About Me

Rebel without a cause!

Friday, December 22, 2006

On Stereotypes

In my previous post, I had an interesting discussion with Manjunatha and it certainly was highly educative to me atleast as it made me think more about my own positions. At one point, I was accused of thinking in terms of stereotypes. Now that certainly should be a damaging argument for we tend to assume being stereotyped means being biased, illiberal, narrow-minded etc. But I think that forming stereotypes is a natural process and the way our mind thinks. Its a way of organizing information.

We make use of information obtained through experience of our own and others to form stereotypes which help us in behaving in similar situations in future. Its a natural mechanism in psychology. But where it can go wrong is when we confuse the stereotype with reality and dont adjust our perceptions (i.e. stereotypes) to the reality.

There is a fascinating post by Amardeep Singh over at Sepia Mutiny on "The mth of "Martial Races" and I got this story from one of the comments there. Its worth a read. Found these parts especially interesting.

t is just the "habit" that causes trouble. Inseparable from us like the body and the shadow, it allows us to be satisfied with the current situation and stick to the established ways. The more of a so-called "expert" one is, the more one would easily fall into the trap of the "habit," rejecting the new information, new methods and new ideas, so as to defend one's vested interests and sense of superiority.

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