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Stereotypes, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 920

Essay

When I ran track in High school there were many black kids in the team. We used to joke around with one another while on the bus or at practice. I used to call them cotton pickers. It was a joke between us; we knew that were all joking around. One day while entering the bus, I sat in the back where one of my black friend’s would sit. He said, “You are in my seat”. I came back with a statement that was meant to be funny, but one of the black kids took it the wrong way. I said to my friend, “We gave you the right to sit at the front of the bus a long time ago”. I could not believe what I had just said. Two of the black kids laughed; the other kid gave me the dirtiest look ever. I never told him I felt sorry; from that day on nothing was ever said about someone else’s race.

A stereotype that developed over the years was that all black people make money for school. Meaning they received federal funds and not loans. I was told this while I was applying to colleges. As I tried to get into college, it haunted me. I asked track coaches how much school was, and they would tell me that I would be able to receive federal loans for school. I would tell my parent’s this, and they would say, “You will probably have to pay for your own education, because the government uses school money for the black families”. I believed this for years while I was in college. I believed this until last year. It was not that all black families were receiving the money for college; it was because my parent’s made too much money for me to receive the extra assistants for school. Since it was my parent’s fault, I should have been mad at them for not paying for my school. I have begun to despise my parent’s for not making a college fund, so that I could go to college. I will not make the same mistakes again.

Another stereotype that I have made about black people in the past is that they are all on welfare, and they can not hold a job. The welfare part of my stereotype has changed over the years. It changed because I have not seen many black people who are on welfare. I have seen white people that have been on welfare. My cousin was the first person that I have seen on welfare. She is a single parent of a beautiful young girl. Without welfare, she would not have been able to survive on her own. She has since found a job and is off welfare. The part about black people not holding jobs has changed. It is not that they can not hold a job, but they are still discriminated against when looking for jobs. On one hand, I have seen black people that do not have jobs.On the other hand, I have also seen black people that have succeeded in finding a decent paying job.

I have also had stereotypes about Jewish people. I was afraid to put this in my paper for fear that I would hurt my teacher. This stereotype was started when I was in High School. I am ashamed to say this now, but I used to make fun of a Jewish boy that was in my school. On the bus rides home, all the other students and I used to gather all our pennies together. When the Jewish boy was dropped of at his bus stop, we would throw the pennies out the window and watch to see if he picked them up. It was a game we played almost everyday.

This stereotype of Jewish people changed one day in High School. I told a joke a friend that went like this: Have you seen a new Jewish tire. It not only stops on a dime it picks it up”. When I said this to him, I thought he was going to kick my butt. He said, “What in the hell is your problem?” I said, “I’m sorry, are you Jewish”. He said, “No, but my mother married a Jewish man; I wish that you would not say jokes like that again”. I was devastated and have never said any jokes about Jewish people since that incident. I have tried to find out more about religion, and the holidays they celebrate. I did ask a Jewish lady about Hanukkah. She explained the entire process with candles and gifts.

I have other stereotypes that have changed. I believe that I have learned many aspects of different races from being in college.It was negative to think about what I lost in this transformation, and I drove these thoughts away so I could climb the scale faster. But in retrospect, what I lost was much more important than what I gained.

Racism in the world will never change. People are so driven by their beliefs; they are blind to their faiths,they are all created equal. Related is the issue of how easily we can control stereotypes and prejudices. As April Kemick (2010) has written, “stereotyping has lasting negative impacts: prejudice has lingering effects” and can scar a person for life. We must teach the new generation to respect others for who they are as people, and not by their background or the color of their skin.

References

Kemick, April. (2010). Stereotyping Has Lasting Negative Impact. Retrieved from http://www.usnews.com/science/articles/2010/08/12/stereotyping-has-lasting-negative-impact

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