In today’s world, society is at each other’s throats for literally any reason they want. Some people claim this is how humans survive by creating in-groups and out-groups. However, I think that is an excuse for people to make themselves feel better or briefly fill some void. The next few blog posts will be a series focused on picking apart the notion of “label culture” and how it has taken a nasty turn. This first one will introduce the beginning of stereotyping and what it is today.
Back In Time
In the beginning, early humans had a hard time living on earth because there was so much they did not understand. Not to mention, nature was filled with all kinds of dangers from animals to poisonous foods.
Thus, they came up with classifications for things they encountered in nature to aid in survival and sorting. Furthermore, studies show that this was crucial for their understanding of the natural world. So much so, that they began to use classifications amongst themselves. They used them to form clans, alliances and even enemies. Studies say that looks played an essential role in this as well as actions. Thus, we can see the beginning of stereotyping.
Stereotyping back then was to save energy and aid in survival. From my understanding, early humans would have struggled much more without them. Today, it is not just to save energy, but to alter our mindset toward someone or a group of people. Before meeting someone or even upon meeting, we compile a list of assumptions based on the labels they are associated with for, example; all vegans are hippies. An example from my own experience when telling someone I am vegan.
Unfortunately, we use this tool to fill our minds with more negative stereotypes than positive ones. If you don’t believe me think about these four; Vegan, Black, Asian and Homosexual. I’m sure you have already painted a mental picture of this person their mannerisms as well as their voice. Thus, leaving marginal room for individuality to come into play. Now I am not saying everyone does this, yet the majority do, and it’s because of conditioning, social programming or whatever else you call it.
That said, instead of telling you what to do or going on a rant about stereotyping. I am going to leave you with some suggestions. The first one being; are you an individual or a compilation of stereotypes? The second: do you want others to see you for you? I know I am an individual and want others to see me for who I am rather than stereotypes associated with race, sexuality, political views etc. Since none of these paints a proper picture of me.
In your free time answer those questions and write them in the comment section of the blog or reach out on Instagram: @alittlebitofe_
Now that you know a little about Stereotypes the next post in the series will build upon this knowledge and how it relates to in-group biases.