Have you ever been a target of a joke purely because of your ethnicity? Or, have others ever assumed something about you just because of your race? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you have been a victim of racial stereotyping. Racial stereotypes are a system of beliefs that exist in society, often seen in movies and the media, about typical characteristics of members of a given ethnic group. These characteristics can range from appearance to personality.
Although racial stereotypes are mostly negative, positive racial stereotypes do exist. For example, Native Americans are often portrayed in the media as spiritual, wise, faithful, and having a keen interest in saving the environment. Nonetheless, such stereotypes brand entire groups of people as one particular way. There is no denying that there are many common stereotypes that are ingrained in our brains, such as:
All people of Asian ethnicity are academically smart.
All Asians have slanted eyes.
All Asians eat dogs.
Gambling is one of the favorite pastimes of Native Americans.
All Native Americans are alcoholics.
Native Americans are all excellent dancers and storytellers.
All African-Americans are good at basketball.
Natives of the African continent live in underdeveloped villages, in tiny huts.
People from Latin countries are dependent on welfare and charity and are generally illegal immigrants in the United States.
White, blonde women considered attractive are dumb blondes: a cultural, gender, and racial stereotype that refers to a white, blonde woman, who while attractive, is considered lacking in intelligence.
Most people of many different ethnicities have been a victim of racial stereotypes at some point of their lives. Although there are racial stereotypes that are considered positive, racial stereotypes have a huge negative effect on society in general as they result in discrimination. More and more people are becoming accepting of people from different races in their community, which is a positive trend that we should embrace with open arms. Although avoiding stereotyping someone is not easy, educate yourself and others so that we can create a bias free world.