Stereotypes lead to a lack of individualism, racism

Mbofo Ndou, Indian Insider Producer

Liberals against Conservatives, black against white, citizen against immigrants, rich against poor, religious against atheist–ironically infinitesimal differences separate individuals living in the United States, however, that is not always a bad thing, differences spark individualism. 

Populations are divided not only culturally but politically. This misunderstanding of one another causes an even bigger issue is a lack of compassion. Stereotyping in the United States is directly linked to creating a false narrative, racism, and disrupts the idea of individuality. 

Stereotyping creates ignorance between individuals; therefore we assume things about people that might not be true. There are a lot of different identities, whether related to gender, race, age or other factors. For example, it seems like a positive stereotype would be Asians with better math ability, African Americans with greater athletic ability, and women with being more warm and communal. Stereotypes that are deemed positive are still as harmful because they set expectations that aren’t always attainable or even true about a certain group. According to Psmag, The results strongly suggest that, just like police officers, teachers need to be taught about implicit racial bias, its potential consequences, and how to recognize it within themselves. It’s vital they understand that, sometimes, belligerence is in the eye of the beholder. Negative stereotypes are harmful to specific demographics of color because assumptions, rather than personalized information, can justify the denial of educational, employment, housing, and other opportunities. 

Even so-called positive stereotypes can be harmful. This creates a false narrative of individuals we meet subconsciously and even affects how we treat others due to their identities.

According to Journalsplos, children from racially stigmatized and ethnic minority groups experience substantial inequalities across a range of health and development indicators globally, with these patterns of unequal burden of disease continuing into adulthood due to stereotyping people into a group. These racial and ethnic inequalities that occur and persist are now widely considered incomplete without attention to possibly the most critical and distinctive social exposure experienced by stigmatized views. Stereotyping is directly linked to racism and prejudice which refers to the beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and attitudes someone holds about a group. Prejudice is not based on experience; instead, it is a prejudgment, originating outside experience.

Individualism is the freedom to do what we want as independent people. People are constantly coerced into doing things that people in authority want them to do. It’s important because if everyone was able to pursue their own goals, then we would have a stronger society as a whole. Stereotypes disrupt the idea of individualism by categorizing us into one group. People are different and we should celebrate and promote individuals being themselves.

As a society, we must value individualism and not group people by our identities. Everyone is different and as people, we should celebrate individualism instead of stereotyping and putting individuals into groups.

 As a society, we can combat this issue by simply being more aware of our thoughts towards other people. When you find yourself filling in the gaps about a person, stop and ask yourself, “Is this true, or am I assuming it based on experiences with other people who look like her?” and follow that with being more aware of cultures and identities that are different from our own.