Stereotyping saves time, am I right? Well, as long as it’s you doing the stereotyping, yeah, I guess. After all, all blondes are stupid, right? And people who work out are stupid too, and accountants are boring, and lawyers are evil, and people who read a lot and are into fandoms are ugly, fat, and socially inept, with speech impediments, and straight guys have no sense of personal hygiene, and all religious people are homophobic, sexist, burn-people-at-the-stake zealots. “No, no, no, not all _____ are like that,” you yell. Wow. Really. It’s almost like judging people by one of their defining traits is a stupid thing to do. What a concept.
There seems to be a commonly held belief that all Muslims are terrorists, and all terrorists are Muslims. It’s understandable, I suppose. Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda scared a lot of people, and the media tends to show mainly Muslim terrorists. I’m sure, of course, that none of you are simply being racist. Here’s the thing, though: You’re wrong. There have been 2,400 terrorist attacks on US soil from 1970 to 2012, and only 60 of those have been Muslim attacks. That’s 2.5%, a negligible amount. Anti-abortionist Christians have produced almost three times the amount of attacks, at 7% of attacks, or 168 of them. In fact, 82-97% of terrorist-related casualties are Muslim. The Sunni sect of Muslims, specifically the extremely radical Wahhabis, which produced Al Qaeda, mainly target Muslims of other sects as opposed to foreigners. (And, apparently, the US backs the Sunni, although I’m not entirely certain of how true that is.) The ironic thing is, ethnonationalism, or patriotism based on race, accounts for 32 percent of terrorist attacks. Let that sink in. You’re acting more like a terrorist by hating Muslims than you are by accepting them. Unfortunately, even Muslim children are bullied and called “terrorist scum” because of misguided fear and anger, and Muslim women are ridiculed, avoided, and harassed for wearing a hijab. (There’s another stereotype. Women aren’t forced into wearing a hijab. Wearing a hijab is a religious choice that, under the rules of the Quran, is null and void unless it is freely chosen by the woman herself.) Muslim ≠ terrorist. Are we clear? Good. Let’s move on.
Gay men are apparently equated with women in the eyes of the public, being sassy, fashionable, wimpy, and lisping. Likewise, lesbians are equated with men, being “butch”, short-haired, buff, and wearing a lot of plaid. It’s common for people to ask, “So, who’s the man in your relationship?” when dealing with gay people. No. Don’t do that. Stop. Not only is that really, really rude, but you’re missing the whole point. For lesbians, there isn’t a man. That’s why they’re called lesbians, instead of confused heterosexual women . For gay men, they’re both men, obviously. There isn’t a woman in the relationship. There are two men. Neither of whom is more of a man than the other. Mindblowing, am I right?
Let’s talk about bisexuals. My favorite stupid stereotype about bisexuals is that they don’t exist. Instead they’re just “confused” and “can’t decide.” They don’t have to decide. Their pool of potential dates is just twice as large as a monosexual person. (Someone attracted to only one gender.) Oh, here’s another one: Bisexuals are just “greedy.” So… what you’re saying is that their attraction to two sexes, which they can’t control, is simple greed? They’re still sleeping with the same amount of people as a straight and/or gay person, just from both sexes. I think this comes from the–I’m going to call it a misconception, because stereotype isn’t really applicable–misconception that gay/bisexual people choose who they’re attracted to. Tell me, was there ever a point during puberty where you sat down, had a good long think, and decided you would be attracted to the opposite sex? I sincerely doubt it.
Also, bisexual people are unfaithful and promiscuous, because apparently noticing all the attractive people in a room instead of only half of them is a bullet train through Slut-Town heading straight for hell. (Pardon my French.)
Oh, and we can’t forget about the weird stereotype that all gay people know each other. ????. Ten to twenty percent of the population have reported feeling sexual attraction to the same sex. That’s 1.4 billion people. Do you know 1.4 billion people?
There are a thousand more stereotypes, but I won’t go into them here. You already know that they’re probably false, but the problem is, do you believe it? If a blonde, fashionable woman is competing for the same upper management job as a dark-haired man wearing glasses, both with the same credentials, who are you going to choose? Probably the dark-haired man wearing glasses, because in your head, the stereotype that blonde = stupid, fashionable = shallow, and even worse, woman = emotional and incompetent (I’m not even going to start, I’ll save it for a later paper.) means that she won’t succeed, whereas dark hair = smart, glasses = smart, and man = emotionally stable. Even if the blonde has better credentials, and will succeed far better, you probably still won’t choose her, because of stereotyping. Even positive stereotyping is awful, because if everyone thinks that all Asian kids are smart, and then an Asian kid fails a test, how horrible are they going to feel? People will ridicule them for it and feel betrayed by the violation of their stereotypes. (Completely irrational, but that’s people for you.)
Basically, guys, don’t stereotype. Everybody’s a complex, dynamic person with a thousand factors that contribute to their personality, and the factors you stereotype them on are only an ingredient in their personal head enchilada. (That sounded better in my head.) There are some things that are the same about every person, and there are countless more things that are different, and in this whole vast world of vast personalities, who could possibly try to cage them in preconceptions?
I’m not saying I expect you to go out and make friends with creepy-looking homeless people who talk to themselves (Although that would probably be interesting, to say the least,) but I’m asking you to try and be a bit more open-minded. Judge someone by a hundred things, and not only one.
Have a nice day.