This entry was written as part of Peeve Week 2: Stereotypes.
Not many people like being stereotyped, myself included. Stereotypes put you in a box with a label on it. Once you’ve been stereotyped, you are seen only in the context of “your” box. Kiss rational thought goodbye because it is “impossible” for you to think outside of “your” box.
The Young Man Stereotype
This one probably bothers me the most, at least at this point of life. Since I am a young man (25), I must be out drinking all weekend and partying it up at all the clubs. When I started working in Germany, one of the secretaries introduced me to the other young man working there, seeing as we were roughly the same age, thus must have everything in common. Well, once we figured out that I wasn’t much interested in the “night scene”, we didn’t have much in common. The sad part about this one is that it is fairly accurate for my age group; I just don’t fit it very well.
The Christian Stereotype
Nothing like a little religion to get some stereotypes going. America is rife with with people who call themselves Christians. Not many people have a problem with that. There is a subset of that group which takes what the Bible says and applies it to life (probably “fundamentalist” is the most popular
label). Well, I’d put myself in that group (oops, just stuck myself in a box). 🙂 The fun part comes in when people figure out that that’s how I live or it comes up in conversation. At that point, I no longer am capable of rational thought, I sit at home all day and read the Bible (King James Version, of course), and my idea of fun is going to church 5 times a week. All of which isn’t true: stick around on this blog long enough and you’ll find out I can string thoughts together fairly well. 🙂
I do read the Bible, but prefer the New American Standard Version. I don’t think I’ve ever been to church 5 times in one week, although I do enjoy going to church. I also happen to enjoy playing computer games, hanging out with friends, surfing the web, watching movies, reading a good novel, etc.
Why I Don’t Like Stereotypes
I don’t like stereotypes because they are the easy way out of getting to know a person. If I can label you, I “know” you. Unfortunately, stereotypes are hardly ever accurate when you get down to a personal level. The longer you know a person, the better you come to know how they think and what they think on various topics. Oddly enough, people tend to turn out to be far more complicated than the stereotypes that can be applied to them.
A last thought: the ironic part of this is that I just wrote a stereotype about being stereotyped. As with all stereotypes, what I wrote is broadly accurate, but becomes less and less so on a personal basis. 🙂
Cetroyer writes to us from Germany. He is also a very active member and moderator/editor of this blog.