Posted by: Melissa C | April 16, 2010

Cultural Awareness – Stereotypes

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  • Generalizations about a group of people whereby we attribute a defined set of characteristics (which are often wrong) to this group
  • Includes race, gender, religion, sexual orientation
  • Do not necessarily have to be negative or derogatory

Effects of Stereotyping

  • Leads to discrimination or violence
  • Causes group members to try to “fulfill” the stereotype
  • Damages self-image
  • Perpetuates social prejudice and inequality
  • Gives us a false sense of understanding of our partners
  • Influences how we process information

Common Stereotypes

  • African Americans
    • Athletes
    • Criminals/gang members
  • Arab Americans
    • “3-B syndrome”
      • Bombers
      • Belly-dancers
      • Billionaires
  • Asian Americans
    • Bad drivers
    • Women as geishas
  • Latino Americans
    • Illegal immigrants
    • Drug lords
    • Very religious

New and Preferred Terms

  • State ethnicity first followed by “American”
    • African American
    • Jewish American
    • Latino American

Overcoming Stereotypes

  • Start a meaningful dialogue with an individual whose group is being stereotyped
  • Try to keep communication lines open, especially throughout conflict, to avoid misunderstandings
  • Question stereotypes and recognize them as “overly simplistic representations”

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