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Asians are bad drivers, Jewish people are stingy with their money, women belong in the kitchen, blondes are dumb, pink is for girls. Our society has grown bigger with more developments. In today’s society, stereotypes and labels are part of our everyday lives. It puts label about how a person should act or live according to their gender, race, personality and other facts. This has been an outbreak of sorts since the beginning of time. These actions are not always seen as true. The dramatic assumptions and accusations create stereotypes and their origin. We hear stereotypes everyday and everywhere. They are on televisions, billboards, posters, magazines, and the internet. Sometimes we can find ourselves where we can make stereotypes. People stereotype to generalize or categorize groups such as religions, beliefs, and discriminating people’s race, gender and appearance. Stereotypes and labels contain an evaluation of the person. If we randomly selected 1000 people from across the world, none of them would have the exact skin colour, there wouldn’t be a single tie. The people creating these may not be aware of the danger they are causing to the society, this unfortunate event must be prevented. The problem with society is that we can’t accept that we are all different. There are times when we are not open minded to meet new people or go outside, that’s because we have to put our own set of rules into this world. Stereotypes and labels can be considered as encouragement but in a way demeaning and hurtful. Stereotypes have an enormous impact on how we feel and act. This causes us to have no motivation. I personally hate stereotypes. I dislike the fact that people think that we should act one way. Throughout this essay, I will be arguing why stereotypes are demeaning and hurtful using the examples in the book and in reality with considering points.
In particular, stereotypes can cause favoritism and prejudice, health concerns, and make people lose faith and confidence in themselves. Egghead demonstrates many clear examples of stereotyping and labeling each other. The first considering point is favoritism and prejudice. Favoritism and prejudice have a pervasive and often pernicious influence on responses and in some cases, this can affect our behaviors and our actions. Often times, these judgments can be false and lead to discrimination and persecution. We are increasing and influencing others when we judge an individual based on our stereotypes. Prejudice usually begins in a stereotype that is a negative belief based on an individual or a group of members. For example, someone holding prejudice toward an older adult might believe that older adults are slow and non-competitive. But we can’t possibly know each individual. Favoritism and prejudice activity can mostly be toward a group of members, and this behavior is known as discrimination. Discrimination is a negative action towards a person or a group. No matter how hard we try to deny it, favoritism is a disease we are all born with. Ever since we were little we would be persuaded to favor certain things over the other. But these later have an impact on our future and as we develop. To prove this, in a survey done in Salem High School, it showed that 80% of 260 students’ questions said that teachers showed favourites by stereotyping. All students agreed that all the attention was lead to the football team. In a case reported at Kamehameha Schools in Hawaii, there was more of an issue of favoritism shown in the disciplinary issue for athletes.
An example of a label in the novel Egghead is how Will got labeled as Egghead. Will is obsessed with with books, is terrible in gym and loves wearing turtle necks. Because of this Devan and Shane tease him for everything he does and labels him as a geek and nerd. This was because, during the book, Shane and devan are Will’s worst enemies. Every single thing that Will does or says, they tease him or come up with a label or a stereotypical answer to put him down. That made Will constantly feel sad and lose faith in himself. Egghead is a term of saying someone is into books and loves reading. The second example throughout Egghead is when Will and Katie were labeled as Mr and Mrs during the dance. During the dance, everyone thought they were boyfriends and girlfriends and just labeled them as a married couple when clearly they were just hanging out as friends. This is a prejudice part from the text because they are responding with a pernicious and pervasive response saying they are boyfriend and girlfriend but it isn’t true. The last example was when Devan didn’t want to tell on Shane and Brad because they were still kind of friends. Even though Shane and Brad were being rude, Devan favoured them over the rest. To support this, Devan did not tell the teacher due to favoritism. Subsequently, the second considering reason I will be arguing is, stereotypes can affect our health, both physically and mentally. They can cause depression and suicide. Stereotypes are hurtful to our emotions and mental way of thinking If an individual receives verbal abuse such as stereotypes, that can cause low- self-esteem and confidence issues. If that issue goes on for a long time that may cause agoraphobia, depression, suicide commitments, and anxiety. Sometimes stereotypes can be physical violence which is very dangerous and hurtful and can lead to posttraumatic stress. This can also be a bad role model for others, we can encourage individuals to commit suicide and self-harm. For example, stereotypical people would say Irish people are always drunk. This isn’t always true. This stereotype would only be based on their character and personality. Not all men and woman drink and it is false to say Irish people drink. If an Irish man was walking by and a person said Irish people drink, this can be very offensive and harmful to the victim who is facing this. This can also be embarrassing and influence others to do the same. When there is a group of people or a crowd, people would take it as a joke and start calling others the same thing. This can soon cause the victim to have anxiety, depression and many more health concerns and issues. People would start feeling rejected and hopeless.
During the book Egghead, this was demonstrated with the example of when Will got dared to ski down Devils Hill. Brad and Shane assumed that Will would be a scaredy cat and refuse to go down the hill. They stereotyped him by calling a scaredy cat and looser. This dare got Will thinking if he should ski down Devil’s hill or pass on it. If he refused to ski down the hill, he will be continued to be called a Scaredy Cat, looser and nerd. But if he risked going down Devil’s hill, that would prove to the bullies that he isn’t a person that they have pictured him in their mind. Egghead didn’t have much time to think and he chose to go down the hill. Shane and Devan influenced Will to slide down the hill with a pernicious way with blackmailing him. When Will skied down Devil’s hill, he hit the first mogul due to anxiety and lost his balance, causing him to land head first and crack his head. He also catches a few branches. Due to the influence of Devan and Shane’s stereotype, it caused Will to go down the hill and injure himself with a loss of blood. This demonstrated physical damage to him because he ended up with stitches, scratches, and casts. The last considering point I will be discussing about is losing faith and confidence. Constantly being labeled and being stereotyped can lose an individual’s confidence and make them feel insecure. This is because, a random person might be judging an individual of how they look, race, appearance, gender, accent and more but most of it is not true. The victim may take this situation personally and wouldn’t have the confidence to stand up for them self or would either lose all the confidence they had earlier with the stereotype. By stereotyping, we infer that a person has a whole range of abilities and characteristics that we assume. Mostly, stereotypes convey a negative message that is false causing the victim to feel embarrassed, offense or loss of faith and confidence. When we have a strong, healthy and positive identity, we feel confident enough to pursue what anybody says. Despite, whatever negative message we hear or get passed down by, it will start demining our confidence because it’s deeply hurt or bothering you. This loss of confidence can also affect the next generations.
Of what the individual has gone through with being stereotyped with their race, they might not pass the culture or tradition down to the next generation because of the fear of stigma and the loss of confidence. An example, in reality, is when I used to get labeled as ugly and dumb. When I was in grade 1, I used to have severe eczema appearing as scratches, bruise marks and wounds. Many people say I’m ugly because my face would also have marks. I would also always have to drink Benadryl, which makes my itchiness go away but as a side effect causing me to be drowsy. That makes me not concentrate at school. When people call me dumb and ugly, I would lose my confidence because I thought it was true and it deeply hurt me. But thinking back to this situation, it actually has brought me up to a stronger and better person because I learned not to always trust what others opinions are. Through Egghead, an example is when Devan was influenced not to be friends with Katie. Devan desired to be friends with Katie. But he was frightened and had less confidence to be friends with Katie because Devan was friends with Shane the bully. He was afraid if he would get bullied by Shane and will also be identified as a stereotype or label. Either way, Devan did not have the confidence to stand up to Katie or talk to Shane about it. He could have followed what he wanted and not listened to what Shane says. Devan did not have enough confidence to confront Shane. This demonstrates that Devan is a bystander. Even though he was part of the event, he did not stand up.
We as a generation should do something to avoid and stop this problem. Instead of focusing on all the mistakes of each other, we should start focusing on how unique each person is with their gender, personality, race, appearance and more. We should be aware that all stereotypes are bad regardless of if they are good or bad because it can cause prejudgements and discriminations. We should learn to respect and consider other religions, traditions, cultures, and countries. With the contribution of everyone, this would avoid many problems like discrimination and bullying. Most importantly, we should teach our future generations to respect each other whether they are different. With the help of everyone not being stereotypical, we can change our perception of the stereotypes. The most popular and common stereotypes are based on race. A tall black man can’t walk down the street without hearing the comment of how he can be a good basketball player. Also, nowadays, if a crime was committed, they would just assume it was a black person who did it. This may make the black people ashamed.
Stereotypes are a big part of our society because people use them to classify race, genders, religions, cultures and more. My experience with stereotypes are abundant. When I was new to this school, everyone assumed that I was Christian based on my appearance. When I would explain, they wouldn’t believe I’m Hindu. Now that I’m older, I have learned to ignore them but most importantly not come back at them with stereotypical answers.
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