Boxes


Today in English class, I heard two of my classmates arguing. One is a girl, a dancer, and the other a boy. The boy was making jokes about  a boy dancer and calling him gay. The girl was telling him that he was stereotyping and that it was wrong.

I’ve always had mixed views on stereotypes. A lot of people my age say it’s wrong or cruel, and want to eliminate it from human thinking. While I agree it can be harsh, I can’t help but feel like they don’t truly understand how to use stereotypes.

Essentially, stereotyping is not wrong. Stereotyping is a system or puzzle, and it is a part of human thought. Without systems for math and science, humans would not have learned to sell or trade, build or grow. Stereotyping in terms of socializing happens automatically. One judges a person on the way he or she approaches their life and obligations. If one find someone who has a similar approach to theirs, those two are bound to get along better and try to become friends. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Because I have friends who have similar approaches (in work) to me, I am always pushing myself to do a little bit better.

However, my peers only see stereotyping as one thing – Emo, Goth, Prep, Whore, Asshole, Rocker, Nerd –  then pick out all the bad attributes that come with that box, and either avoid those in it or throw the (supposed) bad characteristics back into their faces.

My peers want to eliminate stereotyping because this is the only way they’ve ever seen it used, but it’s impossible to erase. It is how the human mind works, how it keeps our society growing and functioning. There is no way of removing stereotyping, only changing the way it affects us.

If you use stereotyping correctly, you’ll find that you are just assessing what a person is like. You learn of their interests and mannerisms, and why they are like that. If you use it incorrectly, you pick out attributes and make them horrible. You let the differences get in the way of talking or understanding what each other is about.

Letting their differences keep them in boxes – that was what this boy did wrong.

How do you view stereotypes?

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