Re: Stereotypes

From: Steve Drew (
Date: Thu Apr 11 2002 - 21:43:55 BST

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    Subject: Re: Stereotypes
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    Hi Kenneth

    > Date: Tue, 9 Apr 2002 21:28:10 +0200
    > From: "Kenneth Van Oost" <>
    > Subject: Re: Stereotypes
    > Hi Steve,
    > - ----- Original Message -----
    > From: Steve Drew <>
    > 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
    > << Yes, that was something I got in mind too, that in fact, maybe ( as
    > they have worked with me before) they manipulate me, instead of being it
    > the other way round !

    Could be. The lazy guy will love being given easier jobs!

    > If that is the case, how and in what way can we then explain the actions
    > made by and the behavior shown by my collegues who in the end don 't
    > get the work done properly !?
    > They are then trying to ' chance ' those people where in fact those don 't
    > want to be changed_ and as a result the work gets behind in time !?
    > That in a way my collegues may actually disgard the fact that woman
    > want to do woman's work.... !?

    We are just doing a series if books at work for the general nostalgia (old
    photo's) market, and I have been having a glance through them. People can be
    conditioned to accept their lot and work through fear of the consequences of
    not doing well. It struck me because in the pre-WWII social assistance was
    still rudimentary, and so this fear was understandable. However, even today
    the consequences of job loss can be bleak, so they may be conforming, rather
    than playing unknowingly to their stereotype.
    > 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.
    > << Yes, the self- fulfilling prophency plays a role in this, I suppose_ that
    > is why I said that by the application of the consolidation of stereotypes
    > of their being I get a better result.
    > With all the respect I grant them, I mean that_ leaving them, so to speak
    > within the particular segment ( the stereotype [ biologically based or
    > whatever] ) of their being, can be indeed be something of which they
    > are not aware. In that way_ it is like a ' defense ' of the material of the
    > Self. And in defense the Self is not willing to give up the things out of
    > what it is made !!

    This is true to an extent. But if the self that feels denigrated is shown
    instances of success and encouragement this need not be the case.

    > In a sense, it obeys the same laws of conformity by which the organism
    > operates of which it is part. But I think I must, like William James, avoid
    > basing this on the biological organism....

    Don't know this bit I'm afraid.
    > 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?)
    > << I don 't think I repress them_ it is not that I fix them up with the idea
    > to accept the image they got probably of themselves ( that is, being re-
    > pressed). That is something I think they brought onto themselves_ WE
    > projected an image of despise upon themselves_ an image which some
    > accepted.
    > This is, according Charles Taylor, the main instrument of their repression.
    > Their first task would be to disgard such imposed and destructive identity.
    > And in that respect I don 't think I can change mush of the attitudes they
    > got ( or not have). It is my conviction that the pre- supposition that those
    > who think they are getting repressed is based on already accepted de-
    > formed self- images. The question is, in what way I deform and repress
    > the image they got already of themselves !?
    > I do not do such thing !

    Didn't say that you did, but that it could be seen that way. Confirming an
    accepted, but untrue stereotype could be thought repressive. The problem is
    how do you know!?

    > It is just that in the way I organise my work and I need to do that in the
    > most flexible, most economical way possible_ I ' create ' space/ place,
    > so that those I work with can/ may exploit their own interests and im-
    > portancies, although I presume, some of them do feel uncomfortable or
    > indifferent with the role(s) which were them ascribe to on bases of their
    > gender, race or cultural background.
    > I do so, acknowlegde the fact that those I work with have certain abilities/
    > attitudes associated with their biological organism, and in that way I do
    > not
    > repress their intellectual or professional abilities, but I do amplify
    > those.

    I'm sure you do.
    > Many regards,
    > Kenneth


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