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Why do stereotypes exist?

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Why do stereotypes exist?

Chase Cariens, Staff Writer

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Stereotypes exist everywhere. They generalize and confine people to believing they cannot be more than who they are. Numerous types of stereotypes exist in our society, and I believe one of the most prevalent places stereotyping resides is in high school.

Almost everyone has been assigned or has assigned a stereotype to someone else. We make up in our heads who we should interact with and who we should avoid. Everyone has their own stereotypes, which leads to many students being put into categories the other students have selected for them.
I know for a fact that people have assigned stereotypes to me, and the truth is that I don’t want to know all of them. Some of them are positive, but I believe there has to be at least one person who has assigned a negative stereotype to me, and I am okay with that.

Most of my life I have been labeled as smart, and I am fine with people calling me smart. What I am not fine with, however, is when I am classified as one of the “smart kids.” I do not want to know that I am a part of the “smart kids,” while there may be some other person who might be labeled as a “dumb kid.”

I believe that labeling someone according to their intelligence is utterly wrong. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, and just because a person completely understands one topic does not mean they understand all of them. Being called smart makes me really happy, but being a part of a group of “smart kids” feels wrong to me.

Countless versions of stereotypes exist in places other than the high school. In older times, there were people being put into groups just because of the color of their skin. The sad thing is; I still see this happening today. People are labeled as black, white, and many other races, but this should not define the way we act and how we feel.

I have realized that no matter what a person may look like on the outside, they might be completely different than what they seem. I have made friends with all sorts of people, and I did not care what “group” they belonged to. I realize that even though my friends act differently, that doesn’t mean we don’t have anything in common.

I believe we are meant to be kind to everyone and to break down these social barriers that society has put up for us over the years. We should extend our hands toward people who need it most and accept each others differences. If no one was different then the world would be an unexciting, terrible place to live in.

People are so much more interesting than they seem. Everyone has a story behind their lives that makes them who they are. So MV students, I please ask that you stop assigning stereotypes to others and start learning more about who your peers truly are.

 

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