Ok, this has been a pet peeve of mine for many years now. I work in an industry where I meet a variety of people from different walks of life. The singles and couples that I meet tend to be of a multitude of ethnic backgrounds and of varying degrees of wealth. Needless to say this gives me a very interesting cross-section view of the people who live in the area where I work.
This leads me to my peeve. Stereotypes. You know they are out there. I don't need to go into a huge amount of detail to get the exact image into your mind on any of them. And when you have that image, you will have a very distinct gut reaction to how you feel about that particular stereotype. There is nothing wrong with you, we all do it. As humans we categorize everything in our lives so that we know how to deal with things as they come along. Our brains are hard wired to do this. That way when something new comes along we have set templates of reactions already stored away. Once we have identified which of the categories it best matches, then we will use that base reaction as our initial response to the new stimulus.
So, again.... stereotypes. Many of them are negative. And what gets me is that so many of the people who have been stereotyped complain about the stereotype. Now, the complaining isn't bad. I understand if you get all ticked off because people treat you a certain way just based on the way you look. However..... If you do not like the stereotype that is placed upon you......DON'T KEEP LIVING THE STEREOTYPE!
The most common example that I have noticed in area around my work is that of the young black male. I have had conversations with previous students who have come back to me and then complained about how white people cross away from them on the street or give them frequent sideways glances in stores. The problem is these young men are dressing the part of the stereotypical gang banger thug. Their pants are slung to their knees, they attempt the "gangsta" walk, when they talk to their friends it's always too loud and the word "nigger" is slung back and forth between them as if it were a ball. I have gone so far as to tell them exactly what I said before. People will categorize you based off of how you look and how you act. If you don't like it, then stop.
Now please note that this is not just about this particular group of people, it just happens to be predominant one around where I work. There are plenty of others....
Take the pretty girl for instance: Oh my god, I am soooo cute. I mean, wow. I can't believe that I could get these pumps and this miniskirt for only $25. I had to get them because I just didn't know what to buy for the prom next week. And can you believe what Tina what wearing? Oh my god, it was so last year. Yuck. (Wait, are you hearing the voice yet?) The problem I often see with this person is that they complain when guys see them as being materialistic and shallow. They complain when they are treated as merely sexual objects rather than as humans. Well, here's an idea.... if you have sentient thought in your mind please try to speak it without a high pitched squeal, the words "oh my god", and a fit of giggles. Also, quit dressing like the slut. Sexy is one thing. Skanky is quite another.
Ok, so those are two fairly obvious examples but they merely touch the tip of this mess. Perhaps it just goes to complacency. Maybe it is just easier to go along with what everybody else does. Or, perhaps some of these people like living the stereotype because they feel it gives them some form of power. Who knows? All I know is I will continually reiterate the following: If you don't want to be stereotyped, quit acting/dressing/living like the stereotype. It's as simple as that.
Oh, and for those who might get all uppity about the white guy complaining about stereotypes.... give a thought to the mental image of a six foot tall man wearing boots, jeans and black t-shirt while walking down the street. Now make him bald with a goatee. Perhaps a bit of a perpetual scowl. Who hasn't walked a little wide from this guy?
But really, this isn't about me.... because like always, I will not be the topic of a blog.