A stereotype makes people give a definition of other persons who they meet for the first time. We easily decide who people are from their appearance, race, gender, where they were born, what kind of families they grew up in, or if they are rich or not. Some stereotypes can bring some advantages for us. We are able to make good impressions on someone who knew about us before. On the other hand, there are still some shortcomings about stereotypes and it will bring some influences occasionally in our lives.
For example, we think that Japanese are polite, French men are romantic or British men are gentlemen. When it comes to gender, most people think men are stronger, the women are careful about details and thoughtful of others. When we talk about race, white people are strong and have higher social status. Sometimes we will automatically think rich people are beautiful, fashionable, handsome and elegant. All of these are the benefits of stereotypes, and it can make people easier to give good impressions to others.
In contrast, there are not just good points to stereotypes. There are still lots of people who are affected by stereotypes. For instance, most people believe women are bad at driving or need to be cared for and men have a responsibility to work and earn money for families. Poor people usually have worse performance at school and they become criminals more easily. The person who is from a developing country has lower quality of life. When we walk o the street, we will be careful around black people.
Nowadays, people get information from newspapers, TV or movies and we can use these media to change the situations. The stories of successful black people should be reported in newspapers. We can plan TV shows which are talking about the lives of people of developing countries or what their lives will be like if there are worker wife and house husband in a family. There was a movie called “The Help” that came out in 2011, and it talked about black and white people. It let us know how hard the lives of black people were and how they struggled with the unfair world.
It’s too difficult to reduce the stereotypes, but I think it will be better if we keep some good stereotypes and try to know the personality of someone before we judge him at the first meeting.
YuShin is a student from Taiwan who has been studying at EC and learning English in USA for over six weeks. She has recently moved up a level from Intermediate to Upper Intermediate.