Stereotyping is a social science activities in which some belief of particular groups of individuals or various types of actions that are supposed to portray a population as a whole is universally embraced. Perceived thoughts do not always conform to reality. There are many conceptualizations of stereotyping in psychology, but we will concentrate on Banaji and Greenwald’s hypothesis regarding the social advantages of stereotyping. The study would be conducted in relation to McIntosh’s philosophies and observations on privilege in general.
Stereotyping allows one to recognize complete strangers as separate entities. Our human minds are generally wired to categorize events, things, situations, and people for it to be able to focus on other things. It is a natural order of things (Kurylo 15). For a person to progress to a higher state of continual development, a judgement has to be made. Unfortunately, this happens to strangers as well. Strangers suffer the effect of generalization yet they are distinctive individuals. Generalization however has a positive effect on the doer in that is shapes the character of the doer and forms an opinion that advocates for caution (Banaji and Greenwald 23).
Peggy McIntosh compares white privilege to male privilege (McIntosh 99) .This is a kind of privilege that is unacknowledged but it does exist. As a white person, one is taught that racism is an act that puts other people at a disadvantage and not views it as a corollary aspect, which puts them at an advantage. Basing the comparison from male and white privilege, much of their oppressiveness is unconscious.
White privilege can be associated to an unfairly advantaged person. The whites are taught to think of their lives as normative, ideal, average and morally neutral painting those angels (people working for the benefit of others). This subconsciously forces people to want to be like them. A day-to-day research revealed enormous privileges were accorded to the whites due to stereotyping. As a white person, one has the ability to gain an edge over the other just by the mere fact of winning the national lottery of birth.
Meritocracy influences stereotyping. The categories formed places some people at an advantageous position while others at a lower dis advantaged position. The ones at an advantaged state are often those of a higher economic status or a higher perceived racial standing “whites”. White privilege can range in a variety of instances. A white person can comfortably go shopping without the possibility of being followed or harassed. If presumably a white person is pulled over by a traffic cop or audited by IRS on tax returns, one can be sure they have not been singled out because of their race.
People actively send signals to others based on their intended stereotyping categorization. We all want to be treated in a certain way. Communication is not all about words. Humans are identified by their capacity for empathy and ability to discern other people’s emotions and feelings. A person can communicate their emotions and feelings based on how they dress, behave or physical ques they give out. We all associate a certain kind of dressing to a specific type of people. Official dressing code is assumed to be worn by the serious analytical type of people. Casual dressing on other hand is assumed to be preferred by the free spirited laid-back kind of people; this is a classic example of stereotyping. It feels good to put people in categories as one does not have to ponder long and hard of whom the person is, or make a thorough research on their background. In this current society, this will just make you feel like a stalker .Laws have also been passed that discourage stalking. Time is also of the essence because practically speaking, one cannot truly research each detail of a person’s life for everyone encountered. Even if this is possible, who says they will not make one or two mistakes along the ways? To avoid this hassle of time and energy, we fit people into categories. A small margin of error is allowed which is better than the alternative. This can be used to the advantage of person who wants to be treated in a certain way by fitting in to the available stereotypical groups (Rodi and Ross 2017).
McIntosh would approve the validity of Banaji and Greenwald’s theory .McIntosh would approve that stereotyping is plainly psychological and not entirely realistic. To break the chain of stereotyping, one would require a skeptic mindset ready to question societal norms and rules. McIntosh agrees that stereotyping is not healthy. Stereotyping places others at a disadvantage. It is upon those of a higher standing on the stereotyping cycle to exercise their authority responsibly (Banaji and Greenwald 2013). This is because stereotypes are unavoidable at one point or another in a human’s life. It is important to promote equality among each other for we were all born equal until we were conditioned to think otherwise. People treated with equality and fairness feel appreciated and the society becomes harmonious.
Stereotyping is based on recognizing a certain basis pattern, and concluding a judgment. It is said that a lot can be changed, but a person’s true nature and behavior will remain constant. Based on this fact, people justify their stereotyping behavior. Logically, people have a right to form judgments but they should not be blamed as the human brain is wired to exercise self-preservation Stereotyping if skillfully used could enable people evade various dangerous situations by reading people .Everyone whether consciously or not, relay a message of their nature .It is a fact that most serial killers enjoy loneliness and solitude. It is also true that sociopaths have no respect for morality and only care of meeting their primitive psychological ID need met. Once a person recognizes such traits in a person, they would want to categorize them as serial killers or some outcasts, which may or may not be true. Research also suggests that serial killers, being sociopaths, have an amazing ability of fitting in more than the average person does. Being pathological liars, they lie their way through social groups withholding no moral guilt. From this two study cases, it is evident that people are never what they seem (DeLamater et al. 63).
From Banaji and Greenwald’s theory, McIntosh suggests that stereotyping has both positive and negative implications. Stereotyping is beneficial only to those receiving unwarranted favors but detrimental to those left out of the equation .The ones left out feel cheated, wrongfully judged , victimized and alienated by the society . To achieve harmony, fairness should be practiced by everyone to everyone.
Banaji, Mahzarin R. and Anthony G. Greenwald. Blindspot : Hidden Biases of Good People. Delacorte Press, 2013.
DeLamater, John D., Daniel J. Myers, and Jessica L. Collet. Social Psychology. Westview Press, 2014.
Kurylo, Anastacia. Stereotypes. SAGE Publications Ltd., 2015.
McIntosh, Peggy. “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” Winnipeg, www.winnipeg.ca/clerks/boards/citizenequity/pdfs/white_privilege.pdf
Rodi, Robert, and Laura Ross. Confronting Stereotypes. Mason Crest, 2017.