The Mental Cage Called Stereotyping

Stereotyping is a mental cage in the sense that it keeps your mind closed. Don’t you hate it when you are categorized with a group of people either because of your ethnic group, gender, race or religion? It is one of my pet peeves; stereotyping is one of the few things that infuriate me.

Allport (1954) stated that, whether favourable or unfavourable, a stereotype is an exaggerated belief asserted with a category. Stereotypes are fixed metal images in someone’s head.

So I am on a date with this dashing young man, and we are trying to get to know each other better; the dude asks, “what state are you from?” And I tell him I am from Imo state and he went further to ask where in Imo and I tell him “I am from Mbaise” and he says “I heard y’all eat humans, so do you eat humans…?” He was joking, but that still touched a nerve. With the straightest face I replied, “I don’t eat that anymore. It’s too hard to chew on; it takes too long to get soft, it gives me heartburn, everything about it is stressful”.

The horror on his face had to be the most beautiful thing I have seen, and that was when I created an already made answer for any stereotype I would be classified with. Don’t worry; I told him that it was just a joke ( I am not a psychopath to leave him traumatized).

Stereotype Is A Mental Cage
Stereotype Is A Mental Cage

Why Stereotyping Is A Mental Cage

Generalizing a specific attribute or attitude to a particular group of people is a backward and small-minded way of thinking, in my opinion. I get that people’s personalities could be influenced by the society they live in, hence making people who live in the same geographical area have some common qualities.

I feel there is more to a person than their ethnicity, religion, gender or race. It is irritating to make comments like “Igbo people can do anything for the love of money” First, I think we all can do anything for money, just up to a certain degree. If you can’t do “anything” for money, why are you still going to that crappy job? You could lay in bed all day.

From all of my experiences, I have understood that stereotype is a word that has cancelled out the word unity and peace, and trust me, we actually have a better chance of standing together than we do divided. In my opinion, getting rid of “stereotypes” is a big step in the right direction as a country.

Stereotyping is a mental cage that restricts you from experiencing the surreal feeling of meeting beautiful people and cultures; it is a mental box that needs to be broken out of. We need to understand that we are all humans, we could be a little different, but we should be able to respect our diversity. The truth is that some attributes and attitudes are heightened in some groups of people than others.

A stereotype is essentially acquired as a result of the socio-cultural condition of our society. It is based on rumours, stories and personal experiences. We tend to take on what culture defines for us.

So, it has been established that stereotypes are unjustified and annoying and. Although stereotypes are not entirely false, psychologists say we create mental shortcuts called “heuristics”; we need them to help us navigate the world better.

Stereotyping is as old as time and a very natural thing we do from time to time, but very harmful to our social life. As for you guys, my beautiful/ handsome readers, I would love to read the ridiculous stereotypical statement anyone has made to you. So please go to the comment section, let’s talk.

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