Humans are puzzling creatures. We easily decide who people are from their appearance, race, gender, place of birth, the family they grew up with, or their financial status. Stereotypes are a part of our everyday lives.

If you don’t know what stereotype means, I’ll share it with you. It’s simply a widely held image or a belief about a certain group or a type of individual. Stereotyping is something everyone does without even realizing it sometimes. We hear stereotypes everyday and everywhere. For example, most people think that only the British are gentlemen and the French are the best romantics.

When it comes to gender, most people think that men are the “backbone” and are meant to be the breadwinners in each home. People think that all boys are messy and unclean, and girls are naturally not just good at sports. There’s also the religion-based stereotype that all Arabs or Muslims are terrorists, the cultural stereotype that all blacks apart from the ones in the U.S. are poor, all Asians are geeks and good at math and so many more. The most annoying is when people believe that all teens are lazy, rebellious, and too young to understand anything about life.

I personally hate stereotypes. I dislike the fact that people think I act one way because of my sex, religion, caste, nationality, or personality. I hate this because people are creating a concept of me based on their beliefs and not who I truly am. Stereotyping is a big problem in our society because it puts a label and creates a distortion on how every human should be. We should be aware that all stereotypes are bad because they cause prejudice.

Members of stereotyped groups worry about what they do and this makes them stressed because they think they have to be perfect in all aspects of their lives. People get tired of being criticized all the time. If you’re a teacher and you’re reading this, do you know why some students are afraid to share their ideas? It’s because they don’t want to be stereotyped as ‘nerds’. These days, people are afraid to be themselves because they fear what others think. For example, many homosexuals are afraid to admit their sexuality in the fear of being judged. It’s actually a lose-lose situation for both- the people that stereotype, and the victims.

The only way we can actually change our perception is by learning not to judge and prejudge people based on what we think they should be, to respect and understand other people, cultures, religions, and countries. Instead of focusing on the mistakes of each group, race, or sex, we should start paying attention and admiring how unique everyone is!

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