I’ve written on the topic of stereotypes before, noting that there are no constructive stereotypes. Because they are inherently subject to outliers and exclusions, stereotypes are invariably wrong. While that may be plain to see, the fact remains that we are constantly engaging in stereotyping, whether you know it or not.
I once got into a debate with a professor who made the argument that stereotypes are shortcuts of the mind. She claimed that without stereotyping, there would be no way that we could process the world because of the sheer amount of cognition required without them.
While that may be true, and there are certainly those with more or less cognitive capabilities, accepting stereotyping as a good thing is no different from accepting false information that ‘might’ be true.
Liberals are of course the worst perpetrators of stereotyping—the entire foundations of social justice being built upon the idea that they can strip humans of their individuality, and categorize them into groups.
For instance, the concept of white privilege is fundamentally flawed for a number of reasons. The first most obvious reason being that your skin pigmentation is not always indicative of your heritage. With interracial marriages becoming more prevalent, the likelihood that you will be able to distinguish someone as one race or another diminishes significantly.
Furthermore, acknowledging your ‘white privilege’ comes with the implicit assumption that every single person that is white had access to better resources and opportunities than those who are not. Simply observing the 2013 United States census disproves this notion, showing that 11% of those in poverty are white.
Claiming prejudice does not exist is both foolish and wrong, but claiming that your race is the single most significant variable of your social mobility is also wrong (though I should point out leftist policies seek to make a classless society while liberals at the same time complain that minorities can’t get ahead).
Stereotypes, however, are not exclusive to race. As I said before, we are constantly making cognitive judgments based off of preconceived notions, though we may not realize it. Take a moment next time you are critically thinking about something and note all the times you jump to conclusions without thoroughly considering alternatives.
One of Sherlock Holmes’ most famous lines was when he said, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
To expand our minds, we must first understand that stereotypes are limiting our cognitive capabilities, and crippling our ability to think independently.