Stereotyping a Racial or Ethnic GroupSeptember 13, 2011 at 3:20 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: 9-11, bible, Christianity, Greatest Commandments, Islam, Jesus, Judging, love, Muslim, neighbor, prejudice, racism, Religion, stereotyping, terrorism, terrorists
Why do we tend to stereotype particular racial or ethnic groups? First of all, I don’t believe there are different races, but just one race and that’s they human race. It’s a “jargon” or social mainstream to group each other because of the “status quo”. The danger of grouping each other is we then don’t look at each other as unique individuals. For example, “one” negative experience with a particular racial or ethnic group can can an individual to “negatively stereotype” a particular group. I decided to write on this topic after attending a local community meeting on ways we can service or “reach out” to a particular ethnic group in our area. A community member shared how a landlord verbally told him that he won’t rent to any “(ethnic-group)”. People in the meeting look shocked, but I and some others were not as we’ve heard this before. It happens everywhere unfortunately. Here are some stories, but these are just some of my own personal experiences. In high school there was the Persian Gulf War going on in Iraq. A so-called “friend” jokingly told me I look like the enemy. Yeah, it was a joke, but as a teenager-this remark kind of affected me for years. I was then reminded of this after 9-11 (10th Anniversary was just yesterday ironically). Living in this small rural college town, ethnic minorities like me can easily be group and stereotype negatively. When 9-11 happened, I was very self-conscious. I decided to stay home for awhile and not wanting to go out if I didn’t have to because I was afraid of being a “victim” from an ignorant “backlash” or “retaliation”. I heard of reports where a guy wearing a “turban” got attacked somewhere down south. After hearing of this story, I got a little fear of this happening to me. This is from past racial discrimination experiences (see GoodnewsEverybody.com Issues-Racism, Racist, Prejudice, Discrimination, Bigotry, etc..). Years later after 9-11, I still get that “stereotype” that “I look like the enemy”. Unfortunately, I’ve heard it from people that are almost close to me. A good friend’s step-daughter once told me-“Sal, you look like a terrorist” very bluntly while I was taking a walk-stroll with the family. I then heard this from a “close family kid”! If kids say this, I can’t imagine what older “people” think!! I also have been mistakenly identified with other racial groups, like: “Mexican”, “Italian”, “African-American”, and many other “Asian ethnic groups”. I’ve learned to “capitalize” on this positively as being a peacemaker between different groups in the community.
What now? What can we learn from this? I’ve learned many people’s ignorant biased remarks come from their environment (e.g. media, family, frioends, etc…). We just need to learn now to get “negatively” influenced by others around us and learn how to think for ourselves. Also, after this community meeting last week. I thought of my Biblical knowledge…
“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”–2 Corinthians 10:12
, which has really helped me deal with “labeling” by others and not get “mad”. I’ve learned to be patient with understanding of individuals that ignorantly make derogatory remarks. In fact, experiences like this motivates me more on what I”m currently doing in “educating” others and finding ways to “combat” this with love and knowledge->understanding one another. Lastly, we tend to hold bitterness against one another and I feel one of the ways to deal with this is we need to forgive one another.
Here is just some scenarios of American history of the need of forgiveness. The “white” man came and “colonize” the US “killing-off” the Native American Indians. American Indians can hate the “white man” for this. However, over generations, both “races” have been mixed. It’s the same thing with me. My great grandparent is from Spain, whose country “colonized” the Philippines in the 1500’s. Well, I can’t blame the “Spainards” because I’m part Spanish. Then the “American” came and took over the Philippines after the “Spanish American War” around 1900. However, the “Americans” helped the Philippines from getting “taken over” by the Japanese during WWII. What I’m trying to get is that we’ve had a lot of world history and mixing around. We need to learn how to get along with one another as we are one global community-family. One planet!
Here is a movie I highly recommend relating to this blog. Thanks for reading and would love to hear any feedback (e.g. similar experiences, stories, suggestions on what we can do as a society, etc..)…