Diversity Challenges- Stereotyping
We discussed the Diversity Challenges in the last post. An important item in the diversity challenges is stereotyping, so let us start by defining it.
Stereotypes lead to assumptions and conclusions based on a person's race, gender or sexual preferences. Making these assumptions and conclusions then leads us to discrimination. Stereotypes can be about race, religion, gender, age, disabilities, income, geographical locations.
Stereotyping, has its root in prejudice, is an unjustified negative attitude based on a person’s group or class identity acquired either through past personal experiences or through preconceived wrong beliefs. It includes having an attitude, opinion, perception, or belief about a person or group.
Stereotype is a mental picture developed as a result of a myth. People don’t often realize manifestations of their own bias and prejudice towards others.
A clear example is shown in the case of a Republican official, from Orange County, Ca, a couple of months ago; forwarding an email to some friends depicting an image of a family of chimpanzees, with the superimposed face of President Barack Obama over the baby chimp's face. The caption read, "Now you know why no birth certificate; thinking it was just a joke. She apologized by saying that she has never been a racist; she just thought it was funny
While we are not judging the behavior, the morale of the story is that we can have our own bias and not even be aware of it, which is the real challenge when it comes to diversity, inclusion, and acceptance.
Important also to note that there a fine difference between generalization and stereotyping. Generalization is a starting point indicating common trends and patterns, for beliefs and behaviors that are shared by a certain group, to make it a bit easier to study its culture, and that there are individual differences even within the same group of people
While generalizing is a positive, stereotyping that might seem similar, functions differently, and can negatively influence interpersonal interactions. Stereotyping is an ending point and can be defined as the process by which people acquire and recall information about others based on their race, sex, religion, etc.
To understand the difference: If I assume that all Middle Eastern are Muslims is stereotyping as a good percentage is Christian, Jewish, Druze or Baha’i. But if I ask myself if a Middle Eastern is Muslim I am making a generalizationContinued on the next page