Laura Shwahla, LCSW (Licenses Clinical Social Worker)
70 S MAIN ST CRANBURY, NJ 08512-3140 US
Stereotyping is born when a large number of a certain population adopt a specific behavior. It is when knowledge of these patterns invites us to make assumptions about individuals that it becomes prejudice. Based on our experience and exposure to certain images and information we tend to “pre-judge” one another. It is thought that nearly 93% of communication is non-verbal. That combined with our biologically programmed survival mechanism of risk-assessment means that we are essentially hard-wired to stereotype and prejudge. It becomes our ethical obligation to become aware of these thoughts and prevent our behavior from reflecting them if they are indeed unfavorable.
OUR THEME TODAY IS “HOW CAN I…”
Change someone’s perception of me?
The best way to change someone’s perception is to simply let people get to know you. You cannot change their pre-conceived notions, but you can certainly offer them a new frame of reference.
Or overcome a stereotype?
I don’t believe it’s someone’s job to overcome their sterotype. I believe it’s our job to become aware when we as individuals are stereotyping others.
Be aware that I am stereotyping… We are biologically programmed to assess one another. (Is this person a threat? Is this person a potential mate?) The reality is, anytime your information about another person is coming from your thoughts, or ideas rather than facts, you are potentially stereotyping.
Stop myself from stereotyping someone you are close to:
“All or nothing” statements are the catalyst for most arguments. If you notice a pattern with someone you care about and it has a negative impact on you, then share the information from your perspective; for example “When you’re late, I feel like I am not a priority to you.”
Deal with racial comments.
Educate. Teach people how to treat you and hold them accountable.
Deal with stereotyping in the workplace?
Defy and unite. Defy people’s expectations and develop a network of supportive and influential people who can initiate change.