Stereotypes have become quite common in our societies and have controlled the manner in which some groups think of others. This has influenced how people from different cultures relate to one another. As Perkins argues in her essay, stereotypes determine the attitudes people have towards others from different groups, and are usually used to manifest some problems or portray their way of living. One of the commonly known stereotypes in the US is that African Americans are incompetent people who never like engaging themselves in productive activities to ensure that they contribute immensely to the country’s economic development prospects, thereby making the American Dream real for them. Perkins is true in her argument that stereotypes play a huge role in the socialization of major groups, since it is the minorities who have been disadvantaged by having to withstand neglect and ignorance towards the participation in important societal activities. It is clear that the negative stereotypes held against the African Americans are the reason for the groups continued languish and exposure to different sorts of social injustices. Positive stereotypes are often constructive and help groups to exploit their perceived capabilities while those that are negative cause distrust among individuals, thereby making it difficult for them to establish their potential.
Perkins’ article has greatly influenced my approach taken in this paper. For instance, it is the dominant groups that benefit from the attributes held upon them. Minority groups find it difficult to socialize freely in society and the negative stereotypes held against them hinder their pursuits to attain certain accomplishments and end up embracing their low status perceptions. She states that although stereotypes may at times appear simple, they play a big role in enhancing complex social relationships. It makes life within societies difficult for the minority groups who find it difficult to have their voice heard. Her views support my claim that the plight went through by the blacks in the American society has been facilitated by the negative stereotypes held upon them. The role of this group in the economic wellbeing of the country continues to be ignored, as individuals continue to suffer in society for lack of jobs and enough funds to educate their children for a bright future.
Stereotypes have ensured that different generations within a society grow up with the same perceptions regarding other groups. Much of the stereotypes are drawn from the varying cultures evident in the US. Although the positive stereotypes encourage individuals to uphold their cultural practices by engaging wholeheartedly in those undertakings believed to improve the destiny of their societies, the negative ones force individuals to lose their desire of taking important roles in their communities, thereby making their life more difficult. The assumption made by Perkins that stereotypes are erroneous is true, since they compel people to have generalized views about some groups in society. It is also clear that most individuals hold stereotypes against groups that they have minimal contacts with. Therefore, the belief that African Americans are often incompetent and lazy has led to most of them being mistreated and denied work opportunities when it is apparent that they have the required qualifications. It is sensible for people to only hold prejudge towards specific individuals they have dealt with and avoid generalizing an entire group, since this only promotes false impressions.
The stereotype in this case is that blacks are always complacent and unable to commit themselves fully in any serious undertaking within society. Perkins classifies this group as isolated, since its members have always been neglected in society and forced to endure numerous social problems such as poverty and unemployment. It is the whites who seem to hold this stereotype and the country’s laws seem to only support them, as blacks are forced to continue with their suffering with no one interested in addressing their plight. The reason this stereotype has persisted for ages is that society has encouraged young people to grow with such notions in their minds and it has been evident in the entire society whereby young whites ridicule their black counterparts when they meet in schools and other social institutions. The African Americans have been compelled to accept their position in society as minorities and acknowledge the whites as the majority group. According to Green (Para 22), such stereotypes make individuals develop certain beliefs against other people. It is further argued that individuals tend to develop various expectations based on the stereotypes they get towards some groups and thereby ignore any information that is contrary to what they already have in their minds. The attitudes held upon the African Americans date back to a couple of decades ago when the American society developed various stereotypes about them.
Green (Para 9) argues that movies have also become good platforms for individuals to portray the stereotypes individuals have towards the blacks, who are always forced to play timid roles as signs of incompetency. Native Americans refer to this group as aliens who only got the opportunity to occupy America, following the era of slavery where the blacks are regarded to have been contented with the act. As a result, the earliest manifestations of this stereotype were the inability of the blacks to protect themselves from the advances of slavery, which used to show that they have been reluctant to get rid of all the challenges they come through in society. The stereotype has had no significant changes overtime and has been exercised negatively to promote racial oppression. It is ideologically significant owing to the various differences it has brewed over the country’s leadership with several leaders having fought tirelessly to quell it but for no avail. There is sign that African Americans have taken the stereotype positively and seem to overturn it, since unlike in the past when they had limited representation in the country’s leadership and other important social activities, the group has realized the need to work in unison and take part in all development endeavors.
It is evident that the African American society in the US has been forced to make insignificant contributions to the country’s development pursuits due to the negative stereotypes held on them. The belief that blacks are lazy and complacent has led to them being neglected and left aside in some major societal activities. This paper is important for any reader willing to understand the dangers posed by some stereotypes in society. Members of this group have shown in the recent past that they are capable of doing anything necessary to improve the welfare of the entire society if given the opportunity. Those working in the corporate sector have been able to show competency and good work ethics. Additionally, the increased representation of the group in leadership positions within country shows that the stereotypes held upon them are erroneous, and equality should, therefore, be embraced to promote harmonious living.
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