The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Breaking the Mold

Stereotype: a simplified and standardized conception or image invested with special meaning and held in common by members of a group: The cowboy and Indian are American stereotypes.

Or, said another way: A conventional, formulaic, and oversimplified conception, opinion, or image.

Stereotypes. We all know how evil they are. And how no one wants to be stereotyped. But we all believe in them.

Relax and think of what comes to your mind immediately after reading the following words...

Politician
Liberal
Conservative
Born again Christian
Fundamentalist
Atheist
Biker (motorcycle)
Hippie
Yuppie
Teenager
Tourist
Cop
Nurse
Doctor
Sailor
Soldier
Marine
Redneck
Trucker
Farmer
Surfer
Jock
American
Brit
Arab
Muslim
Italian
German
Irishman

Now be honest, you formed pictures in your mind. Phrases popped into your head. You may have fought them but only after they were there.

The truth is, ugly as it may seem, we all carry stereotypes in our minds. They are useful, in a sense, because they allow us to place people in categories. We like a certain order to things. They are a part of the way we view ourselves and our communities. They fit into our concepts of history and the world.

And they are both true and false at the same time. Some people conform to them, some defy them, some accept them; some use them to their advantage, some use them against others. They help us define both ourselves and others. Some people live up to them, some make great efforts to overcome them and succeed. Some people use them for excuses for not succeeding.

Our goals are stereotypes. Our parents either lived up to stereotypes or didn't. We sometimes pretend to be one stereotype in order to make others believe we are not another.

They are only bad if don't understand why they exist. Or if you accept them without thinking. Or how they should be used. Anyone who thinks he doesn't use them is fooling himself.

16 comments:

Michael said...

Very true, Douglas. (Who calls you 'Doug'?)

Don't forget the fried rice-eating, slant-eyed, 24/7-studying, kung fu-fighting Pokémon masters who all look the same, use chopsticks, are good at maths and work as taxi drivers and IT technicians.

That's right, the Asians. I'm obviously one that likes to embrace stereotypes.

Michael.

Robot Nine said...

Very insightful Douglas.
I always enjoy your thoughts, I will have to re-read this after work today. Alan

Douglas said...

Michael - The list would be huge if I put all stereotypes in. And Asian might have to be broken down to Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Mongol, Tibetan, and so on. Not to mention subsets of all those.

Some do call me "Doug" but not because that's how I introduce myself. Anyone call you "Mike" or "Micky" or "Mikey"?

Robot - Thanks. I really enjoyed those images today.

Michael said...

I don't frown upon being called 'Mike'. My close friends call me by that name. You, Alan, AV, Yolanda and many others are free to do so.

Michael.

nongshe - Chinese name.

yolanda said...

great excercise. i particularly liked 'teenager'. age and class stereotypes are some of the most deeply ingrained.

and michael, you forgot "camera-wielding" ;-)

yola

Argentum Vulgaris said...

ni hao, nongshe... Hi Mike, thank you.

Stereotypes and daphnican are among the bigger social enemies.

AV
http://netherregionoftheearthii.blogspot.com/
http://tomusarcanum.blogspot.com/

daphnican = the opposite of daphnican't

sycolini = a small psycho

Neo said...

Would you consider yourself under the stereotype "geek"? no disrespect intended

I consider myself under the stereotype(s) Irish, geek, man,

Douglas said...

Neo- I am a walking contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction. I am not a geek, I only pretend to be one on occasion. I am mostly Irish but I rarely imbibe so I break that one too.

AV- Stereotypes are nothing; neither good nor bad, they are just things. People who wield them... well, that's another story.
(I always thought a daphnican was where you stored daphnis)
And sycolini sounds like pasta made from crazy people.

Yolanda - (I love that name)Did you notice the Dilbert cartoon was full of age stereotyping?


Michael - I actually would rather call you Michael. It's a nice name. "Mike" is too common. Is nongshe pronounced "nahng-shee" or "nahng-shay"?

There appears to be no Asian equivalent of "Douglas". When I tried "Doug", the young Japanese girl gave me the character for "dog". Maybe she was telling me something.

Michael said...

'Nong she'(農舍) would be more noong sheh. It means 'village snake'.

And get ready, Douglas, to be dubbed a Chinese name. Yours is 得家律士. It literally means 'get familial law scholar' and is pronounced duck ga loot see.

King of New York Hacks said...

Great post , great insight , I'll be back for sure. Just found you.

Everyday Housewife said...

The typical Malaysian cartoonist portrayal of the American tourist : cigar chomping, Raybans, Hawaiian (or Batik) shirts over a bulging tummy.

Douglas said...

Michael - I am honored... I think.

King of.. - Thanks, hope you enjoy your visits.

Everyday Housewife - Uh oh... I like Hawaiian shirts and the tummy is starting to bulge (I blame others for this). No cigars, though and I wear the cheapest sunglasses I can find.

King of New York Hacks said...

Great post , great insight , I'll be back for sure. Just found you.

Everyday Housewife said...

The typical Malaysian cartoonist portrayal of the American tourist : cigar chomping, Raybans, Hawaiian (or Batik) shirts over a bulging tummy.

Michael said...

'Nong she'(農舍) would be more noong sheh. It means 'village snake'.

And get ready, Douglas, to be dubbed a Chinese name. Yours is 得家律士. It literally means 'get familial law scholar' and is pronounced duck ga loot see.

Neo said...

Would you consider yourself under the stereotype "geek"? no disrespect intended

I consider myself under the stereotype(s) Irish, geek, man,