Stereotypes: An Interview

The other day I had a discussion with my roommate about the social psychological idea of stereotyping. I found it interesting how much I felt like she was contradicting herself. But in my opinion, I do not find it surprising that she did, because I feel like most people at the point in our lives (college students) do try and not prejudge people, but do anyway. When I asked how guilty she felt she was about stereotyping people, she said it depends on what she s stereotyping, but she does not feel like she does it too much.
She also said she does not feel like she belongs in a particular social group and she also feels like there are exceptions in some stereotypical groups. For example, if there were a group of black guys standing on the street, some people would automatically assume that they were up to no good. But my roommate feels like if she saw this group with one of the guys dressed nicely, she could point him out as one exception the one who would probably not be doing any harm.
When I asked if she treats people differently right away because of how she has prejudged them, she answered that she does not treat them differently and that she tries not to prejudge at all. However, she does pick out a stereotypical group for a stranger before she meets them, a lot of times, and they do normally end up being what she expects. This proves the theory of the self- fulfilling prophecy to be correct. Whereas some people still tend to put some people they do know as well as strangers into stereotypical groups, my roommate does not.

She said once she gets to know someone, on the acquaintance level, she does not stereotype them as much and does not really feel that they belong to a certain groups such as the preps or the jocks. And she also feels that getting to know the person does have an effect on how she feels because the more I get to know them, the less I stereotype them. When I asked if she thought any groups should have a higher self esteem because of what group they seem to be placed with (i. e. snobs or nerds ), she said no, as long as each person is doing everything they can do to keep their lives running well.
On the topic of sex she feels that there are extreme stereotypes between men and women. I feel it has gone down over the years, but it definitely still exists; it could be improved; and women are degraded. She really believes there should be equality in every aspect of life between the sexes. However, she sees one stereotype about women that she can agree with is that women are a lot easier to talk to, and are more open-minded and liberal than men. On the topic of race, she feels as though all races judge and stereotype each other such as whites thinking all blacks are on welfare.
She said in the case of race, she agrees with some of the stereotypes, but only because she feels that they are based on facts and evidence. Such as, a larger percentage of whites have jobs and less whites are on welfare than other races. But despite all this, she does not overall agree with stereotyping races. In conclusion, when I asked if she thinks the activity of stereotyping will ever end, she said, No, I don t believe stereotyping will ever entirely end. She also said that people should make an effort to see past all stereotypes, good or bad.

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