Although the concept of stereotyping has been defined since the late eighteenth century, I have a feeling it has been projected by human beings for much longer. That being said, the use of the word stereotype has grown by three hundred percent since the early 1900s…but why? Perhaps our language has developed and we have written about stereotypes more often, trying to find out why they exist, how they exist and what to do about them existing. What’s more likely is that far more people are both stereotyping and being stereotyped. So what exactly is a stereotype?
Stereotypes are both fixed and oversimplified ideas directed towards a particular other. In action, stereotyping is an entitled view of another projected outwards. Words to describe stereotypes include label, typecast, pigeonhole and the infamous categorization of others. So why would we do this more than ever before? Who benefits from this? Are those who benefit from this held accountable?
I would like offer a real-life example but first let’s get to know the ins and outs of stereotypical suffering. Did you know that we mutually suffer when we project stereotypes onto other human beings? When we are the target of discrimination we feel this projected stigma. We may or may not internalize it, depending on our coping and reasoning abilities, but we do have to defend ourselves against such an influence. When we stigmatize others, placing them in categories, we determine who they are from a judgement we have constructed. We then subconsciously internalize this fear, believing that we may become the other we have created or encouraged. If there was no stereotyping, we would not have the fear of becoming stereotyped. We would not have an external barrier influencing a low sense of vitality or the added trigger to our fight or flight response. When we stereotype others, we both suffer.
Each and every interaction we have in life, whether silence or rage and everywhere in-between, we are influencing both our lives and the lives of those who come into our contact. One of the most influential positions one may have in life is writing a weekly article, in a local newspaper, in a small town, that may or may not have a healthy level of diversity to explore and grow from in daily life.
A world that allows ‘stereotypical suffering’ is not the world I choose live in and it is not the world that our community members should be subjected to. The people of power, those in positions that influence our thoughts and actions in daily life, whether we like it or not, are responsible for the welfare of the community they project their perspectives onto. As Canadian citizens we have the right to be protected from hateful speech and discriminatory actions aimed as specific identifiable groups including age, gender, identity, sexual orientation, race, ability, origin, language, color and religion.
Enforcing stereotypes has no right in journalism or public opinion pieces, as it encourages, develops and enforces stereotypes within the community and at large. Publicized stereotyping develops propaganda to actively avoid a community that is inclusive, respectful and dignified.
Yes it is our life. Yes it is our choice. Yes we all have something to share. We also have the responsibility to think before speaking. Yes we must recognize that our actions and inactions influence ourselves and the world around us. Yes we have the duty to speak up against hateful speech, discriminatory actions and stigmatized inactions. Yes we will speak out against injustice. We do so because classification, or stereotyping, is the first stage in the process of genocide.
Say it loud and say it proud, we have the right to defend our freedom from projected hate.
The follow offers the roots to which our wave of wisdom may be found:
Meet Will Jones, a weekly columnist who lets us better understand the suffering in stereotyping and the destruction that can be caused in the lives of many when we are careless with our words. Recently he wrote an article in the Haliburton Highlander titled ‘Fruity Beers and Societal Fears’ which you can find at the link below. Time and time again Will Jones takes advantage of his influential position as a journalist to enforce stereotypes into our community and onto our community members. Last week the ‘grey zone’ became clear. Enough is enough.
Will Jones is not an ethical journalist, his idea of journalism consists of underlying and blatant disrespect for the human beings he appear to have no empathy for. If Will Jones lacks integrity in his actions, in which he puts publicly into words, he has absolutely no right in journalism. His personal opinions are hateful, deceitful and offer a complete lack of regard to the individuals of our communities who do not fit into his boxes, his categorizations or his perspective as a “stereotypical middle-aged white guy who likes girls”. If he stereotypes himself you can bet he does so onto others.
I predict that until Will Jones has personally attacked your point of view, your personal experiences, your ability as a Canadian citizen to choose and act as you wish without harming another, this Ontario community will continue to let his personal opinions be published in a public newspaper. Do you resemble his perspective as a “stereotypical middle-aged white guy who likes girls” or do you maybe not fit into a box he has created without fact, knowledge and ethical reporting standards?
What’s next? Can our community members have their own determined identity or should they reflect the “stereotypical middle-aged white guy who likes girls” perspective and be forced to choose their gender identity based upon his two options?
What’s next? Can our community members enjoy their children’s parties or should they reflect the “stereotypical middle-aged white guy” perspective that these parties reflect the “tragedy” of road accidents?
What’s next? Can our community members enjoy their ageing experience, reflecting on their life’s experience to build the ability to think and act based on life experience otherwise known as the accurate definition of wisdom, or should they reflect the “stereotypical middle-aged white guy” perspective that in older age automatically associates to “subsequent declining mental faculties”. It has been publicized recently in professional journalism that a negative perspective of ageing actually increases our chances of cognitive decline. I wonder how his view will hold up in his near future.
What’s next? Or should I say what will we accept next? It appears that if we continue to accept Will Jones’ perspective within our public papers that not only will we have an increased potential of memory loss, celebrations with our children will no longer be enjoyable, choosing what we drink will result in being judged, and even our chocolate will have to solely be in the form of bunnies when March and April come around.
Enough is enough, Will Jones you have no right in journalism. Yes, I openly admit to the public that this is my opinion but it is an educated opinion and I am open to provide the evidence on which my words are founded. As I identify more as a research than reporter, you tell me. How do you feel when you read the reporting style of Will Jones? Better yet tell the Haliburton Highlander who publishes his biased opinions each week.
I will state here that societal fears in relation to fruity beers are a developed construct based on an internalized fear of becoming the other that Will Jones and his friends appear to discriminate against in their free time. Yes, it is our life, our choice and we all have something to share. This is where the age-old wisdom comes in, I hope you are listening Will… “Think before you speak”.
Here is Will Jones’ latest discriminatory piece “Fruity Beers and Societal Fears” in which you can comment below:
Here is that article for an even larger audience, on Facebook, which you too can comment:
Here is his article that he, without qualification, determines old age to be associated with cognitive decline:
Here is his article that relates a children’s school dance to an automobile accident:
Here is his article where he states chocolate should only come in the form of rabbits in March and April:
Here is the code of ethics from the Society of Professional Journalists in which I quoted:
Last but not least you can contact the Haliburton Highlander editor, Lisa Gervais, at email@example.com
- Friend, family, founder