Fw: Stereotypes

From: Steve Drew (srdrew_1@hotmail.com)
Date: Tue Apr 02 2002 - 21:27:49 BST

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    Date: Tue, 02 Apr 2002 21:27:49 +0100
    Subject: Fw: Stereotypes
    From: Steve Drew <srdrew_1@hotmail.com>
    To: <memetics@mmu.ac.uk>, Jo Mash <missmash2000@hotmail...>
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    Hi Kenneth

    > Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2002 21:22:17 +0100
    > From: "Kenneth Van Oost" <Kenneth.Van.Oost@village.uunet.be>
    > Subject: Fw: Stereotypes !!
    >
    >>
    >> ----- Original Message -----
    >> From: Steve Drew <srdrew_1@hotmail.com>
    >>> BTW, i'm very interested in stereotypes, as they are way of coping with
    > a
    >>> vast amount of data. I think the problem is that as society became more
    >> and
    >>> more complex, so the stereotypes become more inaccurate and subject to
    >>> social situations that they were not really evolved to cope with.
    >>>
    >>> Stereotypes are not limited to racial groups, but to situations i.e., i
    >>> think they evolved as we did. A neat mental trick when you are hunting
    > or
    >>> digging for lunch would be to have a 'situation template' in your
    > noggin.
    >> If
    >>> it is too detailed you would starve as no two locations are the same and
    >> you
    >>> would not find a match. If the pattern were too general you would end up
    >>> poisoned through eating the wrong thing etc.
    >>>
    >>> So some theories suggest that we are hard wired to stereotype people and
    >>> situations, as it is (in early human history) too good a trick not to.
    > But
    >>> in the modern world the system doesn't seem to work as well due to the
    >>> amount of info and situations we encounter.
    >>>
    >>> So i reckon we are hard wired to stereotype, but who and what have lots
    > of
    >>> social input.
    >>
    >> Hi Steve,
    >>
    >> All seems to be quiet on the memetic front, so in the meanwhile....
    >>
    >> Now at the end of a very busy fortnight, it struck me by surprise that
    >> while I was working with the people designated to me that maybe one
    >> reason why I get the work done where others seem to fail is due to
    >> the use of stereotypes.
    >> I often wondered why I get so easily along with people of other cul-
    >> tures, I suppose it was my interest in those, but now I am not that sure...
    >>
    >> This is maybe a longshot but the reason I see fit to qualify as an answer
    >> is that I see the people where I work with like they really are.
    >> No offense intented here, but in my crounty black people are considered
    >> as lazy, they take no initiave, they don 't like very mush physical labour
    >> and get very easy distracted. If, thus you have to work with them, 9 out
    >> of 10 times the project will fail due to those stereotypical
    >> characteristics.
    >>
    >> But, I had chances to observe them and my own actions during the last
    >> couple of days, it seems to me that by consolidation of those stereo-
    >> typical aspects of their being that I get a better result
    >> That means I disregard the fact of feminism and give to the woman I
    >> work with typical woman- jobs,
    >> To the lazy bumps I give an easy part, the strong I use to lift things
    >> and so on...
    >> And in fact, in return I get a better overall result. In a way their weak-
    >> nesses do become a sense of strenght.
    >> In a way I use the typical stereotypical aspects of their being to my
    >> advance, and I do that, oh wonder me, conscient and all the time !!
    >>
    >> And to my bigger surprise, they don 't seem to care ( I don 't tell them,
    >> of course), everybody is happy with the role he/ she plays in and for
    >> the better good.
    >> Application of stereotypical aspects as the groundrule for teambuilding,
    >> so to speak.
    >> How does this relate to your interest and to some of the theories !?
    >>
    >> Regards,
    >>
    >> Kenneth
    >>
    Firstly, i would be very careful about using stereotypes to profile people,
    as like memes they can bite back!

    Secondly, you may not be using the percieved attributes of the individual,
    but the actual attributes of that person. i.e. that woman may actually want
    to do 'womens' job's etc

    However you could of course be using one aspect, and that is the self
    fulfilling prophecy. If you tell a black person (say) that they are thick,
    lazy etc as they grow up, as they are educated (and how) with this in mind,
    which leads to poorer jobs then they can quite often come to accept the
    stereotype as their reality and act accordinly. Stereotypes are very
    insidious things. Although your collegues may appear to be happy, it could
    be that they are not aware that they can be anything else. It also seems to
    me that it could also be construed that you are actully repressing them. (I
    think that last bit is Marx?)

    If this sort of thing interest you, you could try [Ok everbobdy groan! :-) ]
    a book by Peter. L. Berger " An Invitation to Sociology" which looks at
    things from both sides of the coin. Ie the individual point of view and
    societies. The added bonus is you can usually pick up a copy for less than a
    quid (1). It is quite old, but very useful, and its not a bad read either.

    Regards.

    Steve

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