“Everyone generalises from one example. At least I do”. Steven Brust
Stereotype- to simply categorise people or things based on preconceived ideas.
Many arguments I’ve had with my husband, had to do with my general opinion on certain issues. Perhaps the most irrelevant. But rather concerning, as he is ever quick to call my attention to the words I use. Apparently, I am fond of generalising. And for every time I gave it a thought, It only left me with a clearer perspective on how to see the world.
We were once asked in French class to share stereotypes about each others nationality. I was not only irritated, but surprised at the misconceptions. To even think that Africa was a country was annoying enough. A black girl from Nigeria equates to uncivilised, poor, corrupt and up to no good. And how lions and gorillas were seen everywhere in Africa. Well I only saw those animals for the first time last week (In Europe). While I also assumed Koreans and Japanese were Chinese. Belgians are terrible at being friendly, all Indians smell of garlic, people with piercings and tattoos are junkies, the French are rude, lazy and never speak English…And the list goes on. I guess the feeling from the others if asked, would be mutual.
“The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but they’re incomplete. They make the single story the only story”. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
It is quite convenient to say we may have been victims of stereotypes, but the real question is ‘are we not also guilty of drawing conclusions on the basis of hearsay about a person/thing even before it is really known to us?’ Whether believing a single story or judging people/things based on other people’s perception.
“Judgements prevents us from seeing the good that lies beyond appearances” Wayne Dyer
Not only is stereotyping an easy yet dangerous way to live, choosing to dwell on it disturbs our own peace. As such that instead of being concious of who we really are as human beings, we beg the question ‘do I stand a chance in the eyes of this stranger?’ Which I think is only normal, as one of the greatest principle of human nature is craving to be appreciated. People even go as far as disclaiming their true origin for fear of what others might think of them.
“When you judge another, you do not define them. You define yourself”. Wayne Dyer
Truth is; that one person treated us a certain way, doesn’t necessarily mean people from a similar group are entirely the same. Or someone said it was bad- that bad thing might be the best thing you’ll ever experience. I personally feel that every human should be given a chance, regardless. “If you judge people, you have no time to Love them” Mother Theresa
P.S “The pictures on this post have been taken in the rail road station of Luik (Liège). For a long time this city had a bad reputation as being old, poor, dirty … For years the city worked hard to improve their image but for most people the stereotype persisted. They only really succeeded after they constructed this new, open and very modern building. It was an eye opener, suddenly people noticed that the city was not that bad at all, and that even the old part was charming. So let’s welcome the little shocks in our daily life, the moments you suddenly make connection with a foreigner, the moment ‘your truth’ falls apart, and the moments we get a new perspective. Or is this a stereotype vision 🙂 ?