Brand-less Humanity: Human Should Not Be Labeled
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you talk about British people? Is it an image of a “White Caucasian” talking with a terrifying set of teeth, that indicates bad dental hygiene? In the previous sentence, I generalized what most people thinks about the British. First, that they have an awful set of teeth. Second, that British people are “White Caucasian”. The generalization which most people believe is wrong. In fact, Britain has the second – best dental hygiene in the world (M, 2015).
The people in Britain are not only a “white Caucasian”, since in London which is the Capital city of Britain has 58,4 % of the whole black people population in Britain, while the Whites only constitutes 10,1% of the whole population (Regional Ethnic Diversity, 2011). The generalization of British people to be “White Caucasian” and has a bad smile is called “Stereotypes”. Stereotypes can be defined as “a generalization about a group of people, in which certain traits cling to all members, regardless of actual individual variation” (Aronson, Wilson, & Akert, 2010).
It may be right, but then there is also the tendency to be wrong, as the facts that are mentioned about The British people for example. Humans are part of their ethnicity, sex, and race. That doesn’t mean that humans “are” their ethnicity, sex, and race. Every individual is unique.
Why do we believe these generalizations? Or even why do we stereotype other people? The answer is simple. Yes, the answer is “simple”, as human minds work to understand things by simplifying it, by reducing processing on a certain information (McLeod, 2015).
Instead of understanding the uniqueness of every people of different sex, social class, race, and gender, human tends to give a “one word” explanation which they believe. There is no person on earth that doesn’t stereotype in some kind, because it’s how our mind works. It is normal, but excessive stereotyping may lead to prejudice, racism, which is known as the “them” and “us” mentality (McLeod, 2015). Such excessive stereotyping may be created and enhanced by experience, cultural influence, media, and information, according to Hope College in 2018. It is scientifically proven that by knowing a particular group which our minds create in a first place, can affect our judgement and thoughts. As of 2009 in Italy, researcher conducted that two thirds of the children in Italy out of 72 samples, preferred to play with white people rather than black. So does their parents when they were asked the same questions, “Black immigrants have jobs that Italians should have” what they mostly said (Castelli, Tomelleri, & Zogmaister, 2009). This shows how environment and community also affect stereotyping.
When a certain gender, race, ethnicism is labeled in a bad category, it affects the whole “social group” negatively also. Survey shows out of 53 people that are Caucasian, African, Asian, and Hispanics, 29 people answers that Africans has the most negative stereotype which concludes 55% of total vote (Stereotypes Survey Statistics, 2019). The Africans also considered the most violent race with 30% of vote from 53 people according to Stereotypes Survey Statistics. Imagine if you are an African-American person, trying to get a job. Then when you apply for a job, the one who interviews you is a “white person” which believe that the “blacks” are violent, because of his / her experience. This leads to injustice, prejudice, and separation of people (McLeod, 2015). Stereotyping allows people to see other in a minimalized perspective of roles, and behavior. It reduces the performance, confidence, people which has been labelled bad. As it is researched by Aronson and Steele on 1995, “Stereotype that causes anxiety, emotional distress, vigilant worry, is known as Stereotype Threats” (Steele & Aronson, 1995). It is the condition which excessive stereotype causes undermining performance, because the person is already labelled in a negative manner, and he/she starts to believe what most people think about the race, ethnicity, and gender of the person. One examples of how Stereotype Threats adversely affect performance, is when a group of Asian women is divided into two groups, and the first group is reminded of their “Asianness” which means that “you’re good at math”, while the second group is reminded of their female status. The result shows that the first group excels on math tests, and the second group fails on math tests (Shih, Pittinsky, & Ambady, 1999). This is how negative stereotype adversely affect a person of a certain social group.
Surely Stereotyping has its own benefits, if the social group is labelled with positive values and traits. For examples, The Asians have great skin, and the Asians are good at math (Lee, 2016). This positive generalization, is called a Positive Stereotype. Positive Stereotype, can be defined as “a subjective “belief that attributes a favorable characteristic to a group” and implies an advantage because of your association with that group” (Czopp, Kay, & Cheryan, 2015). Through stereotype, it enables a person to adapt to new culture, as stereotype has its own truth in it. It is also beneficial in terms of the positive image created (if it’s a positive stereotype) of a certain social group, but then it may bring out negative impact. “Being positively stereotyped can lead to various negative unintended consequences. Because your identity is reduced to racial stereotypes, positive stereotypes can lead to feelings of depersonalization” (Czopp, Kay, & Cheryan, 2015). Another consequence of positive stereotype is that “the stereotype target is likely to think the other person also has negative stereotypes about them, and therefore will think that person is prejudiced” (Czopp, Kay, & Cheryan, 2015). The scariest thing about positive stereotype, that it actually brings bad impact in the process. Even though a certain group is labelled positively, as if a compliment, it may leads to negative judgements, and discrimination (Czopp, Kay, & Cheryan, 2015). Imagine being an Asian kid in the U.S, and the Asians are known to be good at math. The consequences of “being good at math” is the fact that the Asian kid is used by the lazy kids to do their homework, tests, and so on. People are adversely affected by the presence of stereotype, even the positive ones.
Stereotype must be stopped, but then is it possible to stop stereotype? No, it is impossible to stop stereotyping, since it is how our mind works, by simplifying things (McLeod, 2015). But then, we can make decisions without the influence of stereotyping, through education, motivation, and fact proofing. Education refers to the awareness of the current society which are affected by the grip of stereotype. Motivation means to be motivated if you are the one who is prejudiced, by the stereotype of most people. In the end, fact proofing is the process of searching the truths about the stereotype that is presence. In a way, it may be true, but then you must remind yourself to appreciate uniqueness, be open minded when dealing with people, because everyone is unique. When you understand that, then you are free from the chain of stereotyping people (How do we rid ourselves of stereotypes?, 2019)
As a conclusion, stereotype is the process of generalization of social groups of people according to their appearances, traits, and abilities. Stereotypes defines a person by their race, sex, ethnicity, and other social category. Human stereotype happens because of how their mind works, but also affected by media, experiences, and many other factors. Because of stereotyping, prejudice, injustice, inequality, performance decrease, occurs. It’s because even though stereotyping may be positive, it can never be compared to its negative effect on the society. That is why everyone should get rid of their stereotype belief, through education, motivation, and fact proofing. In the end of the day, there is no way of stopping stereotype, but one thing to remember is that everyone is unique, and everyone has their own identity. Humans aren’t their sex, race, and skin color, since humans are not a brand which can be labelled. Everyone is unique and one of a kind, so let us stop judging and labelling people, but appreciate everyone for who they truly are.