Prejudices and Stereotypes

I already introduced the big topic in my last blog post: I decided to make a journey into Interaction. The first destinations were greeting forms. Now I got back in my car and go on driving.

On my way I have to decide which ways I take, because there are always many options. You may take the highway but you may also take the country road and its serpentines.

When you take a closer look into this field of sociology you also have so many options and for me it was not so easy to decide which one to take first.

But now I found myself examining Interaction issues and I will go on writing about this topic. In the destination of today, I like to take a look on prejudices and stereotypes.

Every one of us knows at least one. And probably it also happened to you that you were on holiday and some people smiled when they saw you because you just fitted in their imagination about your origin.

This happened to me when I was at a restaurant in a foreign country. In Germany it is polite if you eat everything which covers your plate. But in other countries this is quite different. Some countries said that there should be some food remaining because it is just considered as proper; by the way I have heard that this behavior comes from the baroque period.

But in other countries, especially in East Asian countries, if you eat everything your host may thing that he or she did not offer enough for you to eat. This also happened to me when I was giving German lessons at a Chinese family in my neighborhood. I went there every day for 2 hours. They were really hospitable and I was never missing anything. But there it was also the case that every time when I just finished my biscuits etcetera the woman offered me new ones.

And I have also talked with a French person about the food prejudice issue. She said: “In France, we say that we recognize Germans by the way they finish with their plate, because they even eat the decoration!”

I quite like these prejudice issues because I think it is really funny to see the thoughts behind that.

Now I want to consider another prejudice. When I was talking to some natives at Malta, they told me that they identify people from Great Britain by their behavior:

They are the ones who are still lying in the sun when they are already looking red like a crawfish.

The funny thing was that just a short time after this I spotted some great examples that were English and sun burnt at the same time. But they were quite friendly. What I heard by their conversation was that they have the attitude that if they are on holiday, they use everyday they have.

Now I do not want to include another example, but I want to include some background information about the issue.

According to “Anthony Giddens Sociology”, prejudice refers to opinions or attitudes held by members of one group towards another. These prejudices are often based on stereotypes which are fixed and inflexible characterizations of a group of people. These stereotypes are often applied to ethnic minority groups, such as the notion that all black men are naturally athletic or that all East Asians are hardworking, diligent students. The last one is a really popular stereotype, but there are also many examples. If one takes a look at the East Asian countries, they often show a pretty high development of technology, which means that there must have been some hard work behind that.

Some stereotypes include a little bit of truth but others are just a mechanism of displacement. They have become embedded in cultural understandings and they are difficult to erode. But I think even if there are such prejudices and stereotypes and one also has seen some examples, one should not generalize them and just take them with a smile.

This is another blog, which offers a view about muslim stereotypes

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4 responses to “Prejudices and Stereotypes

  1. Hey Johanna, thank you for another interesting post. It was great to read about your experiences, because I could relate to some of them, but others were new to me. It was a really good idea to include a definition and some general information about prejudices and stereotypes. I liked how you tried to show us your thought process with a metapher, because that makes it easier to understand what you are trying to show us. But sometimes I had the feeling that these images were a litlle forced. Another interesting idea might have been to include some prejudices, that are really strange to most of us and which we don’t know or yet. Or the prejudices different countries have concerning Germans (besides the drinking beer 😉 ).
    Still, a very good post and I am happy to see that you found one big interesting topic you will write about more!

  2. hello Johanna, this was a well thought out post. You kept my train of thought from beginning to end. I enjoyed your story and how you introduced your examples in then front then made your case towards the back. You writing has taken a leap from when you first start off. Good job so far.

    Maybe you could also include some links?

  3. Hey Johanna,
    I think you chose a very nice topic, because one gets entangled with prejudices and stereotypes everywhere just too easily!
    However I wish you included a few more examples of common stereotypes or personal expiriences with prejudices…
    This topic is very important, especially for us International Business Management students, because of our international orientation we are more likely to get confrontet with problems like that.
    So thank you for this short insight into this topic.

  4. Pingback: Retrospect #3 – What we’ve accomplished | BLOG OR DIE TRYIN'·

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