Stereotyping – So Lame

To me, bullying is a close sister to stereotypes. And it isn’t nice. It isn’t pretty. It’s isn’t funny.

What it is, is ignorant. Cowardly. Ill-informed. Lacking in worldliness.

Pick On Someone Your Own Size

Whether it’s an innocent young teen-age girl, or an impoverished family, or a member of a minority, or perhaps a new refugee, people every day are getting picked on–both directly and indirectly–by those in a position of power. The impetuses vary, but more often than not, those people likely don’t have someone backing them up–they’re left to defend themselves against a world that can be freakin cruel, to say the least.

You’ve Heard Some Of These

Worse, oftentimes those getting marginalised are being ostracised not because of something they’ve done, but because they fit a certain typecast. The American-born Latino who gets called a wetback and is looked upon as stupid, dirty, lazy, or immoral. The Jewish person who is automatically labelled as money hungry and  nit-pickers. The Italian who is joked about being part of the mafia. I recall a family member who had undergone chemotherapy being called “Kojak” walking down the street. And what about the Somalian who is perceived as a trouble-maker, drug user or gang member. And yes, companions of course are all dirty whores who just wanna steal your money.  (much eye-rolling here please).

Stereotypes teach us, via implication, how we’re supposed to perceive and treat others. The problem with that, however, is that stereotypes aren’t real; they’re merely an unfortunate, overgeneralised, oversimplified association. What better way to dehumanise someone than by reducing them to a handful of traits? By using stereotypes to guide our opinions about others, whether consciously or unconsciously, we are marginalising not only them, but ourselves. We’re alienating ourselves, via misguided logic, from the people that make up this planet–and all of the incredible relationships, new experiences and learning opportunities–because we’ve allowed stereotypes to dominate our beliefs.

Stereotypes Are Everywhere–And They’re Royally ******* Things Up

Yet, stereotypes don’t just affect human relations. While the stereotyping of humans is likely the most prominent–and most detrimental–we tend to develop stereotypes across all aspects of living. One in particular that stuck with me just the other day, was something a friend was discussing with me.

“Growing up, she loved art, but her parents warned her not to take it on as a career, unless she wanted to end up a starving artist. Instead, she went to university and studied business management.

The starving artist.

Oh, how hearing her talk about her long lost dreams being put aside, all in the name of a stereotype, added such a solemn note to my day; the common belief being that if you become an artist, you will be poor. I actually happen to know 2 people who make a living from their art. And, one is extraordinarily wealthy. The other is perfectly comfortable.

The inferences here are so, so many, namely that those who pursue creativity as a career can be typecast as economically naive, foolish or irresponsible. Imagine all of us out there who have surrendered our passions to this belief, mistrusting our instincts, and instead gone out and gotten that safe day job? Society seems to separate art and business, hence perpetuating the starving artist stereotype, as well as perpetuating the number of lonely, overworked, uninspired, dispassionate souls out there, who are merely the victim of an attempt to be responsible.

For us, responsible erroneously does not mean being responsible to ourselves (and hence following the paths that secretly make us light up inside); rather, responsible means being responsible to the arbitrary economic and social standards that have been set forth to us by society. And this seems to be exactly where we all go wrong.

Your Likely Wrong:

Stereotypes can be damaging on multiple fronts, but when it comes to that of selecting a career–and, consequently, selecting what your life will be on a daily basis–stereotypes can be the ultimate sabotage.

Many argue that stereotypes are stereotypes because of a set of statistics that back them up, and therefore are based in truth; however, what most people fail to realise is that stereotypes don’t conclude anything about a person, nor a career. You cannot possibly know the outcome of something until you engage with it–it’s as simple as that. You can try to predict through stereotypes–sure–but in doing so, you’re more likely to do more harm to yourself by marginalising yourself from a world of opportunity that could have otherwise existed. But you’ll never know, because instead of finding out for yourself, you listened to everyone else. Punk.

Examples of Atypical Stereotypes are Everywhere

So many escorts that I have known or spoken too or come across say that they “cannot stand Indians and Pakistani’s because they are “….you know what, I am not even going to dignify the words. Um sorry girls. Have you seen the documentary To Kill a Tiger? A girl couldn’t wish for a better father than Ranjit. Chris Kluwe a punter in the NFL who by all appearances “looks like a jock” is well known for his outspoken advocacy for various social and political causes, including LGBTQ+ rights and marriage equality. He is known for being intellectual, articulate, and willing to engage in discussions beyond sports, challenging the stereotype of jocks as being solely focused on athletics and less inclined toward intellectual pursuits or activism. Atypical stereotypes are everywhere. No exceptions.

Maybe Take A Leaf From Me?

I have so many faults you could seriously line them up around the perimeter of the MCG. However I also have a few admirable traits. One of these is as much restraint as I can that is in my conscious to take every person as is, until they prove me otherwise. Sometimes it takes them opening their mouth for 5 seconds before I am proven right. But so often I am wrong with my ‘judging a book by it’s cover.” And I think that is a skill. As with any skills, you can learn it.


No matter what, please, please, please don’t do that. Stop listening to what everyone else says, and what everyone else wants you to do. Trust in yourself. Trust in your instincts. Trust in your ability to make things work, even if they do go awry. You don’t need everyone else’s validation or permission to do what it is you want to do. When it comes down to it, all you need is your own.


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