Wednesday, December 20

The Pitfalls of Stereotyping

I was on the bus this evening, when three African American guys got on. Big (as they tend to be), speaking in the version of English that's peculiar to them, dressed in punk regalia and I had an accute case of the jim-jams. Irrational, I know, but it was getting dark, and there wasn't anyone else on the bus (other than the driver, let me add, lest you assume that it was some surreal encounter), and I was just inexplicably jittered. Got me thinking about stereotypes. They abound, don't they? I've gotten so used to grimacing at stereotypes, be they ever so casually mentioned, and scrupulously purging my vocabulary (and I suspect my consciousness) that I had forgotten what the word meant. Truly!! Ergo, it was an almost epiphanic moment today when I realised that the reason a stereotype BECOMES a stereotype is cos there actually exist a large number of people belonging to a particular group who act/dress/speak/think in a particular manner. As Wiki wisely says, stereotyping "may express sometimes-accurate folk wisdom about social reality". What would we do without the Wisdom of Wiki?

6 comments:

Sunshine said...

Wow!! Another blog..!! I hate to admit, but I hv done things like that too - I mean, not because I wanted to, but b/c that's the way it is most of the time..

n said...

ur right. steareotypes are stereotypes precisely because they're true for a majority and therefore are extended to all irrationally. And while intellectually, you may reject a certain stereotype, sometimes its actually hard to live bye that.

ps. thanks for adding me to ur sidebar. tis a honour to be listed alongside calvin and hobbes, i see ur a fan as well :D

Revealed said...

@SS: Sister-in-crime? Hehe
@N: The honor is all mine :D. N its my personal belief that if Calvin was TRULY our chief potentate the world would have been a very different place *sigh*

n said...

you bet!!

Cloudy said...

Yeah reminds me of the time when a massively built black woman asked me for a dollar to get on to NJ Transit and I mumbled I don't have any and quickly entered the turnstile and got in. Another massive black guy in the train STARES at me THROUGHOUT. BORES A HOLE ME. Was scared sh*tless.

SUNSHINE YOU DIDN'T CLAIM!!!!! Will proceed to do so pronto.

Revealed said...

@Cloudy: Hehe. Talking about people asking you for money. Same story in England it was. Train station. And this extremellly hippie looking guy came up to me and said I have to get on a bus to somewhere but I'm 10 pounds short, can you lend me the money. I think I was stunned at the outright begging and guilty that I didn't have to go around asking strangers for 10 pounds so before I knew it I had my wallet out and I was giving him all the money I had!!! Was a pretty scary experience, especially cos he was the OPPOSITE of scary. Hehe.