The Role Of Stereotypes In Society

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The society we live in determines everything about who we are, from the way we behave and think to the way we interact with others. From the minute we are brought into the world we are grouped into categories such as gender, ethnicity, and class, and society teaches us how to behave according to the group we are either born into or join. Society also teaches us generalizations about other groups and how to interact with them, creating stereotypes. While stereotypes can help us identify similarities within a culture and aid as a foundation for learning about people different than oneself, they can also lead to prejudice and discrimination. A stereotype is “a generalization applied to persons perceived to have attributes common to a particular group” (Beebe 47.) This means that stereotypes give us broad descriptions of different people based on the group they associate with, which often leads to misperceptions. When discussing stereotypes we often use words like “all” to refer to a group, for example, some say that “all women are poor drivers.” This generalized allegation, when circulated through a society, then becomes a belief held by many even though it is not supported by evidence;…show more content…
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