Stereotypes are those characteristics that are ascribed to groups of persons regarding national origin, race, gender and other factors. In other words, these are any commonly known public assumptions or beliefs about a type of individual or even a certain social group (Kemick, 2000). In one way or the other, everybody living in this world is affected by stereotyping. Most people practice stereotyping, unconscious of the negative effect it can have on the victim. For instance, within my few years on earth, I have experienced various stereotypes, which have contributed negatively to the society. I do not agree with those, who say that stereotypes are meant to correct bad behaviors.
Jock is a term, used in the United States of America, which is a form of a stereotype of an athlete, who is male, and it is commonly reported in college and high school athletics from a youth subculture (Stack & Kelly, 2006). A Jock is considered to be a form of a stereotype where the dumb jock is a term used in scolding. A jock has several characteristics that have in most cases being borrowed and used by the media, which could show a bully, a womanizer, a handsome and muscular athlete, who is unintelligent, arrogance, popularity with girls, and is competitive and aggressive (Wilson, 2002).
The dumb jock is a stereotype, which has been very common in our today’s society, where the athletes are considered to fail to perform very well in their academics as their counterparts, who are non-athletic. This jock stereotype is often found in movies, television shows, and books, which in most cases involve the colleges and high school athletes and students. To some extent, it also goes beyond the collegiate and the high school group to the media, where it is further intended for the audiences, who are young.
The mass media then uses these characteristics of the jock stereotype to portray characters that are unenlightened and unintelligent. It is very clear that achievement can only be measured on the basis of the grades attained in school, class attendance, homework, test scores, which are standardized, and college enrollment. This is where a number of colleges and high schools put more emphasis on the academic achievements of all the athletes, since they have to be able to balance their academics and their demanding sports activities so as not to start having falling grades or even lose their sponsorships (Stack & Kelly, 2006).
The majority of the jocks are usually involved too much with sports that they forget about their academics or other things including their families and friends. It may be because they are self-absorbed, and the only high opinion they have is of them that is why they only have a mild opinion for other people. This is because in most occasions they are often caught up with other physical appearances, which can make them go to their extremes and can include injuring of another person for fun, hazing a weaker person, fighting in order to be able to test their physical strengths. The try using steroids to be able to get physical power and more muscle, and forcing themselves to play when they have injuries or have been injured.
One common stereotype that I have encountered is the presumption that, men are stronger than women (Stuart & Elizabeth, 2006). It is assumed that they can tackle the most difficult tasks on earth, unlike women, who can only handle simple issues. Most cultures undermine the potential of a woman and see her as a lesser being, with a small brain. In most cases, the assumption is based on the simple fact that, naturally a man is more masculine, as compared to a woman. This presumption identifies men as figures of authority. This type of stereotype can be categorized as masculine trait.
This stereotype has its package of negative effects. To begin with, it has stifled women’s creativity and expression. It has hindered professional and personal growth among many women. This is due to the wider window of opportunity for men, than women in most professions and societies. Longstanding presumptions about women being soft and communal, while men are strong and assertive have seeing the latter taking key roles in major economic stands including leadership, while the other category I left to trail from behind. In most societies, women are left behind in contributing towards the economic growth of the society.
Secondly, it has led to inhumane treatment of the female gender. In most uncivilized societies, battering of women is seen as a way of disciplining her, and so it is acceptable. Women are harassed and ill-treated, yet they cannot turn anywhere for help, owing to the position the society has for them. Lastly, it has led to unhealthy competition in the civilized world. Many civilized societies strive to uplift the female gender. Doing so, they divert more attention to the girls, and neglect the boys. This has led to a rise in crime rate, as the boys try to find his way up the ladder of life.
Another type of encountered stereotype is the Muslim and Arabs stereotypes. It is said that, all Muslims and Arabs are terrorists. This is based on the fact that historically, Arabic countries have also being leaked with incessant wars and conflicts, either domestically or foreign. Some Arabic nations in the Middle East and particularly Iraq have in the recent past being suspected to be a major architect of weapons of mass destruction. These assumptions have affected both the victims and accusers negatively.
To start with, it has led to massive discrimination of the Muslim and Arabs all over the world. In fact, they are labeled ‘the insecure icons of threat, who can even risk their own lives to interfere with the tranquility of the world.’ This is unfair labeling since, not all Muslims and Arabs are bad. Nobody is born a bad person, and nobody has the ability to determine where he or she should be born. Judging people based on misdeeds of others is inhuman.
Secondly, it affects how the Muslim and Arabs respond to the rest of the world. By being labeled, they tend to be harsh and hostile in response to how they are treated. Lastly, it affects the economic relationship, that could exist between these countries and the rest of the world. Due to the discrimination, many countries fear becoming trade partners with the Arab countries in fear that it would tannish their reputation in the eyes of other countries.
Finally I have encountered blacks’ stereotype. Many people in the world believe that the dark skin of a black man is associated with darkness. To many, this implies that the mind of a black man is as dull as his skin. On the other hand, the white man’s brain is viewed to be as bright as his skin. The traditional cultures of the black man are also viewed as uncivilized and uncouth. The European countries may be far much ahead in technology than the African countries, but this does not mean that the black people’s brains are dull and thick. This stereotype has had negative effects on the people I know. To start with, my black friends have abandoned their cultures and, hence, lost their identity in an attempt to fit in the civilized world. Secondly, their self-esteem has gone so down, and they lack confidence. They tend to adore and worship the white man, who is viewed as more intelligent (Ditto, 1990).
Thirdly, it has led to discrimination. This is seen in many places such as work places, schools, entertainment places and others. Many high profile jobs are given to the white people as the low profile ones are associated with the black people. Though there is an improvement, there used to be schools for blacks and whites in many areas of my state. There is also some hatred, existing between the two races, though the bridge is becoming narrower. It should cross the mind of many, that skin color does not determine the I.Q of an individual (Ditto, 1990)
Stereotypes are biased and their evidence does not hold water. They lead to prejudice and discrimination. They lead to low self-esteem of the victims. It may be humorous, or even be boosting the self-esteem of the other party, but it is harmful to the victim. Therefore, it is important for each individual to avoid practicing prejudice as harmless as it may appear (Kemick, 2000). The majority of the stereotypes often tend to feel superior to another person, who is considered to be stereotyped and this stereotype always ignores all the uniqueness, which is found in individuals. Stereotyping in the media can be very productive since it can provide an identity for a group of people, who are easily recognized by the target audience.