racism. According to the author cultural racism is cultural stereotypes that allow us to think about groups inappropriately and ignorantly (Bonilla-Silvia,66). Kara a student who was interviewed says “…I don’t want to say waiting for a handout, but to some extent, that’s kind of what I’m like hinting at. Like almost like they feel they were discriminated against hundreds of years ago, now what are you going to give me…” (Bonilla-Silvia,67). Kara saw her classmate lacking effort and because he seemed to be waiting for a handout he was stereotyped as “lazy”. Another student named Ann says, “Um, I guess I would have to say primarily family structure. Maybe it’s not being able to support the child and you know, in school and really encourage. It might be that it’s a single-parent family and it’s necessary for them to get out and get a job…” (Bonilla-Silvia,67). Ann failed to recognized how discrimination affects African Americans and both students showed symbolic racism. Both Kara and Ann could not see they were stereotyping African Americans because of their cultural viewing that ethnic group impolitely.
Individuals develop stereotypes from society’s surroundings such as family, schools, and the media. Families and friends play an important part in spreading stereotypes. Speaking from a personal experience I unfortunately had to go through when I was in middle school. When I was in the seventh grade I had a best friend named Sabrina. One day I went over to her house after school and I over heard her mother tell her “Make sure you keep an eye on your iPod, I already explained to you how Black people like to steal”. That day was the first day her mom had met me and sadly she made a stereotype of me as a thief because of my ethnicity. I am sure I was not the only child who was stereotyped because of their race and that is an issue. Just imagine all the children who have to go through life being put in an uncomfortable position. Not only do families contribute to spreading stereotypes but the media plays the biggest role. We have all heard the saying “make America great again” recently we have heard that from our own president Donald Trump. In the article “How the news media distorts black families” by Nicole Rodgers and Rashad Robinson they start the article off by introducing U.S Senate, Roy Moore and what he believes it means to “make America great again.” The article says “According to Moore, America was great “at the time when families were united even though we had slavery. They cared for one another. People were strong in families” (Robertson 2017). The statement that African American families are better off under slavery is not new. It is honestly disappointing that people still believe slavery is what was “best” for that minority group. This also helps introduce social identity.
Social identity is an individuals sense of who they are based on their group memberships. Social identity helps explains how stereotypes are formed because originally as stated earlier stereotypes are generalizations about groups of people. Before someone is able to make a stereotype people have to describe the group. One example we are all familiar with and hear a lot about are “All Hispanics are immigrants”. Some people believe because a person is Hispanic they are illegal and when they come to a new county they bring crime and terror. People go to new countries to build a better lifestyle for their families. The reason we are able to connect this social identity because negative stereotypes are being formed. We put down other minority groups to make ourselves feel better.
In conclusion, stereotyping minority groups has always been an issue and will continue to remain an issue unless our society makes a change. Everyone in society is constantly being judge and looked at in a negative way. Since people can not accept that we are different it leads to stereotypes being made. Stereotypes can be both positive and negative but ultimately lead to becoming negative. Having negative stereotypes leads to problems such as discrimination, racism and social identity. Discrimination occurs because stereotypes being made of certain minority groups creating unequal opportunities. Unequal opportunities began happening because racism and racism leads to social identity allowing people to put others down in a negative way. The sooner people stop believing and creating stereotypes the easier it will be to end them all together.