Stereotypes suck because they limit people - both those doing the stereotyping and those being stereotyped - because stereotypes build boxes that keep people in... and out.
These boxes block off potential - the potential for that person in your eyes and maybe in their own eyes of who they are and can become.
Take, for example, when we stereotype blondes as dumb: we lose the potential knowledge they could share because we write them off as ignorant AND they might lose the potential to believe they can be brainier because they live up to the dumb blonde stereotype.
But, given today's mark in history as the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, I'm sure a different stereotype comes to mind for many of us:
Racial profiling that "Muslim" = "terrorist"
This became so common that this t-shirt was created:
Countless stereotypes exist about Muslims, especially in the media in relation to terrorism. However, according to NBC news, a " 2009 [Pew Research Center] study, Muslims in the United States are much more likely to say that suicide bombings are never justified in defense of Islam than Muslims in other countries. Almost eight in 10 American Muslims say that such attacks are never defensible, compared to 70 percent of Muslims in Britain, 64 percent of Muslims in France, and just 17 percent of Muslims who live in the Palestinian territory."
So, perhaps more Americans should resist the urge to judge a book by its cover... or a person by his or her religion.
Next time you're about to judge someone by their appearance...
think OUTSIDE the box...
and let them show you who they truly are, even if who they truly are seems as incompatible as a Southern Belle (Baptist) Feminist :)