Social Question

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Do you find yourself guilty of stereotyping from time to time?

Asked by SQUEEKY2 (19414points) May 22nd, 2016

Of say a different culture, race, religion and so on?
Like I hear that most Americans seem to think we Canadians live in igloos and have snow on the ground year round.
Some seem to think if you’re a Muslim you must be a terrorist.
Is it ignorance, stupidity, or just plain lazy that people Stereotype others?

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28 Answers

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I want to say where I live in B.C we have super hot summers, that are very dry we can see temps of over 100f for weeks.
Our winters are quite mild with only about 8inches of snow all winter.
still think all Canadians live in igloos?

canidmajor's avatar

“Like I hear that most Americans seem to think we Canadians live in igloos and have snow on the ground year round.”
Hahaha…you mean sorta like that? Who do you hear that from?
I suppose I have, occasionally, but I don’t imagine it was anything serious, like in your examples. We have access to so much actual information through so many sources that I doubt the people here on Fluther tend to stereotype much, except those few obvious ones who tend to stereotype all Americans or those of one or another political party, some who stereotype by religion, and a few who stereotype by gender.
Mostly, though, we seem to be a better thinking group.

JLeslie's avatar

Do I stereotype? Sometimes yes. Do I assume everyone in a group fits the stereotype? Never. Do I think Canadians live in igloos? That never crossed my mind. Is that even a real stereotype? I don’t think so.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

With this question I wasn’t really pointing at Fluther members just people in general.

canidmajor's avatar

Well, since it was directly addressed at Fluther members, I just kinda assumed… ;-)

jca's avatar

Canadians in igloos or even Alaskans in igloos is not something that ever crossed my mind. Very few people live in igloos now, probably close to none. I’ve been to Toronto, Montreal and Quebec and they were all great.

JLeslie's avatar

BC did get publicity from having the Olympics, where I think people learned, if they didn’t already know, that winter isn’t always tundra cold there. In the US our Pacific Northwest is known as “rainy” not snowy. Vancouver is just a few hours from Seattle.

cookieman's avatar

Yes. Whenever I hear a southern (US) accent, I have to remind myself that not all folks south of the Mason-Dixon are morons. I am completely guilty of this.

Mimishu1995's avatar

I’ll be a liar if I say I don’t, especially to the culture I’m not familiar of. The most recent incident is when I assumed that the French were cold and grumpy people who couldn’t speak any language other than their own, until a French spoke English to me and guided me through my trouble. Right now I have mostly given up that bad habit, but when it comes to a brand new culture… well…

But it seems that you want opinion on people in general, so I’ll tell you about stereotypes in my country. Many people seem to have a very distorted view on foreigners, especially those from Western countries. They assume that if you see a white person, they can certainly speak English. White people are always friendly and cheerful, have much more advanced midset than the locals, are always fat… These are just a few examples. Then there are people who claim to be oversee students and want to debunk some myth. But what do they do? Add more stereotypes! They often say things like: “People tend to think <insert any Western country> tend to <insert a stereotype>. But in fact they <insert another stereotype>.” I wish they would stop categorizing people like that and say: “Everyone is an invidual”. That will settle things down instead of stirring more confusion.

Misspegasister28's avatar

Everyone does, I’m pretty sure. It’s ingrained in our cultures.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Misspegasister28 “Everyone does, I’m pretty sure.”. Could that statement be considered a stereotype? Perhaps it is just a generalization or even a rationalization.

I used to assume that some stereotypes were true. Upon meeting people from all walks of life, those bubbles of prejudgment were busted. Sure, there are cultural and personality differences that have a running thread. When someone makes a sweeping statement about a certain group, I now question it.

Misspegasister28's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Hahaha I didn’t see it as that way! I was generalizing. And that’s good that you do!

Mariah's avatar

I try not to stereotype when I am safe and have time to step back and think about how everyone’s an individual etc. but in my opinion when it comes to safety one is allowed to stereotype as needed.

A recent example: I entered a subway car that was fairly crowded but still had some empty seats and was looking for a place to sit. I often try to sit next to women because I have been groped on the subway before. Is that me stereotyping against men? I guess so. But I’m just looking out for myself. A man said “You can sit next to me” and patted the seat next to him. That was a huge red flag to me. Why does he want me to sit next to him? Yes he could just be being friendly. Yes maybe he’s just lonely. These are all possibilities I would consider if he was suggesting we have an online conversation rather than physical proximity. But at that time, I looked at him, at how much larger he was than me, and I stereotyped him as very possibly a creep who could overpower me if he wanted and I did not sit next to him.

Personal safety first. If you’re in a safe place, that’s when you can start making concessions about “not all ______ are like that.”

jca's avatar

@Mariah‘s response reminded me of this post: http://www.fluther.com/183995/do-i-look-crazed-rapey-or-dangerous/.

The person who was scared of the OP was also stereotyping but in cases of safety, I do it, too. It also falls into the category of “judging” and everyone loves to say “I don’t judge” but when it comes to safety, I definitely judge and I’m proud of it. I didn’t re-read the thread, but I probably said that.

JLeslie's avatar

Stereotypes usually have some statistical truth. Weighing the odds when you need to make a snap judgement isn’t something to feel badly about.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

In cases of safety I do agree with you, but we take it beyond safety and I feel that is sorta wrong,like thinking all Canadians live in igloos, and anyone who is a muslim must be a terrorist.
How about all Yankees are gun loving, money worshiping red necks that would rather shoot you than look at you, kind of harsh don’t ya think?
And @JLeslie from all the shootings we hear about in the states that must have some statistical truth to it don’t ya think?

jca's avatar

@SQUEEKY2: It appears that you are pushing people to believe in stereotypes, despite the fact that many here have stated they don’t.

JLeslie's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 First, I don’t think any jellies who aren’t Canadian believe, or have the stereotype you talk about regarding igloos. Americans overall really like Canadians and Canadian cities. We consider the Canadian cities to generally be cleaner than American cities, be safer, and have very good food. The people are thought to be similar to Americans or nicer. Some people warn the people in QC are not very friendly to Americans, but I don’t find that to be true.

When I say snap, I mean first impression and no opportunity to know differently. If you meet someone at a private party for instance, or you will be able to maintain a reasonable personal space in a public place, then there is no need for a snap judgement. You meet that person as an individual with no preconception. I do anyway.

Sure, there is statistical truth to the shootings here. I rarely see it stated per capita or any sort of percentage. It’s usually stated in actual numbers. They never divide the shootings into suicides, accidental, SO, plus others. Those stats actually tell a different than many people might guess.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@JLeslie “Americans overall really like Canadians and Canadian cities….” Isn’t that a stereotype?

JLeslie's avatar

^^Yes it is! Based on my conversations with Americans about Canada and Canadians.

Stinley's avatar

I definitely think I make generalisations but as @JLeslie says, sometimes this is useful

People do make assumptions about me here in England because I have a Scottish accent. I don’t fit the stereotypical Scot at all. Sometimes I feel wrongly understood but sometimes it works to my advantage

JLeslie's avatar

@Stinley I have my own stereotype about people from Scotland. I believe them to be some of the nicest people in the world, and I think possibly the American Midwest has the reputation of being friendly partly because many Scots settled there a few generations ago.

Stinley's avatar

@JLeslie I am probably generalising!

JLeslie's avatar

I remember a Native American jelly once saying that “white” Americans think of Native Americans negatively. I wondered why she thought that. I think it’s something to be proud of. I grew up thinking we treated the Indians badly, that they cared more about nature and the earth, that they lived in harmony. I do have some negative stereotypes, but nothing I would generalize to someone I met by chance or was introduced to. Like, their alcoholism rate is a little high when compared to other groups. That, like other groups who were treated very unfairly and still live in the same country, they have some problems with poverty compared to the average. But, like I said, overall, my stereotype of Native Americans is I’m interested in their history, their present day life, and I don’t assume anything about them much at all.

Sometimes I wonder if the negative stereotype is more in the heads of the person actually from that group. Like when black people highly value lighter skin among blacks.

However, if I go back to the Native American example, possibly in areas that have a large presence of Native Americans, maybe there are more negative stereotypes being thought and said. I’ve never lived in any parts of the country with a very large Native American presence.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Stinley Now I’m curious. In what way have you found a stereotype helpful?

@JLeslie Would you mind explaining how your stereotype of Native Americans is your interest in their history and present day life? That statement is unclear to me.

Stinley's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer I was thinking about ways to explain someone’s behaviour. For example my team at work were dealing with a German woman and were complaining that they found her quite rude and abrupt. I said that maybe it was less that she was being rude but more that in her culture, the way she spoke was commonplace and acceptable. This helped them understand and work with her better.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer I only mean I’m interested in the culture of any group. Culture, customs, food, beliefs. If they had stories about their ancestors, I would be interested just like stories I hear about what it was like in Russia or Ireland 100 years ago. At the same time, I realize many of them are just “American” at this point and might have no real contact with the past, and nothing present day that makes them any “different” than the average assimilated American.

Two of our jellies who are Native Americans did have some ties to their tribe and I liked hearing their perspective on things as tribe members. Redpowerlady and YARNLADY.

My inlaws find it almost offensive when an American asks, “where are you from.” I believe most Americans ask, because our families are from somewhere too and we are interested. Maybe we have been to the country, maybe we have friends and family members from that country. We look for things in common to build rapport with someone.

The point is, I didn’t have negative stereotypes in my head about Native Americans, rather, I’m interested in them in a positive way, like I’m interested in people in general.

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