Thursday, April 3, 2008

Stereotypes in the media

Whenever you turn on the television to watch a show or the news or even just to browse, everywhere there is some form of racial or personality stereotypes looking back at you. Recently I was watching the news and a story came on about a young black male who was shot. A neighbour of the boy's family was speaking about how before his identity had been released he had just assumed the shooting had been gang related because the boy in question was black. This is a very typical scenario, it was eventually discussed that the boy was not in fact a member of a gang but simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Why is it that we automatically assume a shooting involves gangs, or more specifically a gang of young black males.

Since 9/11 anyone wearing a turban in an airport is automatically suspected by many people to be a terrorist. People don't tend to say these things allowed but the judgment is still there, because we see and hear about it everyday.

I found that since coming to university stereotyping on campus is just as prevalent as it is on say a high school/college TV series. People assume that if you have dreadlocks and play the guitar while burning incense, you're a pothead. If you wear designer clothes and accessories to class, you're a snob. If you spend most evenings in the library studying, you're an antisocial nerd.
We think these things because we've grown up watching these "typical" people being portrayed on television. Now, needless to say some of these people do fall under there "designated categories" but if you actually go up and talk to them a lot of them are nothing like they seem.

The media needs to stop telling us whats appropriate and considered cool. That's never going to happen but we as a community should speak out against racial and personality stereotypes on campus, this isn't high school anymore and cliques aren't important, people should just be themselves and everyone should learn to embrace that.

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