If you are asked to call out words and phrases used to
describe “old people”, what will your answer be? Are
they “gray hair”, “bad vision”, or “retired”? Whatever they are, most of the
things you wrote down, which used to describe certain groups of people, are
stereotypes: the brief descriptions lump everyone together and treat them as if
they were the same. Indeed, from the past to the present and towards possible futures,
we can always find ourselves in a situation where we make stereotypes for a
large group of people. In today’s society, as the world we live in is getting
smaller and becoming more integrated, the term ‘stereotype’ even seems to be more popular and be a part
of our daily life. According to Robles (2013), stereotypes have become a big
problem in our modern world. By stereotyping, we judge people through their gender, appearance, personality, nationality and
other things. Devine (1989) suggested that stereotyping is a natural process,
makes it inevitable. Every human being is intended to have them in the way we
think or behave, even if we want it or not, both intentionally and unintentionally.
Stereotypes, thus, weaken our ability and depress our performance in life (Wei,
n.d). In fact, a lot of discussion on
this topic have been raised. This paper, based on secondary research, provides
the definition, effects of stereotypes and suggests some solutions to reduce
stereotypes in order to promote an bilateral relation in society and in the
2.1. What is
the concept of stereotype?
The definition of stereotype derives from existing sources of
information about specific people and selective perceptions developed to
explain their behavior, which is the core part of each person.
In general, that people’s stereotype comes into existence is
to justify convinced prejudices and strengthen our better image in comparision
with the others. Indeed, it is described by Brown (1995, P.8) as “the holding
of derogatory social attitudes or cognitive beliefs, the expression of negative
affect, or the display of hostile or discriminatory behavior towards members of
a group on account of their membership to that group”.
This better understanding of what a stereotype is now leads
us to the ealier question “Where do stereotypes come from?”. Basically, we
interact with the “texts” of society, which are any and all aspects of a culture
(such as literature, art, music, and so on) and anything else that may be
viewed, heard, read, smelled, tasted, or touched and interpreted (everything
ranging from conversations between parents, friends, television ads, a
teacher’s glare, and beyond) (Jones, 2002). Over time, we read these ‘texts’
everyday automatically and abstract meaning from them via personal experience
and direct interaction.