Why do people stereotype?

+82 votes
asked Jun 26, 2015 in Culture & Society by GeraldineEis (380 points)
This is my second year of high school, and I think saying I’m girl says everything about the kind of problems I’ve been having with certain groups of girls and even the guys. Because of the people I hang out with, everyone likes to assume things about me that aren’t true. It’s really frustrating, especially when I try to make new friends or have to work with people that don’t like my other friends. Why do people stereotype?

2 Answers

+28 votes
answered Aug 10, 2015 by RenateGottsh (370 points)
Most of the time people stereotype because of biases they already have or ones that are being reinforced by their friends or family. Someone who has been told something about a certain group of people over and over again are more likely to start believing it, and when they see someone who fits their stereotype then they see it as proof. This is how racism gets started, which is definitely one of the nastier forms of stereotyping. It’s easy for this to get carried away because there will always be someone who fits a stereotype. They exist for a reason, there had to be someone who started the idea. It gets dangerous when people try to spread this stereotype to an entire group because of only a few people though.
+7 votes
answered Aug 8, 2015 by NobleGoodric (320 points)
Even though most of us can recognize that stereotyping isn’t right, it still happens to the best of us. So this is a good question to figure out: why do people stereotype? I believe people stereotype because of natural instincts to protect and help the success of their own group. All of us divide each other into social groups in some way, whether it has to do with your interests, where you live, how much money you make, or what religion you identify with. Naturally, we associate with people more like us and tend to shun the ones who are the most unlike us. Even more, we all want our own group that we associate with to succeed. So a lot of times this turns into stereotyping other people because of competition for protection. Of course any logical person can recognize that this doesn’t make stereotyping okay, but it definitely explains how it can happen even when we know it’s wrong.
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