Consciously or unconsciously, we are all influenced by stereotypes. Most of these prejudices have been cultivated in us since we were kids, usually through jokes. But “NOT ME” you say? “I see everyone as a blank slate.” You might be surprised at the number of stereotypes you carry in your subconscious.
How many jokes have you heard since you were a kid that included race, religion. sexual orientation or ethnicity as the punchline? Did you laugh? Did you tell it to a friend?
So what? We can’t make fun of each other anymore? Isn’t it okay to poke good natured fun at race, religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity even if it’s at our own expense?
Words have power.
Watch this 50 states stereotypes video and see which ones strike a chord with you. Television commercials are another good place to look for the perpetuation of stereotypes. I can’t count how many commercials I’ve seen where the husband is portrayed as the bumbling idiot or the wife portrayed as a manipulating know it all. We laugh at these little skits but step back and ask yourself why? You are laughing at the realization that you hold a prejudice. Take a look at how deep some of these seemingly harmless stereotypes play and effect our perception of the world.
I’m not making a call against humor here. I love to laugh. I’m just making a call for awareness in the spirit of self improvement. Born and raised in Texas, I have been both the punchline and the perpetrator. Everything really is bigger in Texas and that includes the EGO. It’s our state motto for God’s sake. 😉
Life can be pretty funny. It doesn’t have to be ugly. With awareness comes understanding and with understanding comes acceptance. Take a look at the stereotypes that were cultivated in your life. Words really do have power. Will you use that power to empower or to deflate?