Stereo Type A

>> Sunday, September 17, 2006

Lately, I've noticed a lot of talk about stereotyping and racism on TV. Of course, everybody made a big deal out of it when the popular show "Survivor" seperated the contestants by race for the competition. The latest episodes of Mel Gibson proved that his film "Passion of the Christ" is really an anti-semitic movie. "20/20" talked about stereotypes in depth this week. It was interesting because it brought up a theory that there is no difference in people from different racial background. The difference that exists is because people perceive themselves to be one way or the other. Like Blacks are better in athletics because they believe that because they are Black, they should be better in sports so they try harder and hence perform better. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because you have confidence on what you do, so you do better. It's very inspiring. In that, pep talk works and I should really have more confidence in my daily life. If I really believe I can do something, I could really do it and it's really not a cliche. One marvels in the power of one's mind.

I never understand what's so bad about stereotypes. It's animal instincts. When I walk on streets at night, I instinctively avoid small, dark alleys because it is stereotypical that dark alleys are more dangerous to walk on big lighted street where a lot of people are. You call it stereotypes, I call it "common sense". Fat people are more proned to diabetes and heart-related illness, of course some fat people can lived to their 100s, although very rare. But I'm going to the gym to lose weight. You called stereotypes, I call it "statistics". If I'm walking down the street and see a loud, rowdy bunch of kids or guys walking towards me, I'll be more alert. I sure won't be as alert if they were female. You called it stereotype, I call it "self-protection".

Maybe I'm a sexist, I remember in my psychology class, the professor gave us a sheet of 25 words (like "boat", "salt", "pepper", "car", etc) and ask us to assigna gender to each word. After we did that she ask us how many words were we able to assign a gender. Me, thinking that it was a trick test assigned a gender to almost every word and after I told her what I did she told me that due to the country I'm from, I might be sexually biased. Well, I did what I did because when I learned French, there is a gender assigned to every object (e.g. the table in French is "La Table", "La" is in this case "Feminine", because table in french is a feminine object.) The same goes with Spanish, so I felt I was so wronged at that time, and I still do. I have the tendency to be a gentleman, opening doors and carrying heavy object for my female counterpart, but by doing so, means that I'm gender aware, which makes me a sexist.

I don't have much problems with stereotypes though, you can call me name like "Chink" or "Fag". It doesn't mean much to me. I don't have much value assigned to those words. In "20/20", there was this gay guy who told his parents that he was gay when he was 13, and his mom throw him out on the streets because of that. He turned tricks to earn a living and a bunch of "White-Supremacist" or "KKK members" beat the s#!t out of him until he was lying in a pool of his own blood half-dead. Twenty-years later one of the white-supremacist realized he has been hurting people all his life and moved out of his neighborhood and changed his behavior and become one of the "good guy". He works for this "Museum of Tolerance" and befriended one of the staff and finds out that the staff was the "Fag" that he and his friends beat up 20 years ago. His response was "There were so many people I used to beat up, I used to hate everybody." When asked "But he's gay, doesn't it bother you still? How can you be friends with him." His response is "He's still human, ain't he?" So if he is changed now, who can we blame for his past actions? Like my psychology professor, all I can blame is his upbringing.

We are all brought up differently, we were given all different information when we grew up. We were given different education. My grandma used to say Indians smell, my uncle is scared that I live in a black neighborhood and ask why my apartment doesn't have a gate in front of it and constantly reminding me to move to a "better" neighborhood. While, in reality I live in one of the best neighborhoods in my city. They were brought up differently than me, I have my own set of prejudice but blacks being criminals are not one of them. Certain religions taught us that homosexuality is a sin. Being a homosexual, I don't feel like it is one but I certainly can feel the pressure from other people. I think that is the difference, really, as long as you are not in my face telling me that you think what I'm doing is a sin then we can live in peace. Indians, Orthodox Jews and vegetarians don't go condemning people and rally in supermarkets when others don't oblige with their own dietary constraints whether religious or not. I guess, what I'm trying to say is "You have a right to believe in what you believe in, just don't make other people to obey your personal rules. Because I do believe that everybody should stop smoking and use alternative energy for cars and home, and that cable TV and Internet costs too goddarn much, and women should never wear things as torturous as heels. But you'll never see me riup the heels out of people passing by me on the street.

We all have our own values and its great, you can even judge people with your own values. But everybody is free to do what he/she will, it's called free will. When you act upon it and take away other's opportunity or try to take away other's free will based on your own values, you are going too far. --- "Live and let live"

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