Stereotypes are common generalizations concerning a particular group of people. Stereotyping involves assigning particular set of characteristics to the group. Stereotypes can be positive or negative. Stereotypes are coined based on the availability of a consistent and clear attribute that is associated with that particular group.
The stereotyped individuals or groups consider it an insult and at times quite disturbing since they may experience apprehension of unfair treatment; it psychologically affects the thinking of those who are the victims. Stereotyping can be done in two ways: when there is generalization in the descriptions and attributes, and through biases which are subconscious in form. Stereotyping can be synonymously used with prejudice (USNews, 2010).
The three main stereotypes that will be discussed in this essay are: All Muslims are terrorists; All Jamaicans smoke weed and; All Italians are in mob.
All Muslims are terrorists: This is a common stereotype among the countries of the world but it is predominant in United States of America and its allies. This stereotyping was widespread and gained prominence following the numerous bombing missions by the Al-Qaeda and religious fundamentalism that is associated with Islamic faith. To understand the arguments behind this stereotype, we should employ logic.
Logic is the study of principles of reasoning; this reasoning may be good or bad. Logic is important in the sense that it enables us to examine an argument more critically. The premise of the argument on this stereotyping that Muslims are terrorists is that people accept this claim without challenging it. This stereotype is only based on a single experience and arguments about stereotypes are judged on one line of conclusion.
The conclusion here is that from the association of some Muslims with terrorism all Muslims are terrorists (Mosser, 2011). The common mistakes that are found in the argument are that there may be variations in attitudes which are dogmatism and skepticism. Dogmatism prevents the acknowledgement of the other side of the argument.
All Jamaicans smoke weed: Weed is associated with fans of reggae and since Jamaica has a lot of reggae fans by the fact that reggae is rooted in Jamaica then all Jamaicans are weed smokers. In order to understand the argument about this stereotype, it is important to substantiate the claims that accompany the stereotype.
The claim in this argument is that all Jamaicans are weed smokers. The conclusion concerning this claim is true since it is a mental construction. This is because it is based on inductive reasoning and no one has gone the extra mile to ascertain whether all Jamaicans smokes weed. For this claim and conclusion to be confirmed, all premises guiding arguments must be followed. First this claim needs to be evaluated and then the real issues concerning the dispute identified.
The mistakes that are often found in such arguments are matters of predetermined mindset and no party is willing to cede ground on either side of the argument and every side in the argument will tend to give facts to support the claim. Attitude is a common factor that affects an argument since it defines the side of the story.
All Italians are in a mob: It is generally believed that most Italians are goons and they are known to act in accordance with mob psychology. The argument underlying this debate is that in every competition or establishment, Italians are known for causing mayhem. The standardized mental picture of the Italians in the USA is depicted in movies where since the days of Godfather several movies featuring the Italians as criminals have been produced.
The mistake in this argument is the since the mental picture is already developed, the mistake of how to convince those making the claims is proving hard. Also any debate about stereotyping is often prejudiced and biased since these are the two premises with which stereotypes are coined. These arguments affect that image of the victims in the society (Mosser, 2011). After watching the film on the effect of pre-existing beliefs on logical reasoning, I can conclude that they indeed distort individual decisions and reasoning.
The pre-determined beliefs about homosexuality distort the principle of logical reasoning. It is noticeable that human beings are skeptical when it comes to information that they have made up their minds concerning it. The pre-existing beliefs concerning homosexuality confirm the fact that the stereotyped group is uncomfortable about their perceived status and as such their mental thinking is affected.
Also people around them feel guilty by association (INTELCOM, n.d.). Stereotyped groups are often aggressive; they over eat and often experience difficulty in making rational decisions. Stereotyping, especially negative stereotyping has a lasting psychological impression on the victim. The stereotyped group during associations tends to be aggressive and display some sense of self control (USNews, 2010).
Stereotyping is a very bad phenomenon, it can inflict mental torture and at an extreme level psychological trauma especially when that person is undertaking studies. The stereotype against the Muslims has taken a wide form to the extent that the Muslims are discriminated in particular countries.
INTELCOM. (n.d.). How pre-existing Beliefs Distort Logical reasoning. Retrieved on 29/08/2011 from: http://searchcenter.intelecomonline.net/playClipDirect.aspx?id=E22DB555B562B463C0F5EE35DE315BCB5CA9621ED0132E1823264876125E799D1789474455514F32C8FEA4B7688954B4
Mosser, K. (2011). An introduction to logic. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education.
USNews. (2010). Stereotyping Has Lasting Negative Impact, Prejudice has lingering effects, study shows. Retrieved on 29/08/2011 from: http://www.usnews.com/science/articles/2010/08/12/stereotyping-has-lasting-negative-impact