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You are walking home at 9 pm in a dark, calm neighborhood. As you round the corner you notice a tall hooded figure walking towards you slowly and with care. What will your first instinct be? Many people would choose to walk the other way or cross the street without knowing what that person’s intentions are. This type of situation is vastly discussed in the article, “Black Men and Public Space,” by Brent Staples, a journalist with a major in psychology from the University of Chicago. In the article, Staples uses personal encounters to explain his thoughts on stereotyping others without personally knowing them. Many people that stereotype others do not notice that stereotyping is degrading towards other people and it is an overall wrong thing to do that can potentially ruin a person’s life.
Stereotyping is degrading towards other people and could lead to false accusations. As explained in the article Staples recalls, “It was clear that she thought herself the quarry of a mugger, a rapist, or worse.” (25) This quote is showing readers that stereotypes can cause people to make certain assumptions about a certain race or ethnicity. People should be able to walk down the street without automatically being categorized as a villain. Categorizing people without knowing them is demeaning and shows a lack of respect towards them. Thus, stereotyping can easily make someone feel lesser of themselves and lead to people falsely assuming another’s character without knowing who they are and what their exact intentions are.
When it comes to stereotyping, racism isn’t an uncommon way to stereotype in today’s society. Many people in the black community are often mistreated or misjudged based on the stereotypes that society labels them as . In the article Staples describes stereotypes often connected to African American males. In the article Staples states, “Mistaking the reporter for the killer, police officers hauled him from his car at gunpoint and but for his press credentials, would probably have tried to book him.”(26) In other words people stereotype towards more people in the black community, automatically categorizing them as criminals.This shows people that many do not take their feelings into consideration. Many see others as threats and believe that they are below them in social status. In short, people in the black community are still humans and deserve to be based off of character rather than being labeled by stereotypes that will not always be true.
Many people will argue that stereotyping is dehumanizing, racist, or sexist towards other people. Staples points out, “Over the years, I learned to smother the rage I felt also often being taken for a criminal. Not to do so would surely have led to madness,”(27). Stereotyping may be degrading but others feel the need to not stereotype to help with the safety of others. Many believe that stereotyping is necessary when looking out for the safety of others. While this may sometimes be true, stereotyping a person can make them feel unsafe in an area that they normally feel safe in and doesn’t give them the free will to do certain things. Stereotyping can lead to biased people that, in certain cases, can take away certain opportunities from different people based on the stereotypes they are given by society.
In short, stereotyping is overall seen as negative and make people feel like “outsiders” and unprotected in their own community.Many people need to start realizing the harm that stereotyping a person can do. Not only 9is it degrading towards other people but it is also showing a lack of respect that certain people have towards certain ethnicities. To conclude, people should start to take the other person’s feelings before they decide to stereotype and realize that they could possibly be ruining someone’s life in the long run.