Stereotyping: The Effects

How do stereotypes effect how we treat people?

From all the things we’ve talked about so far and many of your own personal experiences I am sure we all realize that stereotypes have a huge affect on how we treat people. What you may not have realized is that positive stereotypes can also cause us to treat some people better or with more respect than others. Some stereotypes cause us to view various people as more competent than others. We expect more from people of high status groups. An example of this would be assuming that a star varsity athlete would also make a good student government president just because he is a “jock”. Certain stereotypes are commonly envied while some are commonly pitied. These lead to both negative and positive treatments of these groups.

Is it ever okay to exclude someone based on a stereotype?

We can all agree that it is not right to discriminate people because of race or gender. We have all learned in history about the struggles of equality that have taken place in our country. But few people stop and realize that excluding someone based on their social group can be just as bad as excluding someone based on their nationality. Discrimination is illegal. There is never any reason to outright exclude someone to join a sport or a club based on a stereotype. There are times when people use their prejudices when making decisions even when they don’t mean to. You should be aware of this when you make choices because this is also wrong.

Many times discrimination is not obvious and some people think that this makes it okay. Jenn, who is thought of as a nerd because she gets very good grades and works hard in her classes, wants to try out for cheerleading. The girls on the squad don’t really like her simply because she is a nerd but she did well in try outs so they know they have to let her cheer with them. Once she is on the squad though, none of the girls talk to her and most of them make fun of her. Eventually, Jenn quits cheerleading. This is indirect discrimination. They knew they couldn’t outright cut her from the team but they made it so that she wouldn’t want to be. This probably happens more than most people realize. You should just be aware of it that you don’t accidentally do it to someone else because it would feel awful to have it done to you.