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Justified Stereotypes

innomen
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9/18/2011 5:29:24 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
I did this sort of thread once before and the concensus was there is no justification to a stereotype, which I disagree with, but think that for the power of political correctness we don't allow ourselves to admit it. I know that we generalize all the time, and make judgments based on them, but we may be more careful to not vocalize it.

So, here's what happened: Yesterday i was at the gym talking to a friend, not a close friend, but someone i know well enough, and i began to describe the mother of my best friend growing up. I described her as being the epitome of a Jewish mother, to the point of cliche. I went into great detail, but nothing that would be considered malicious or cruel, but rather the plastic draped on the furniture, and her samavar on the table, along with her incessant control over her son who had to be a doctor whether or not he liked it. Well, my friend, who is a non practicing Jew seemed to be a little put off by this; I didn't apologize because i really didn't think i said anything harmful, in fact my Jewish friend would probably agree with my description of his mother.

I understand that stereotypes can lead one in a direction where they turn to hate, but that's only because the basis of hate is a precondition, and the stereotype is a catalyst, but we have become hyper sensitive and look to stave off any possibility of going in this direction.

Is this reasonable? Is a characterization of someone being "typical" unfair and wrong even when no real malice is intended? If someone says that someone is typically gay, i am not offended, and i am aided in the description of someone. FAct of the matter is, we do it whether or not we like it, and we just internalize it or only vocalize it when it is sanctioned by the restrictions of political correctness.

Anyway, my morning rant.
000ike
Posts: 11,196
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9/18/2011 5:42:40 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
No, I disagree. Stereotypes, however accurate, are a preemptive judgement of people. Every time you say that a member of a certain religion race gender or ethnicity does something typical, you generalize the entire race religion etc. into a specific description of confinement. This is an uncomfortable position for many people, and to be honest, its rather unfair. It is in many people's best interests that society dispel the preconditions and expectations of simply being born a certain way, and remove the parameters and general integration attributed thereof.

Its not about being politically correct, its about robbing people of a certain individualism and freedom from judgement before knowledge. Its about placing people in a drone collection of the populace opinion or interpretation. Stereotyping also perpetuates misconceptions and either negative or positive attributes that should be earned, not set in expectation upon birth (etc. asians are smart and talented, black people like rap).

Don't stereotype.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
innomen
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9/18/2011 5:48:23 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/18/2011 5:42:40 AM, 000ike wrote:
No, I disagree. Stereotypes, however accurate, are a preemptive judgement of people. Every time you say that a member of a certain religion race gender or ethnicity does something typical, you generalize the entire race religion etc. into a specific description of confinement. This is an uncomfortable position for many people, and to be honest, its rather unfair. It is in many people's best interests that society dispel the preconditions and expectations of simply being born a certain way, and remove the parameters and general integration attributed thereof.

Its not about being politically correct, its about robbing people of a certain individualism and freedom from judgement before knowledge. Its about placing people in a drone collection of the populace opinion or interpretation. Stereotyping also perpetuates misconceptions and either negative or positive attributes that should be earned, not set in expectation upon birth (etc. asians are smart and talented, black people like rap).

Don't stereotype.

Whether or not there are normative characteristics within a classification of people? Much of sociology works on this; they just science it up a bit to gain legitimacy, but it is very sociological.
Kinesis
Posts: 3,667
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9/18/2011 5:51:26 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
I think you're equivocating stereotyping and generalising. To my mind, stereotypes are usually a negative characterisation of a particular group - blacks are less intelligent, Jews are money grubbing, Americans are fat, Asian men have small penises etc. There's a difference between that and just generalising a particular group - that's just a form of hyperbole. Stereotyping is offensive, generalisation is just exaggerated.
000ike
Posts: 11,196
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9/18/2011 5:58:41 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/18/2011 5:48:23 AM, innomen wrote:
At 9/18/2011 5:42:40 AM, 000ike wrote:
No, I disagree. Stereotypes, however accurate, are a preemptive judgement of people. Every time you say that a member of a certain religion race gender or ethnicity does something typical, you generalize the entire race religion etc. into a specific description of confinement. This is an uncomfortable position for many people, and to be honest, its rather unfair. It is in many people's best interests that society dispel the preconditions and expectations of simply being born a certain way, and remove the parameters and general integration attributed thereof.

Its not about being politically correct, its about robbing people of a certain individualism and freedom from judgement before knowledge. Its about placing people in a drone collection of the populace opinion or interpretation. Stereotyping also perpetuates misconceptions and either negative or positive attributes that should be earned, not set in expectation upon birth (etc. asians are smart and talented, black people like rap).

Don't stereotype.

Whether or not there are normative characteristics within a classification of people? Much of sociology works on this; they just science it up a bit to gain legitimacy, but it is very sociological.

Well, have we ever considered that those normative characteristic are not derived intrinsically, but rather are just the result of perpetuated societal standards of behavior? The fact is that people feel uncomfortable being lumped in with everyone else. Human beings have a need for individualism and nonconformity to a certain degree. Stereotyping is an uncomfortable way to classify people as it attributes behavior to appearance. The people who do not fit the stereotype end up taking a lot of crap from people who don't know any better, and the people who do fit the stereotype get offended by the presentation of their own conformity.

No one's happy, and in the end, stereotyping does not accomplish much of anything apart from discrimination that work places and police officers have found a way to sanctify under the requirements of their profession (to which I dislike). For what reason do you want to keep a classification that creates discontent and bad blood while accomplishing near nothing?
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
darkkermit
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9/18/2011 10:13:36 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/18/2011 5:51:26 AM, Kinesis wrote:
I think you're equivocating stereotyping and generalising. To my mind, stereotypes are usually a negative characterisation of a particular group - blacks are less intelligent, Jews are money grubbing, Americans are fat, Asian men have small penises etc. There's a difference between that and just generalising a particular group - that's just a form of hyperbole. Stereotyping is offensive, generalisation is just exaggerated.

Stereotyping is a form of generalization. And yes stereotyping can be bad, even if statistically accurate.
Open borders debate:
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nonentity
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9/18/2011 11:46:25 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Okay, so after reading the first post, I already have a response.

What I find interesting is that Americans value free will and being a man of your own merit so much--and yet have no problem with using shortcuts to categorize people. People tend to see more variety in themselves than they see in others. So I'm going to go with no, stereotypes are not justified, because people have individual differences and it is unfair to make someone have to prove you wrong about them based on your preconceptions and biases.

Now I'm off to read the rest of the thread. If certain people have already popped in here then I may not respond again.
nonentity
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9/18/2011 11:51:41 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/18/2011 11:46:25 AM, nonentity wrote:
Okay, so after reading the first post, I already have a response.

What I find interesting is that Americans value free will and being a man of your own merit so much--and yet have no problem with using shortcuts to categorize people.

This is obviously a generalization and I don't mean it applies only to Americans. But I use them as an example because the rest of us are bombarded with American media and values; especially movies that depict an obvious preference for free will and meritocracy.
OMGJustinBieber
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9/18/2011 12:25:20 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Stereotypes are not baseless. There are cultural and biological facts that differ from group to group, and while obviously not all members of a group exhibit these characteristics there are undoubtedly general differences between groups. It's these differences that are the basis of stereotypes, and the problem is when these assumptions are just brought too far or made rigid.

Outside of race and class, it's such a non-issue. If I tell someone online that I play college basketball they're likely to make assumptions about my height, and for the most part assuming that I would be 6'+ would be correct but there's always the point guard who's like 5'9 that breaks that stereotype and one has wonder if he even gets offended by the characterization. For the record, I don't play college basketball because I'm 5'6.
nonentity
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9/18/2011 12:33:17 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/18/2011 12:25:20 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
Stereotypes are not baseless. There are cultural and biological facts that differ from group to group, and while obviously not all members of a group exhibit these characteristics there are undoubtedly general differences between groups. It's these differences that are the basis of stereotypes, and the problem is when these assumptions are just brought too far or made rigid.

Outside of race and class, it's such a non-issue. If I tell someone online that I play college basketball they're likely to make assumptions about my height, and for the most part assuming that I would be 6'+ would be correct but there's always the point guard who's like 5'9 that breaks that stereotype and one has wonder if he even gets offended by the characterization. For the record, I don't play college basketball because I'm 5'6.

Race and class are (generally) something you're born into, while being a college basketball player is something you've chosen. Additionally, being classified as a college basketball player is a much smaller group than being classified as a race. Races span across cultures and across continents, and to classify an entire race based on the actions of a select group of people doesn't even make sense.
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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9/18/2011 12:49:21 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
To respond to the OP, I felt that 000ike responded a lot better than I could and addressed the problem with stereotyping, but I wanted to add that when you stereotype someone, you expect them to act in a certain way, for instance you might assume that black people like rap. Now, it doesn't matter that the majority of rappers are black because the person you are stereotyping may not like rap and may be uncomfortable that you expect him to like rap. So stereotyping is not justified under any circumstances no matter how many people of a particular group do something that is common to people within that group.
DetectableNinja
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9/18/2011 12:55:34 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/18/2011 12:49:21 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
To respond to the OP, I felt that 000ike responded a lot better than I could and addressed the problem with stereotyping, but I wanted to add that when you stereotype someone, you expect them to act in a certain way, for instance you might assume that black people like rap. Now, it doesn't matter that the majority of rappers are black because the person you are stereotyping may not like rap and may be uncomfortable that you expect him to like rap. So stereotyping is not justified under any circumstances no matter how many people of a particular group do something that is common to people within that group.

The rapper scenario is very much a correlation=/=causation situation.
Think'st thou heaven is such a glorious thing?
I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou
Or any man that breathes on earth.

- Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
OMGJustinBieber
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9/18/2011 12:55:59 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/18/2011 12:33:17 PM, nonentity wrote:
At 9/18/2011 12:25:20 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
Stereotypes are not baseless. There are cultural and biological facts that differ from group to group, and while obviously not all members of a group exhibit these characteristics there are undoubtedly general differences between groups. It's these differences that are the basis of stereotypes, and the problem is when these assumptions are just brought too far or made rigid.

Outside of race and class, it's such a non-issue. If I tell someone online that I play college basketball they're likely to make assumptions about my height, and for the most part assuming that I would be 6'+ would be correct but there's always the point guard who's like 5'9 that breaks that stereotype and one has wonder if he even gets offended by the characterization. For the record, I don't play college basketball because I'm 5'6.

Race and class are (generally) something you're born into, while being a college basketball player is something you've chosen. Additionally, being classified as a college basketball player is a much smaller group than being classified as a race. Races span across cultures and across continents, and to classify an entire race based on the actions of a select group of people doesn't even make sense.

Do you seriously believe stereotypes are completely baseless? Inno wasn't saying "oh, he's black so he must be fast" he was describing his friend's disdain towards his description of a typical jewish mother. As a Jewish person, I can tell you that stereotype has merit. One of my best friend's mothers covered the furniture in plastic, and there's consistently been a strong emphasis on academic achievement, as well as a disdain for sports or physical activity with the "goys" (non-Jews). This is one of the attributes that I hate about the community and I feel the stereotype of the meek, intellectual Jew perpetuates itself through these cultural features. If you choose to ignore these characteristics and feel that cultures are interchangeable that's on you.
nonentity
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9/18/2011 1:07:33 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/18/2011 12:55:59 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:

Do you seriously believe stereotypes are completely baseless?

Please quote where I said that?

Inno wasn't saying "oh, he's black so he must be fast" he was describing his friend's disdain towards his description of a typical jewish mother. As a Jewish person, I can tell you that stereotype has merit. One of my best friend's mothers covered the furniture in plastic, and there's consistently been a strong emphasis on academic achievement, as well as a disdain for sports or physical activity with the "goys" (non-Jews). This is one of the attributes that I hate about the community and I feel the stereotype of the meek, intellectual Jew perpetuates itself through these cultural features. If you choose to ignore these characteristics and feel that cultures are interchangeable that's on you.

The problem with stereotypes is you run into confirmation bias and this perpetuates the stereotype, regardless of its "validity". Then based on the stereotype about a race or culture, value judgements are made about individuals, regardless of whether they are true or not. You don't see a problem with that?
Yarely
Posts: 329
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9/18/2011 1:07:47 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/18/2011 12:55:59 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 9/18/2011 12:33:17 PM, nonentity wrote:
At 9/18/2011 12:25:20 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
Stereotypes are not baseless. There are cultural and biological facts that differ from group to group, and while obviously not all members of a group exhibit these characteristics there are undoubtedly general differences between groups. It's these differences that are the basis of stereotypes, and the problem is when these assumptions are just brought too far or made rigid.

Outside of race and class, it's such a non-issue. If I tell someone online that I play college basketball they're likely to make assumptions about my height, and for the most part assuming that I would be 6'+ would be correct but there's always the point guard who's like 5'9 that breaks that stereotype and one has wonder if he even gets offended by the characterization. For the record, I don't play college basketball because I'm 5'6.

Race and class are (generally) something you're born into, while being a college basketball player is something you've chosen. Additionally, being classified as a college basketball player is a much smaller group than being classified as a race. Races span across cultures and across continents, and to classify an entire race based on the actions of a select group of people doesn't even make sense.

Do you seriously believe stereotypes are completely baseless?
Nonentity never said anything about stereotypes being completely baseless. Just that generalizing isn't a good thing because people are individual human beings
"Anarchism stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion and liberation of the human body from the coercion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. It stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals""
-Emma Goldman
Grape
Posts: 989
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9/18/2011 1:09:23 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I don't think that anyone can seriously deny the usefulness of "stereotypes" for guessing information about people more accurately than by pure chance when little information is available. If the only thing you know about person A and person B is that person A is a man and person B is a woman, you cannot remain totally agnostic as to which one is likely taller.
innomen
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9/18/2011 1:22:16 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I'm not sure what's wrong with perpetuating the Jewish mother stereotype by using it, nor am I sure that i am actually perpetuating it by using it, but the perpetuation falls within the person that lives the example. If the Jewish mother stereotype were to evaporate because they no longer exhibited these characteristics, wouldn't they eventually lose validity?
OMGJustinBieber
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9/18/2011 1:22:28 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Please quote where I said that?

Then what is it that we're arguing about? Are we suppose to acknowledge cultural differences, but then completely ignore them? Grape's post represents my stance well.

Then based on the stereotype about a race or culture, value judgements are made about individuals, regardless of whether they are true or not. You don't see a problem with that?

Stereotypes are not intended to be completely true all the time. It's just acknowledging differences in cultural facts, and it seems the narrower we get the more refined the details of the cultural differences become. If you asked me to stereotype an average black man I would honestly have no idea. Is he starving in Somalia or is he Will Smith? When you take smaller groups with distinct and well-known traits like Mormons or northeastern Jews it becomes impossible to deny these unique cultures that in turn tend to produce certain types of individuals.
innomen
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9/18/2011 1:25:21 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/18/2011 1:17:31 PM, nonentity wrote:
http://en.wikipedia.org...

http://en.wikipedia.org...

http://en.wikipedia.org...

And, like I said, it's pretty interesting that the Western world perpetuates this false idea of "free will" and "merit", yet you are judged on factors beyond your will and merit.

You've been stereotyping about Americans, and now the Western world, all over the place here.
Cerebral_Narcissist
Posts: 10,806
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9/18/2011 1:25:39 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
We understand the world by stereotypes and generalisations, so long as we don't let them blind us they are useful Categories have correlations.
I am voting for Innomen because of his intelligence, common sense, humility and the fact that Juggle appears to listen to him. Any other Presidential style would have a large sub-section of the site up in arms. If I was President I would destroy the site though elitism, others would let it run riot. Innomen represents a middle way that works, neither draconian nor anarchic and that is the only way things can work. Plus he does it all without ego trips.
nonentity
Posts: 5,008
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9/18/2011 1:41:13 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/18/2011 1:25:21 PM, innomen wrote:
At 9/18/2011 1:17:31 PM, nonentity wrote:
http://en.wikipedia.org...

http://en.wikipedia.org...

http://en.wikipedia.org...

And, like I said, it's pretty interesting that the Western world perpetuates this false idea of "free will" and "merit", yet you are judged on factors beyond your will and merit.

You've been stereotyping about Americans, and now the Western world, all over the place here.

lol I knew someone would say that. It's not a stereotype, it's a statement about known American and Western values. Do you think it's a stereotype to say Americans have an Individualist culture as opposed to the Chinese culture of collectivism? The difference between stereotypes and what I said is that, in what I said, there are individual differences, but in society, certain behaviour are praised over others, and people are forced to conform.
Yarely
Posts: 329
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9/18/2011 1:42:59 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Sure stereotypes can be bad and judgmental, but we as humans ALWAYS judge people. Judging and generalizing people is impossible not to do. It's like a habit or something
"Anarchism stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion and liberation of the human body from the coercion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. It stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals""
-Emma Goldman
Cerebral_Narcissist
Posts: 10,806
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9/18/2011 1:49:45 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/18/2011 1:41:13 PM, nonentity wrote:
At 9/18/2011 1:25:21 PM, innomen wrote:
At 9/18/2011 1:17:31 PM, nonentity wrote:
http://en.wikipedia.org...

http://en.wikipedia.org...

http://en.wikipedia.org...

And, like I said, it's pretty interesting that the Western world perpetuates this false idea of "free will" and "merit", yet you are judged on factors beyond your will and merit.

You've been stereotyping about Americans, and now the Western world, all over the place here.

lol I knew someone would say that. It's not a stereotype, it's a statement about known American and Western values. Do you think it's a stereotype to say Americans have an Individualist culture as opposed to the Chinese culture of collectivism? The difference between stereotypes and what I said is that, in what I said, there are individual differences, but in society, certain behaviour are praised over others, and people are forced to conform.

Is there really much of a difference between saying "Chinese people are X" and "Chinese culture favours X".
I am voting for Innomen because of his intelligence, common sense, humility and the fact that Juggle appears to listen to him. Any other Presidential style would have a large sub-section of the site up in arms. If I was President I would destroy the site though elitism, others would let it run riot. Innomen represents a middle way that works, neither draconian nor anarchic and that is the only way things can work. Plus he does it all without ego trips.
innomen
Posts: 10,052
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9/18/2011 1:56:32 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/18/2011 1:41:13 PM, nonentity wrote:
At 9/18/2011 1:25:21 PM, innomen wrote:
At 9/18/2011 1:17:31 PM, nonentity wrote:
http://en.wikipedia.org...

http://en.wikipedia.org...

http://en.wikipedia.org...

And, like I said, it's pretty interesting that the Western world perpetuates this false idea of "free will" and "merit", yet you are judged on factors beyond your will and merit.

You've been stereotyping about Americans, and now the Western world, all over the place here.

lol I knew someone would say that. It's not a stereotype, it's a statement about known American and Western values. Do you think it's a stereotype to say Americans have an Individualist culture as opposed to the Chinese culture of collectivism? The difference between stereotypes and what I said is that, in what I said, there are individual differences, but in society, certain behaviour are praised over others, and people are forced to conform.

Are you kidding me? So if i said something about "known Jewish values" that would be okay?
nonentity
Posts: 5,008
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9/18/2011 2:00:41 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/18/2011 1:49:45 PM, Cerebral_Narcissist wrote:
At 9/18/2011 1:41:13 PM, nonentity wrote:
At 9/18/2011 1:25:21 PM, innomen wrote:
At 9/18/2011 1:17:31 PM, nonentity wrote:
http://en.wikipedia.org...

http://en.wikipedia.org...

http://en.wikipedia.org...

And, like I said, it's pretty interesting that the Western world perpetuates this false idea of "free will" and "merit", yet you are judged on factors beyond your will and merit.

You've been stereotyping about Americans, and now the Western world, all over the place here.

lol I knew someone would say that. It's not a stereotype, it's a statement about known American and Western values. Do you think it's a stereotype to say Americans have an Individualist culture as opposed to the Chinese culture of collectivism? The difference between stereotypes and what I said is that, in what I said, there are individual differences, but in society, certain behaviour are praised over others, and people are forced to conform.

Is there really much of a difference between saying "Chinese people are X" and "Chinese culture favours X".

"Chinese people are smart."

It would not be a stereotype to say "Chinese people score better on IQ tests than other people" if it were shown to be true (and it is). But IQ tests are a very subjective measure of intelligence. It would be a stereotype to say "You're Chinese, so you must be smart". And then you run into the No True Scotsman Fallacy and you get "Typical Chinese people are smart."
Cerebral_Narcissist
Posts: 10,806
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9/18/2011 2:01:59 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/18/2011 2:00:41 PM, nonentity wrote:
At 9/18/2011 1:49:45 PM, Cerebral_Narcissist wrote:
At 9/18/2011 1:41:13 PM, nonentity wrote:
At 9/18/2011 1:25:21 PM, innomen wrote:
At 9/18/2011 1:17:31 PM, nonentity wrote:
http://en.wikipedia.org...

http://en.wikipedia.org...

http://en.wikipedia.org...

And, like I said, it's pretty interesting that the Western world perpetuates this false idea of "free will" and "merit", yet you are judged on factors beyond your will and merit.

You've been stereotyping about Americans, and now the Western world, all over the place here.

lol I knew someone would say that. It's not a stereotype, it's a statement about known American and Western values. Do you think it's a stereotype to say Americans have an Individualist culture as opposed to the Chinese culture of collectivism? The difference between stereotypes and what I said is that, in what I said, there are individual differences, but in society, certain behaviour are praised over others, and people are forced to conform.

Is there really much of a difference between saying "Chinese people are X" and "Chinese culture favours X".

"Chinese people are smart."

It would not be a stereotype to say "Chinese people score better on IQ tests than other people" if it were shown to be true (and it is). But IQ tests are a very subjective measure of intelligence. It would be a stereotype to say "You're Chinese, so you must be smart". And then you run into the No True Scotsman Fallacy and you get "Typical Chinese people are smart."

I personally think you are on pretty shaky ground on this!
I am voting for Innomen because of his intelligence, common sense, humility and the fact that Juggle appears to listen to him. Any other Presidential style would have a large sub-section of the site up in arms. If I was President I would destroy the site though elitism, others would let it run riot. Innomen represents a middle way that works, neither draconian nor anarchic and that is the only way things can work. Plus he does it all without ego trips.
nonentity
Posts: 5,008
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9/18/2011 2:02:22 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/18/2011 1:56:32 PM, innomen wrote:
At 9/18/2011 1:41:13 PM, nonentity wrote:
At 9/18/2011 1:25:21 PM, innomen wrote:
At 9/18/2011 1:17:31 PM, nonentity wrote:
http://en.wikipedia.org...

http://en.wikipedia.org...

http://en.wikipedia.org...

And, like I said, it's pretty interesting that the Western world perpetuates this false idea of "free will" and "merit", yet you are judged on factors beyond your will and merit.

You've been stereotyping about Americans, and now the Western world, all over the place here.

lol I knew someone would say that. It's not a stereotype, it's a statement about known American and Western values. Do you think it's a stereotype to say Americans have an Individualist culture as opposed to the Chinese culture of collectivism? The difference between stereotypes and what I said is that, in what I said, there are individual differences, but in society, certain behaviour are praised over others, and people are forced to conform.

Are you kidding me? So if i said something about "known Jewish values" that would be okay?

Like what? Based on your OP post, that Jewish people value control? Who doesn't?
Wnope
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9/18/2011 2:03:01 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/18/2011 5:29:24 AM, innomen wrote:
I did this sort of thread once before and the concensus was there is no justification to a stereotype, which I disagree with, but think that for the power of political correctness we don't allow ourselves to admit it. I know that we generalize all the time, and make judgments based on them, but we may be more careful to not vocalize it.

So, here's what happened: Yesterday i was at the gym talking to a friend, not a close friend, but someone i know well enough, and i began to describe the mother of my best friend growing up. I described her as being the epitome of a Jewish mother, to the point of cliche. I went into great detail, but nothing that would be considered malicious or cruel, but rather the plastic draped on the furniture, and her samavar on the table, along with her incessant control over her son who had to be a doctor whether or not he liked it. Well, my friend, who is a non practicing Jew seemed to be a little put off by this; I didn't apologize because i really didn't think i said anything harmful, in fact my Jewish friend would probably agree with my description of his mother.

I understand that stereotypes can lead one in a direction where they turn to hate, but that's only because the basis of hate is a precondition, and the stereotype is a catalyst, but we have become hyper sensitive and look to stave off any possibility of going in this direction.

Is this reasonable? Is a characterization of someone being "typical" unfair and wrong even when no real malice is intended? If someone says that someone is typically gay, i am not offended, and i am aided in the description of someone. FAct of the matter is, we do it whether or not we like it, and we just internalize it or only vocalize it when it is sanctioned by the restrictions of political correctness.

Anyway, my morning rant.

A stereotype is a basic incarnation of the human tendency to try and predict patterns. We all make snap-judgements based on criteria that we have seen before. So we all stereotypes as a heuristic.

The question is how self-aware you are of the validity of the heuristic. If you meet ten black people in your life, and all of them are gang-bangers, then while you may have an ingrained heuristic reaction of "oh, he is black? He must be another gang-banger" you also have the conscious choice of saying "granted, I've only met ten black people, so while the heuristic may apply to this new black person, it has no validity past my previous experience with limited samples.

Anyone who claims they do not stereotype in any sense is lying. The trick is to understand that your mind is trying to ingrain a pattern as "truthful" while in fact the pattern is tentative and experience-based.