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do stereotypes exist because they are reinforced, or because we create an image we anticipate will be proved through experience? before you answer this question, think about how you would apply your line of thinking to the label "racist". i've hit a loop that can't be solved.



Sep. 18th, 2005 06:16 pm (UTC)
A stereotype is usually based on a truth, much like legends are. Stereo-types are also 'blanket statements'. "It always rains in London." We all know it's not true, because it can't physically be raining every second of time in London. However, Longon gets a lion's share of rain.


It works the same way when you apply it to people. I take "conventioners" as a stereotype. Depending on the type of convention you're talking about, people that are familiar with that type of convention will immediately get formulate a picture of the type of person you're talking about, a mental mold within with a great many people in their experience would have fit. You can apply this to just about any group of people.

We ALL do this, every last one of us. If someone mentions a specific group of people known to you, you'll get some sort of mental imagery of who they're talking about. Republicans. Flight Attendants. School teachers. Catholic Priests. Computer Geeks. Bankers. Lawyers.

Racism and bigotry is a trained hatred for a specific group, or groups of people. The key to racism is "Hate". You can have stereotypes of people as long as you don't a) hate them sight unseen (as a racist will) and b) hold some measure of understanding that there are exceptions to the stereotype and keep your mind open to those possibilities, and ACCEPT them when you see them.

Racism defies objective logic, although it does follow the weird rules of human psycology. The reason why it defies logic is that it's emotional in nature. You don't have to be a soap-box standing, cross-burning, sheet-wearing righteous hater to hate. Racism is also a form of close-mindedness. A person is brought up to hate a group of people; that makes them a racist. The moment they open their minds to the concept that they don't have to hate a member of that group, they begin to stop being racists.

Sterotypes are, however, weirdly supported by themselves for as long as the conditions which created them still exist. As an example, I've been going to anime conventions for 10 years. 10 years ago, an anime connie was older, and into stuff no one had ever heard of. As the anime industry here changed and grew and younger and younger people got interested, the stereotypical anime-con going CHANGED, so that now they are younger. Additionally, more and more anime-con goers are only familiar with stuff shown here and may not have watched very many fan-subbed 3rd generation copies of stuff gotten through the black market. Now you can download stuff from Japan the day after it hits the airwaves, and if you wait a day or two, get a subtitled version.
When it comes to racial stereotypes, it depends on which ones you're talking about. Certainly, the hate-based ones will be around for as long as that brand of hatred exists and is taught, and the only cure for that is openmindedness, which isn't a very easily administered treatment.

I'm curious as to what this loop is that you're talking about.


Steam Escaping!
The Son of the last of a long line of thinkers.

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