Around the world, people are raised not to stereotype others. However, they often define their own cultural Identity by stereotyping themselves. Not only do the stereotypes provide the model that individuals seek to match, they also provide a sense of commonality that makes people feel that they are part of a community. For example, the Chinese have been described as: “Peaceful, hardworking and easily content. They respect elders, love children and are patient with their fellows. Chinese in general are reserve and humble. They believe in harmony and never look for confrontation.
It is not only the Chinese that like to self-stereotype. The Italians self-stereotype themselves as having great style, the French as having elegance, the Japanese as being hard workers, and the Spanish as being lovers of life. The stereotypes are picked up by outsiders and in turn multiplied, particularly in travel guides where travelers are eager to know something about the kind of culture they are about to visit. In Australia, there are some Individuals who can appreciate the benefits of a cultural Identity and who have created stereotypes to own that Identity.
One such Australian is Peter Cosgrave, ex-Chief of the Army. According to Cosgrave, “Without doubt the best quality we observe across the entire Australian community is a natural willingness to pitch in and have a go, to help others. We see it of course whenever there is an emergency or a worthy cause. We see it in every community volunteer organization from the lifesavers to the bushfire brigades through to the thousands of youth and mature age sporting clubs and those great international service organizations Like Rotary and many others.
We see It in our professional iodides such as the police, fire and ambulance services and of course in the defense force. It Is a generosity of spirit and a selflessness that Is perhaps our most precious heritage to hand on to younger and newer Australians – a nation of people who care for and look out for each other. ” It is impossible to confirm the accuracy of Crossover’s stereotype. Certainly not all Australians volunteer to fight fires, guard beaches, Join the army, work in a Salvation Army store, or pick up rubbish.
However, even though a stereotype may not be true in reactive, it may be true in myth and for this reason belief in the stereotype is a fact in itself. Also, when evoked in certain circumstances, the stereotype can become a self- fulfilling prophecy. Individuals who believe it may conform to the positive social identity that the stereotype encourages.