Cuts Like a Knife

Thought for the day

Stereotypes are like knives.  They are immensely useful in our everyday lives.  In fact, it is hard to imagine life without them.  One must wield them carefully, however, for they can cause great pain, damage lives and incite war.

Stereotypes, or “categorical thinking”, allow us to sift through large amounts of data quickly.  From an evolutionary standpoint, stereotyping allowed our ancestors to determine friend from foe, and quickly.

In an international setting, stereotypes allow us to understand the basic cultural norms and traditions of a society, allowing us to be culturally sensitive and aware.  We interact with individual people, however.  Much as you, dear reader, cannot be easily and pithily defined based on certain cultural or genetic characteristics, a citizen of a country different from yours cannot be easily summed up in a stereotype.  Societies are filled with a range of personalities, experiences, and all of the other factors that make you you.

So, it’s okay to stereotype, but use your stereotype very carefully.

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Published in: on March 9, 2009 at 18:32  Comments Off on Cuts Like a Knife  
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