What percentage of people stereotype others?

The answer is 100%!

Stereotypes are when we judge an individual based on one characteristic, like their age, race, or job, rather than seeing them as the unique person they are.

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Other people stereotype us too.

It's how we respond to these situations that can challenge others to think twice before making a judgement based on a stereotype.

Teach With Facts

Teaching others is one way to challenge stereotypes. This can be as simple as sharing a fact.

Consider this.

Eugene, who is Asian American, has gathered with colleagues to draft a grant proposal.

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A team member turns to Eugene: "You should do all the numbers, you'll be best at that."

Eugene has no background in math, and his role doesn't usually involve numbers. He suspects his colleague is basing this suggestion on a stereotype.

To educate his colleague in a professional manner Eugene responds "I am not good with numbers, but I'm happy to take the lead on the writing. I have a masters in communications."

Quiz

What makes Eugene's response effective?

Corrects colleague's assumptions

It is confrontational

The project can be done properly now

Makes the colleague feel stupid

Question

When you suspect someone might be stereotyping you, ask a question to prompt them to reflect. In some cases, they may not even be consciously aware of their thought process.

Consider this.

Sarah, who identifies as a female, is with a group of friends talking about their dream careers. When Sarah expresses her desire to be a soccer player, her friend Lee says, "Well, that's surprising, I thought you'd say something like an artist or teacher."

Photo by Jeffrey F Lin on UnsplashPhoto by Jeffrey F Lin on Unsplash

Sarah responds, "No, I've always loved soccer. How come you thought I'd want to be an artist or a teacher?"

Quiz

What was effective about Sarah's question?

A gentle but clear approach

All of these reasons

Lee may reflect on his assumption

Sara will understand Lee's reasoning

Interrupt And Echo

Highly offensive stereotypes should always be interrupted and corrected. Any bystanders should echo the correction to discourage the behaviour from being repeated.

Consider this.

George enters an elevator and sees a Chinese person, Dan, inside. George screams "Stay away I don't want Coronavirus!"

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Dan interrupts immediately: "Not all Chinese people have Coronavirus." Others standing nearby repeat the same thing and comment on how ignorant and offensive George's remark is.

Quiz

What makes Dan's response appropriate?

Hateful stereotypes can never be ignored

Dan was ready to fight

It is an indirect approach

Dan should have ignored the comment

Summary

Not all stereotypes are intended to be hateful.

In fact, most are unconscious and unintentional. It's up to each of us to challenge ourselves and others to treat each other as individuals instead of making judgements based on stereotypes.

What stereotypes do people make about you?

Think about the most common one or two assumptions people make about you. Plan out what your 'canned' response will be the next time you experience it. Use facts, ask questions, or interrupt to challenge the behaviour.

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This Byte has been authored by

MG

Mair Greenfield

Director of Indigenous Programs

ES

Ervin So

Finance and Stuff

TQ

Tanya Qadir

Partnerships Manager

TF

Tariq Fancy

Social Entrepreneur