The thing with stereotypes

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

Stereotypes are fake. They're ignorant, racist and usually end up hurting people. Stereotypes don't represent certain people, and there is so much more to people than just those stereotypes. But they do have some true to them, more often than not.

If you end up being hurt because of this, then I'm sorry, but I'm really not. If you feel like you're being made fun of, then I am probably talking about you, and sorry if you get butthurt, but deal with it. So, stereotypes are usually characteristics about certain people. They obviously don't tell the truth, but they are based on something, right? 

Let's take one pretty well known stereotype: all Americans have a shit ton of guns. That's not true, as there are millions of Americans who don't have guns and don't even want one, but why is that a common thought? First of all, the US has pretty laid back gun laws, in comparison to most other Western countries. The fact that their constitution states everyone has the right to bear arms, doesn't help with it. 

I partly see myself believeing this stereotype, because all the Americans I personally know, have guns. One friend of mine managed to shock me before I got to know him better, because he just sent me a selfie and he had two rifles on his table. To me as an European, it's ridiculous that it's okay to keep guns just laying around on your desk, especially since he has a cat and I was worried the cat was going to get hurt by them or something. So, there maybe is a reason why that stereotype is one in the first place, even if it doesn't apply to all people.

Another example, which I personally have to face quite often when talking to people who don't live in Finland, is that they find it odd I'm sober and can speak to people. The normal stereotype about Finns is that we're antisocial and always drunk. Well, that might be true, considering we have so much alcoholics here, and because I am eighteen and most my friends are from 15 to 20, about 80% of my friends are drunk at least two times a week. Sometimes, me included, because c'mon, getting free drinks at a bar from random strangers is quite easy when you're a girl. 

And holy shit, am I antisocial. If I could live with two people my entie life and only talk to them, they would be my cats. I am social when I need to be, but I need my space. I need my time alone when I don't have to talk to anyone, safe for my cats maybe. This doesn't apply to everyone though, obviously. My mom for example is ridiculously social and always talking to random people, while I just stand awkwardly next to her with my headphones on. I know people, even young people, who are absolutists, and don't drink at all. So yes, stereotypes don't apply to all people in this case either.

However, there is something great about the fact that others think someting of us because we are someone else. It's the fact that we can hide behind them. This is probably the stereotypical Finnish person in me speaking, but I love the fact that many foreigners expect me to be quiet and don't talk to me. In some situations, that's a relief, and I can just mind my own business without having to smalltalk to a random person I really don't give a shit about.

I do the same thing as well, though. If I'm talking to a person from Brussels, I somehow expect them to know all about the EU and that they can give me an interesting opinion on  the issue, only to find out that hey, just because they live in a city that has all the EU bullshit, doesn't mean they understand it, let alone approve of it. Then I'm confused when all they want to talk about is how Finnish beer is shit and Belgians make the best beers in the world. But hey, they can do with the stereotype that Belgians know everything about beer, and look at that, we have something in common: alcohol. 

Seriously, stereotypes are not always true, but they are fun, if no one gets hurt about them and people actually concentrate on getting to know the individual behind the nationality. That's what people should remember, as reading too much into stereotypes might make you hate someone before actually even meeting them. 

Submitted: April 13, 2019

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That last sentence says it all, helmu. Well considered essay as always.

Sat, April 13th, 2019 7:49pm

Bert Broomberg

Interesting read again. Remember that stereotypes are not just about nationalities or race, they can also be about other things connected ot groups of people, like professions, sports, hobbies, appearances etc. That's why I wouldn't make the claim stereotypes are racist. A lot of them are, but a whole other buch of them have got nothing to do with race. You are absolutely right about stereotypes hurting lots of people.

Sun, April 14th, 2019 12:28pm

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