Understanding Racism 101 – It starts with Stereotyping

By Daniella Djiogan

 

Deep inside, I am racist Or should I say a stereotypist. I stereotype others because I don’t know any better. I stereotype others because the media makes me do it. They have brainwashed me. If I didn’t personally encounter, or interact with people face-to-face, I will think everyone was crazy, nuts…including me. They love grouping us all in to categories, without the slightest regard for us individuals. There’s no way on earth two people (even twins) are the same. Yes, they may share similar traits, but that doesn’t make them the same. We are all different! We have different personalities, we look different, we act different, we were born of different parents, we have different mindsets, we don’t even share the same interests. So, why are we still stereotyped and judged like we were one and the same person?

I don’t get it….especially negative stereotypes which certainly tops the positive.

EXAMPLE: 

He is a thief because he looks like one

Every time a black man walks behind me at night I get scared

Every time I see an old southern white man, I immediately think they’re racist

Every time I see a Muslim in the airport, I am scared of being blown to pieces

Every time I am close to an African, I wonder whether he/she has HIV/AID or Ebola

Every time I see a beggar on the street, I think they are uneducated criminals or drug users

Every time a black or Mexican woman with a white child passes next to me, I assume she’s the babysitter

Every time I see a girl wearing a short skirt, I assume she’s promiscuous/ a prostitute.

Every time I see a native Indian, I think he’s a drunk

Every time I see an Asian, I think he/she is Chinese

Every time I see a Mexican, I assume they are illegal

                                                                   ……and the list goes on and on……

How did we get to this? I know we (referring to black, white, yellow, red, brown people)  are different, but how did someone’s or a few people’s mistakes become the basis of our categorization. Why am I judged for someone’s act? Why do we all have to take the fall for someone’s greed? Because one person decided to steal, now we are all seen as thieves…seriously…DOES THAT MAKE SENSE???

Why can’t we just learn to understand others, instead of forcing them into pre-existing categories? I don’t want to be the victim of any negative stereotype…I mean ‘who would?’ So, instead of blindly judging others, learn to educate yourself….because some ignorance can cost you more than you bargained for. I mean… RACISM is only a step ahead of stereotyping. So, better watch your step!

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