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stereotypes? I've got them...do you?  RSS feed

 
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want to share them?

I don't know if this is a good idea or not...I've been thinking about it for awhile though so thought we could see what happens.....
I admit I have a number that I am working on demolishing from my psyche Some are still there from my twenties popping into my head...
I think stereotypes are sometimes standing in the way of folks listening to each other and finding some common ground.

here goes....and as I say, I am working on these, I don't like that I have them, they are just in my head still .....

'redneck' I've quit using it for years and when I did it was to differentiate myself, I think, from what I saw as narrow thinking and also what now seems really superficial....the 'haircut'

'hippie' and 'freak' as terms of endearment.... these I still like but see that, they too are divisive...........for me these identified like minded folks and always felt like extended family. and many times I made this judgement by how someone looked.

'retired republicans' I know this one is unfair....I am not even political in that sense. when some local changes happened that I didn't like I blamed them as a group stereotype.
and some was a reaction to the word
'liberal' , which I always have been, I think, but suddenly it became a stereotype in a negative sense.

...not bashing anyone here, just trying to break through the limits that a stereotype can set on conversation.


Sorry to leave anyone out of the conversation but thought best to put this in the 'ulcer factory'

 
steward
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Thank you for sharing that. I think I share a lot of your ideas here and I'm sure I could add to the pile. Though I don't find myself using these terms less, I do find that the way I use them is changing. I think I take them a lot less seriously than I used to. More like humorous references to days gone by.

If you ever go back and watch some of the old disney and warner bros cartoons you'll see some stuff that will shock you in this department. Even though it may not seem like it, society as a whole has really made some big steps in getting away from a lot of these labeling stereotypes. I'm glad this came up.



 
pollinator
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Craig Dobbelyu wrote:If you ever go back and watch some of the old disney and warner bros cartoons you'll see some stuff that will shock you in this department. Even though it may not seem like it, society as a whole has really made some big steps in getting away from a lot of these labeling stereotypes.



If you want a real shock, go watch Blazing Saddles!!! The last time I watched it was about 10 years ago with my kids who were about 8/9 at the time. Awkward!



OK I did LOL at this one:
 
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Craig Dobbelyu wrote: If you ever go back and watch some of the old disney and warner bros cartoons you'll see some stuff that will shock you in this department. Even though it may not seem like it, society as a whole has really made some big steps in getting away from a lot of these labeling stereotypes.



And moved on to new labels.

 
pollinator
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I'm afraid I'm more aligned with R Scott's sentiment. Let me explain why ...

We have stereotypes because humans have a default self-centric mindset. Those outside of the "self" are, until they prove otherwise, seen as different than the one self. Now, there are schools of psychological and social thinking that don't agree with me. But, it's been both my observation and experience that humans see other humans as different than themselves. When we are presented with another human or group of humans, we make assessments and judgments based on a limited data set that frequently leads to stereotyping. This is caused by the fact that we feel a need to categorize someone because we want a frame of reference for that other human. We don't like it when humans don't fit into anything, so in our minds, we drop them into a category and a stereotype is a handy category. Experience with that human can increase our data set about them to move them out of that category or to further cement them into that category. But, it takes serious, mindful practice to not put people into categories and just let them "float" in the way you consider them.

Because this is our default, as we move through time we dispel with some categories or simply assign new labels to existing categories. This is because the observer (a human) hasn't changed. Heck, you only have to objectively study immigration in the U.S. during the last 250 years and you'll see the once stereotyped immigrant is now the one stereotyping the next generation or wave of immigrants, and so on.

Don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying this is right or moral or justifying it in any way, I'm simply explaining the behavior I've observed and experienced.
 
Judith Browning
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R Scott wrote:

Craig Dobbelyu wrote: If you ever go back and watch some of the old disney and warner bros cartoons you'll see some stuff that will shock you in this department. Even though it may not seem like it, society as a whole has really made some big steps in getting away from a lot of these labeling stereotypes.



And moved on to new labels.



That is what I think...now we have new labels. I think what happens is that the very worst behavior of a 'group' gets used as the stereotype.
We can look back on the past and see what was wrong with labeling and stereotyping whole groups of humanity. I just think it is still happening and still just as damaging now....and interferes with understanding.
Some stereotypes began as positive movements such as the feminist movement and now I never hear the word 'feminist' in a good light...
I know that stereotypes can be funny and cute in cartoons and stand up comedy.....what I was interested in though was covering some that are used in a derogatory way that supposes that those folks being stereotyped are unequal to the rest of humanity.
Reasons? sometimes I think I think we sincerely believe the label, sometimes I think it just seems easier to pick on a group rather than look at them as individuals......
 
gardener
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When I was little, my grandfather was a preacher who ranted endlessly about the need for women to wear dresses and for men to cut their hair. My mom wore pants when she helped run farm equipment and her brother David, who would perform 5 on 1 wrestling matches, had long hair. There were many serious issues that could have occupied Grampa's mind in the early seventies. He went with some very superficial style issue's, and worked in vain to convince a young audience that these things were evidence of moral breakdown. The silly old man was completely out of touch with how society and his own family were evolving.
 
Cj Sloane
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I've worked pretty hard to make sure I'm not like the Jewish American Princesses I grew up with. Most of my high school buddies are professionals with graduate degrees. Certainly non of them live off grid or raise pigs! On the flip side, I'm the only farmer I know who plays team tennis.

It's funny though because my interest in finance and food, 2 areas Jews tend to be heavily involved in, eventually lead me to permaculture!

So a clip like the one below still makes me laugh and then I remember I'm a farmer... hey, wait a second!
 
Judith Browning
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Dan, wonderful explanation...I was typing at the same time but I think you answered part of my question....

We have stereotypes because humans have a default self-centric mindset. Those outside of the "self" are, until they prove otherwise, seen as different than the one self. Now, there are schools of psychological and social thinking that don't agree with me. But, it's been both my observation and experience that humans see other humans as different than themselves. When we are presented with another human or group of humans, we make assessments and judgments based on a limited data set that frequently leads to stereotyping. This is caused by the fact that we feel a need to categorize someone because we want a frame of reference for that other human. We don't like it when humans don't fit into anything, so in our minds, we drop them into a category and a stereotype is a handy category. Experience with that human can increase our data set about them to move them out of that category or to further cement them into that category. But, it takes serious, mindful practice to not put people into categories and just let them "float" in the way you consider them.

Because this is our default, as we move through time we dispel with some categories or simply assign new labels to existing categories. This is because the observer (a human) hasn't changed. Heck, you only have to objectively study immigration in the U.S. during the last 250 years and you'll see the once stereotyped immigrant is now the one stereotyping the next generation or wave of immigrants, and so on.

Don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying this is right or moral or justifying it in any way, I'm simply explaining the behavior I've observed and experienced.

 
steward
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I'm quite Political with a big P.
We've recently had an election, and from my perspective the results were terrible.
I have some major stereotypes about people that voted the right-wing government back in.
But the National party got back in with an increased majority, and people that voted for them are everywhere
I rarely meet these people-everyone I know and everything I do is so 'leftie' that our paths basically don't cross.
I'm confident they'd have just as many stereotypes about my crowd!

Since we're in the ulcer factory and no-one can shoot me here
The USA.
I'm not talking individual Americans but the big cultural, political, social, economic...stuff...
 
Judith Browning
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CJ, now I have to watch 'Blazing Saddles' my curiosity has the best of me!
 
Cj Sloane
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Dan Grubbs wrote:
We have stereotypes because humans have a default self-centric mindset.



To throw a little permaculture in here I think we have stereotypes because humans tend to see patterns and amplify them. The danger is in pre-judging people, I think.
 
Cj Sloane
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Judith, have you never seen it before? Oy!
 
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I'm working them out. Like Leila, I've been quick to lump people that didn't vote like me into a big category with labels like dumb, uninformed, sheeple and the like.

When I started to notice people calling my side by the same names the epiphany hit me: we're not all that different from each other. We both see issues differently and we're both manipulated by our officials to draw these huge lines in the sand.

Ever since my goal has been to argue my beliefs and tell people to be nice to each other while staying away from blaming sides. I haven't convinced anyone yet .

I have other prejudices I'm not proud of, but I'm working as best as I know how to keep them in check and not pass them onto my children.
 
Judith Browning
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Cj Verde wrote:Judith, have you never seen it before? Oy!


I have not...I am a little backwards that way, many years off grid with no screens at all.....and the movie at the drive in had to be extra special for us to make the trip to see something there. I know what you mean though, I've since caught up on many old movies and I know there are plenty of stereotypes perpetuated in them....and in many books...that are excellent reads with many passe stereotypes.
I guess that is what I am wondering...if there is so much that we notice in hindsight that was stupid thinking what will our labels and such look like several generations down the road?


 
Charles Tarnard
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Judith Browning wrote:

Cj Verde wrote:Judith, have you never seen it before? Oy!


I have not...I am a little backwards that way, many years off grid with no screens at all.....and the movie at the drive in had to be extra special for us to make the trip to see something there. I know what you mean though, I've since caught up on many old movies and I know there are plenty of stereotypes perpetuated in them....and in many books...that are excellent reads with many passe stereotypes.
I guess that is what I am wondering...if there is so much that we notice in hindsight that was stupid thinking what will our labels and such look like several generations down the road?




Without having a magic 8 ball I'm guessing the 'All Muslims are terrorists' will be our most obvious gaffe.
 
R Scott
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Judith Browning wrote: sometimes I think I think we sincerely believe the label, sometimes I think it just seems easier to pick on a group rather than look at them as individuals......



And those wanting power amplify and feed those stereotypes because it lets them divide and conquer.

One step in seeing the truth is recognizing your own worldview/beliefs and how it colors your perception.
 
gardener
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Stereotyping is a pretty important aspect of natural instinct. In terms of survival, it is the thing that lets you make a snap judgement without having to wait until something bites you to decide if it might be dangerous. It comes in two basic forms. First is the learned stereotype and the second is the taught. It doesn't extend to just humans, but everything. Many Europeans thought tomatoes were poisonous for a long time because they were part of the nightshade family and everything they knew said nightshade was poisonous. This sort of thing isn't helped when the majority of cases experienced do indeed match the stereotype.

Right now I am struggling with a growing stereotype in my mind regarding Hispanics. Growing up, the only time I ever met any was when I went to a Chinese restaurant (go figure) working in the back. I didn't really have an opinion one way or the other. When I moved down to Texas, I have been exposed to a pattern. That pattern is that the only Hispanics willing to talk about their citizenship all admit openly to having come here illegally and gained citizenship afterwards. The rest refuse to talk about it at all and get shifty eyed looks like they expect I am trying to get them. Now, I don't talk about it a lot, but if it comes up in a conversation, I don't shy away from it either. Add to that seeing just how absolutely terrible border security is and the fact that numerous jobs here refused to hire me because I don't speak Spanish (about two thirds of the customer base speaks Spanish either as their first language or a dual language. Of that, as many as half speak only broken or no English at all). I am really struggling not to look at everyone through that lens and just assume they are here illegally. Is that fair? Absolutely not, but it is a bias being fed by personal experiences.

On a more superficial level, most people conform to their own stereotypes to some degree. Not because they are that way by nature, but for acceptance. Think about high school. You would change your mode of dress to match the group that accepted you. You talked like the people you hung around with. the list goes on. The biological and psychological aspects go way deeper, but the point is that I don't think we can ever get rid of that part of our nature that causes stereotyping. Instead, we need to recognize what it is and where it comes from so that we can avoid acting on the bias' that we end up forming. Just my two cents (along with my own biggest stereotype issue).
 
Judith Browning
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I like that thought...

Instead, we need to recognize what it is and where it comes from so that we can avoid acting on the bias' that we end up forming



and this one...

One step in seeing the truth is recognizing your own worldview/beliefs and how it colors your perception



 
pollinator
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I like how quickly he gets to the point of the issue.

Another thing regarding stereotypes, I find them to be a rather convoluted form of inductive reasoning because they take one or two aspects of someone or something and try to from a conclusion about that person or thing. Frankly,

 
Dale Hodgins
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I have often made business decisions based on my personal biases. These aren't prejudices passed down from my parents. They are experience based and mostly positive. When looking for a crew to help with removal of a tar and gravel roof, I asked the lady at the employment office for French Canadians. They got it done. When I had a big clump of trees to dispose of, I called the band office of a nearby Native reservation. Wood heating is common there and I had seen several loads of firewood on their trucks. A group of guys showed up an hour later. They heat their own homes and sell wood in town. One guy's wife dug up every useful plant from the garden.

I have a reliability scale in my head. Experience has shown me that, in general, first generation immigrants from Germany and Northern Europe are very reliable. Some of my best customers are female couples. When they say 8 o'clock, they mean 8 o'clock. Positive stereotypes are useful to me. I suppose there's some chance that those from outside of my favorite groups could be left out of some opportunities.

There are a few groups who bother me a great deal. Drunkards, druggies and cigarette smokers have cost me thousands of dollars and endless grief. Since these are aquired traits, I don't see my reservations in dealing with them as anything more than prudent. I regularly deal with all segments of society, including those who aren't on my favorites list. People from all groups can move along my scale, depending on how things go. Several of my best workers have been smoking alcoholics. The best one ever, has a lifelong drug problem.

I think the majority of people, harbor some prejudice or bias. So long as we keep an open mind, they can be used to advantage. I don't always bring these things up, when meeting new people. If one of my brothers or a friend called about workers or about doing work for a particular individual, I would give a complete rundown of all pertinent information. This information is bound to be a mixture of my biases and of my first hand experience.
 
steward
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Redneck is a funny term. For some it brings up images of crew-cut wearing blue collar workers beating the shit out of draft dodgers and little black kids trying to get to school. If your old enough to remember those images. When I came of age in the Mid-70's the outlaw country music scene had fused the hippie/redneck images into something new. As a young kid growing up near Brandeis University I always rooted for the hippies. Then going to high school in Arizona we could wear western hats, riding boots , listen to "Fortunate Son" and Country Joe in the old GMC pickup. My first wife was African American and Muskogee Indian and we used to put "Okie from Muskogee" on the turntable. Jerry Jeff singing"Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother"! I think there was a cultural remediation of the term redneck going on then.
Then again the hippies I associated with were not lazy nor did they feel entitled. There was a vision of a different world [look who's here permies] and everyone knew they would have to struggle for every scrap of it. People built eco-homes, created underground economies, gathered at festivals which took alot of work and cooperation. We started a series of food cooperatives in Phoenix/Tempe Arizona and did not ask for help from Daddy. I remember dirty hippies as being the ones who were out working. Proud of the same sweaty dirty smell the blue collar rednecks were. Some of these people were socialist bleeding hearts and some were not.
The 1970's era longhaired redneck and the 1960s' era flower child did not go away. The just grew and evolved like the times and their influence produced offspring . The offspring is still thriving if you want to look for it.

As far as "Retired Republican" , I still call him "Dad".
 
Judith Browning
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Redneck is a funny term. For some it brings up images of crew-cut wearing blue collar workers beating the shit out of draft dodgers and little black kids trying to get to school. If your old enough to remember those images.

Yes it does and I am and I think that is what D. Logan speaks of above, once you have those images or situations linked to what one sees as a certain type of person, it is hard not to label the group.

and all I can say about 'dirty hippies' is dirt is good, of all things we could be covered in it's a good one...even mud, not a bad thing I think that the stereotype there was, somewhat lead by television and magazines in the sixties. that is where my parents got their paranoia about 'hippies'...not necessarily from what I was or was not doing.
I liked Dales list of positive stereotypes that are somewhat reliable for choosing his employees.

 
wayne stephen
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Judith says : "I think that the stereotype there was, somewhat lead by television and magazines in the sixties. that is where my parents got their paranoia about 'hippies'...not necessarily from what I was or was not doing."

Remember the hippies on "Dragnet" ? Hysterical !



The U.S of A. ! Going strong since 1569!
 
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Humans are basically tribal.  I think this actually has some benefits, historically.  If a group with strong unit cohesion (tribal) ran into a group that didn't (non tribal), the unit with the stronger unit cohesion had a definite advantage because they would support each other most of the time, while the non tribal group is as likely to support the newcomers as the members of their own group. 

As humans, we evaluate and generalize both from our experiences and the reported experiences of those around us (like happens here all the time "how did this plant work for you?").  Because of this, prejudices and stereotypes are unavoidable.  Many stereotypes have a basis in reality, although few, if any are universally true.  What I try to do is realize I have prejudices and stereotypes.  When I find them, I try to both examine them and take them into account, and try to give people the benefit of the doubt.  I probably don't always suceed at this, but I try.

I think it's interesting how a person can shift from 'enemy' to 'friend' in a fraction of a second.  Years ago I lived in an area where my ethnic group was a difinite minority.  Among the majority ethnic group there were a fair number who had definite, obvious prejudices against my group.  One day, as I was in a grocery store, I rounded a corner and found myself about thirty feet away from a stranger.  He looked at me, and his expression immediately assumed the 'stone face'.  A few seconds later, one of my kids came around the corner, and raced up to me to be picked up.  The stone face on the stranger disappeared and we smiled at each other.  I had switched from the 'stranger, probably enemy' category to a fellow family man, a young father, a person. 

I have since experienced this in myself many times, as I have run into strangers and had to reevaluate my first impression, because either my prejudice/stereotype was flawed or they were the exception to the rule.  There have also been a lot of times when my initial impression seemed to be accurate.

I have realized over the years that I have a definite prejudice towards good looking women.  (I know, call me sexist, but I can't help it).  I also have prejudices against some groups (such as drunks and druggies, arrogantor rude people).  I have prejudices for some other groups, based on my experience over the years.  The key, in my opinion, is to not hold onto my first impressions too tightly.  Humanity is a very mixed bag, and there are good and bad in every group I've come across, but recognize that there are general tendencies.

What allows different groups to work together is when we form a larger group identity, one that includes the 'other'.  This can be done with ideologies, religions, or all buying into a common set of rules (a new 'tribal code').  (I guess all three of these things are different sides of the same thing).  A more sinister way to do it is by demonizing a third group to draw your two groups together temporarily to face the 'enemy', which may not be an enemy at all, except by you declaring war on them.

I see a lot of political efforts (both on the left and right) to divide people into ethnic, religious and even gender groups that are supposed to define who you are and how you vote and what you think.  Those who fail to buy into this scheme are vilified as traitors to their group, or as pawns of the power structure.  This entire concept is destructive.  If we are really that different and our groups really define us, then we might as well start shooting at each other now, because that's where it will end up if their identity politics are true.

There has also been a lot of effort devoted to trying to include everyone in the group.  This has led to the problem that many priviously accepted standards of behavior have been discarded, since some groups either reject the standard or don't conform to the norms and view enforcement as discriminatory.  The closest we can come right now is legal or illegal, which has far less moral authority.  Anyway, we have  probably all seen examples where a good lawyer, a bribed judge or highly motivated lobbyists can change laws overnight.

Laws are reflections of what society says it simply won't accept.  Since I'm writing on Permies, I can probably safely point to the recent Monsanto conviction as an example of behavior that society shouldn't have to accept.  The laws of permaculture are a good place to start.

The only workable alternative I see is to work together to create a 'tribal code' that allows us to live in peace with each other.  C.S. Lewis referred to the general, universal rules of virtually all traditional societies as the "Tao".  Maybe a good place to start would be there, the rules that governed within societies, only now we include everyone, which no traditional society that I know of ever did. 



 
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I think one of the greatest tools for fighting stereotypes/prejudice is exposure to different groups. I grew up in a city with a decent racial mix, and one of my best friends was black (me being white) so looking back I don't recall having any particular prejudices. My first house was at the edge of a pretty bad neighborhood that I would walk around without issue, perhaps being 6'6" and 250 played a part there heh!

While I grew up with mom in the north, my dad bounced between family in the south and deep south, and when I went to visit his family I'd live how they lived, up in the "hollow", carrying a 20 gauge shotgun at age 8 in case there was a snake or wild dogs when you walked over the ridge from one house to the other. I joke with people about how one of the houses in particular reminded me of Deliverance (when they drop off the cars, and the dueling banjo song happens), but I thought the place was nice- hand built cabin, wood stove heating, and a little pond in the front. Of course we were sitting on the front porch shooting beer cans out in the yard to see if this "city boy" knew what iron sites were (yup!), and they had an outhouse around back versus indoor plumbing.

My mom's family was all in the north country, mostly hog farming, and the summers/vacations that I wasn't down south I was out on the farm. When I got spoiled on TV and toys it could be boring to go without, but I was always an animal fan and liked getting my hands dirty. Now when I pass a (non industrial) farm and smell the manure, it makes me smile while those with me gag, and I think it smells great.

When I later moved as an adult a bit south, it became very apparent that the locals were very prejudiced- white and black alike, if there was a problem in that city everyone knew the cause was "those other people". Even had people at work come close to saying (they used more PC wording) "I know you're racist against black folk, because you're white after all". Eventually got sick of all the racism and moved out west.

When I go to watch standup comedy, there's a lot of jokes based off stereotypes. You get redneck jokes about being cheap and all that, and I recall how my dad's family made due with what they had to survive. He would shoot pigeons off the phone lines with a sling shot so they literally could add meat to soup for dinner when he was a kid. I didn't have that level of food issues but I recall sleeping on a couch on the front porch a few times when I visited because they had just enough space for themselves and not much more. It was normal, maybe because I was a kid and it was family so I didn't have the prejudices built up from listening to the "city tribe" putting down the "country tribe".

But the more various "tribes" I've been a part of, the less I'm willing to put up with the "us versus them" mentality that's becoming the norm at least in the USA. It's a great tool to distract people from real issues, and what better way to solve all your problems, than by blaming them all on somebody else?
 
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