Friday, September 07, 2007

Stereotypes and how to avoid/analyze using TOK

When researching how stereotypes occur, I found a startling piece of information. It seems that it takes just 2.5 seconds before one has a first impression, and in turn has the first stereotype.

So, feel free to choose any of the following questions, and analyze (to the best of a TOK student's knowledge using AOKs, Reasoning behind beliefs, etc.)

1) How does one avoid stereotypes? Even if you have them, how do you eliminate them?
2) What would happen if there was a world without stereotypes? Would it be better/worse?
3) Why do you assume that it takes only 2.5 seconds before one already has made a (most likely) false assumption about someone else?


Kenshin_Himura said...

I, myself will answer the second question.

I think a world without stereotypes is impossible. Logically, one can see that every person has different beliefs about each other. Now, that means every person has a different perception of each other, and then that causes different stereotypes about each group of people...
To eliminate so many stereotyopes is a difficult, if impossible task.

Now, supposing the world was without stereotypes, I believe it would be a better world.
I had met someone who often had extremely long blonde hair. His personality is very hyperactive, and energetic. He was being a substitute teacher. He was accepted by most people. Now, one day another teacher went up and said (and I quote) "What kind of drugs are you on, hippie? I know you are on something, and I'm planning on reporting you."
Now this was a clear stereotype, and I think a world, without that kind of hatred created by stereotypes, is a better one.

Another example that is a bit more, well, interesting.
When discussing this blog with another (to protect their identity) person. Now, when we were discussing about which name I was, when I eventually told them, they said (and I quote, yet again) "Really, that's you? I thought it was some anime-obsessed emo freak who had nothing better to do with their time."
Now clearly, another negative stereotype...

Anyway, just to throw out another topic, can there be positive stereotypes?

Rachel said...

Stereotypes are experience/aquaintance based truths that cease to be truths. If you've had just enough exposure to a group of people to clump them under one umbrella description, bam! you've got yourself a stereotype. Frankly, it can't be helped. Trying to figure out as much as you can about a person is just human nature - do you want to spend time with them? are they worth the time and effort of getting to know? It may sound harsh, but I know it to be true. I've found myself having stereotypical thoughts, but have tried to postpone judgement until I do know the person a little better. No matter how accurate a stereotype seems to you in your experiences, there is someone out there who breaks it, and when you meet them, your stereotypes may cloud your eyes, and you can't see that they aren't who you think they are. As he was introducing his history class this year, Mr. Lynam made the comment that the things we learn about cultures and societies past are stereotypes. We can make generalizations about their lives, but it is all a stereotype that doesn't encompas everyone. Refering to countries in the context of England did this, Spain believed that, is stereotypical. Stereotypes are a method of organizing information about the world, and to avoid them is impossible. All we can do is be aware of when we use them, and of their limitations. Background research is required to support or eliminate your original impression.

ethan_is_ninja said...

To answer the first question, I believe it is impossible to avoid stereotypes. I believe it is human nature, and essentially animal nature, to catagorize people that are unlike ourselves (race, religion etc). For example, mice recognize cats as enemies and therefore stereotypes all cats as enemies, even if a specific species of cat doesn't eat mice. We as humans through personal experiences with others stereotype others as possessing a specific trait as well. Our ancient Neanderthal ancestors, through the "survival of the fittest" theory stereotyped rival tribes as being enemies and attacked likewise. Even if one tries to eliminate stereotypes, they will always remain in the primal area of the human brain.

riverJordan said...

I totally agree with Ethan. Stereotypes are built into the brain, and while for the part large part they will be harmful, and probably quite untrue, there are cases when they are built in for a useful reason. Mice stereotype cats- hey, pretty smart on their part so as not to be eaten, though I would argue that this is more animal intuition than a stereotype. But here's a more pertinent one: I see what I determine is a shady looking guy, maybe with a dark jacket, baggy jeans, on a subway with no one else in the car at midnight. From the situation and my second-long assessment of the man, I make a stereotype and wait for the next car. Maybe he was a violent creep. Maybe he was harmless. Nevertheless, a stereotype might just have kept me safe.

susanna.w said...

3. Sense perception is so much a part of each person. Some rely on one more than others. The five senses are a person's ONLY CONTACT WITH THE WORLD. Seeing is often relied on more than others, at least for me. I've already seen maybe millions of different people throughout my life. My judgement may not be correct but I do have some experience to justify what I believe.

katrina337 said...

I've actually done a miniscule survey on this (I only got like, 3 replies :( ) but anyway, stereotypes are picked up on subconsciously, and it's up to the specific person whether they heed them or not. I give every person their own category in my brain, I don't really use labels and groupings. I recognize stereotypes, but I don't actually pay attention to them. I think it's a waste of time to use them, and I do think they're avoidable. We pick up on them subconsciously through the media, so why can't we just ignore them?

Dani said...

3) We simply don't have time to learn everything about every person. We are forced to make generalizations about people in an attempt to rationalize the world. When that generalization becomes a societal consensus, it becomes a stereotype.