Friday, 25 October 2013

Stereotypes...Do people 'really' conform?

A stereotype is a thought that may be adopted about specific types of individuals or certain ways of doing things but that belief may or may not accurately reflect reality. It can be described as prejudice, which means a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.

Most, if not all of us, while growing up, were told certain things about certain groups of people; we have now grown to accept those ideas as fitting for those groups of people whether we have proved them true or not. 

For example, in Nigeria, people from
a certain tribe are widely regarded as extremely money-loving, shrewd and obsessively-business-minded people. Even within the that tribe, there is a group of people who are generally seen as meticulously selfish and tricky with the popular saying that a snake would rather be spared rather than someone from that area. These is also the notion that short people are usually aggressive and stubborn; men from a certain part of the country are seen as lazy and their women industrious; men from a particular state in this country are regarded as being overly promiscuous, women from a particular area in this country are not seen as 'wifely', etc etc...the list is endless and these stereotypes seem to inform the way we relate to the people so classified.

Personally, I feel that judging people at first sight based on non-factual sentiments is not only inhuman but unreasonable. I believe in the school of thought that preaches that an individual is an 'individual' and should be regarded by his personal attributes which are products of his biological and social factors, otherwise called the nature-nurture factor. The attributes of one or more people from his tribe should not form the yardstick for assessing his behaviour because social and biological differences play a major role. For instance, it is possible that some people from a particular area are thieves and Mr. A is from that area but grew up in another area, where stealing is almost non-existent. One who is prejudicial, knowing that Mr. A is a native of the robbery-prone area, immediately starts associating him with that act without considering the high chance that because he grew up in a very law-abiding area, it is absolutely possible that he does not steal. 

However, some people have argued that these stereotypes often hold true. Thus, the questions staring us in the face are: do people who are so classified, REALLY conform to these stereotypes? Have you had any clear instance of that? If so, could you please, share? What other stereotypes are you aware of? 
Have a Good Weekend.

Credit to Wikipedia for the intellectual guide

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