Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The stereotyping trap

I have been in London for the last few weeks. Last Sunday I went for a haircut at this Arabic colony in central London.  Without giving much thought, I entered one of the salons which turned out to be owned by an Algerian. Now, Algeria was a French colony and the only languages he spoke were Arabic and French. Well the only French word I know is Moulin Rouge : ) Needless to say, I got a very unprofessional service which also included a terrible haircut. Now with my good hairstyle aspiration gone haywire, I put the entire blame on that Algerian saloon owner and very conveniently labeled the entire Algerian community as a bunch of incompetent clowns. 

What happened is that I fell in the stereotyping Trap where one individual/product’s behavior made me categorize the entire group.
A stereotype is a commonly held public belief about specific social groups, or certain types of individuals. Stereotyping is assigning a certain stereotype to a group of people or an individual.
Stereotyping also works the other way where one person is generalized to be a part of certain group of people with particular personality traits.
Humans as a species extract comfort in familiarity. That’s the whole basis of brand value. What major billion dollar brands sell is this notion of familiarity associated with them. Relating this logic, when we can’t figure out what the other person or the groups of people are all about, we mask this lack of knowledge by sampling out a few of their external behavior characteristics to stereotype them to a group.
I have been frequently stereotyped and personally hate it, but there is no escape from it. What I would suggest to you is don’t get affected by all these opinions created about you by people. Live a life where you do things which bring you happiness and contention rather than things which might make you popular but they deviate away from what you are in spirit and identity.
Also, try to escape from this stereotyping trap. Don’t judge people superficially. Give them the benefit of doubt for sometime before forming an opinion about them. And though you can form an opinion about them, always always act neutral to those opinions. Because you never know, the cute blonde you just categorized as arrogant and egoistic and promised not to talk again, may had turned into your future life partner.


instant_blogger said...

one of my worst works
but what the heck - haven't had time lately
and hadnt written anything for a while. Was getting my BlogItch

Anonymous said...

You are not alone. But let me tell you, it does create a horrendous feeling being a target. Later on in life, it does abduct an enthused part of your whole being to prance about life, about the joy it brings. It makes you pause and ponder why you.

it's happened to me too.


Anonymous said...

For me, u just said the plainly reminds me of the post I did on being judgemental...we judge people way too easily and categorize them. But someone said, give people the time and even they'll show u the good side. Keep faith! One day u'll get a proper haircut :D