A stereotype is to believe unfairly that all people or things with a particular characteristic are the same. Stereotyping has become such a common thing in our society that they are often used in; in job interviews, in the media, and even when people meet one another in person. African Americans have been subject to stereotyping due to the color of their skin dating back to American colonization. Slave owners perpetuated the idea that African Americans could not think for themselves or are educated. The African American stereotypes are closely associated with their social status. For example a successful African American is perceived as educated and hard working. In contrast, an African American living in the projects is perceived as uneducated and lazy.
There are so many different types of stereotypes so commonly used that it is hard to find one that stands out, but the one stereotype that seemed most apparent was that African American men and women are thugs, criminals, and just all around bad people. I have seen many different examples of this but one that stood out to me was the Trayvon Martin case. Although this case had many different points of views and opinions the news portrayed him as a thug by using certain pictures and referencing and highlighting some of his teenage activities most likely because of the color of his skin, with out much information about the case when it was first released. Television shows are guilty of portraying this also. For example when Jerry Springer was airing the show would consist of a couple and a home wrecker, most of the time all African Americans, they would fight using profanity and improper English embarrassing them selves on national T.V. The African American stereotype has most likely been around the longest. This stereotype dates back to slavery and was very relevant in the fifties and sixties. One example is shown by Claude M Steele when he stated; “and I learned that we black kids could not swim at the pool at our area park, except on Wednesday Afternoons. That is just one example of how harsh it was to be an African American in that day. Even though our nation has gotten past that and taken great strides in getting rid of racism there are still certain prejudices and stereotypes that are broadcasted towards the African American community today.
I personally have witnessed some of these forms of stereotyping when I hang out with my African American friend Jay. There have been times have been walking down the street in the middle of the day and I noticed that certain people would give weird looks and avoid walking next to us. At Night it is even worse, there have been numerous times where Jay and I have been walking back to my house just minding our business and we get followed by the police only to get stopped right before my house because we “look suspicious” and have to go through a long annoying process of questions and then sent on our way and told to “stay out of trouble”. I thought about this and realized all of these things were happening because Jay was an African American male with Dread-locks. This doesn’t change my point of view on jay because I have known him for so long and can trust him; this amazed me and made me realize that things like this go on every day all over a country, and should be something we plan on changing.
People do not realize that when they are stereotyping a person on how he or she looks they are un-knowingly creating and contributing to another stereotype. As hard as it is to believe because stereotypes are so relevant not everyone in our society stereotypes people, but when some one does stereotype some one they create another stereotype. For example; if a African American person thinks that a white person is stereotyping them than they are going to consider that person a racist, and they will think that about the next white person that does it, and the next one, until it happens enough where African American men and women are going to think that all white people are racist. This will then cause white people to talk and act differently around African Americans to try and not offend them and give into the stereotype that all white people are racist. This just shows how stereotyping is a never-ending process where new stereotypes are created every day, showing why they are so relevant in our society today.
Stereotypes are so common in our society today that most people will stereotype a person without even realizing it. Stereotypes are constantly used in the media and throughout T.V shows making it very easy to laugh or shrug off the stereotype that is being portrayed. When stereotypes are laughed at and considered not serious it makes it very easy to unknowingly stereotype a person. This is something that we have to work on getting rid of, stereotypes are already turning into a never ending circle of judgment and its becoming more and more normal to stereotype a person, which is completely wrong and not the right way to conduct yourself as a person.
Works Cited Page
1.Steele, Claude M. Whistling Vivaldi how stereotypes affect us and what we can do . New York: W.W Norton, 2010. 2-10. Prints.