Before we can break stereotypes we have to admit they exist. We have to admit they exist and that there is some truth in them. We have to admit they exist, that there is some truth in them, and stop excusing stereotypes. We have to admit they exist, that there is some truth in them, stop excusing stereotypes, and acknowledge there is much that is not true because of generalizations.
We have to admit stereotypes exist, that there is some truth in stereotypes, stop
excusing stereotypes and acknowledge
there is much that is not true because of generalizations, and to break the cycle of generalizations we must chose to do things differently to stop those generalizations.
Before we can ever break the stereotypes that people make about certain races/cultures we must admit the stereotypes exist. You can’t fix something if you do not know it is broken. Every race/culture has stereotypes of other races/cultures. There are stereotypes even among a specific race towards other of the same race.
We need to face these stereotypes head on.
Some Truth in Stereotypes
Before we can break the backbone of stereotypes that lead to racism we must acknowledge that every stereotype has some truth in it. Somebody will always find someone else that exemplifies the stereotype. The truth is every race/culture has some characteristics that is common among the culture.
Many of the truths about the stereotype are looked at in a negative way by those who have racism instead of seeing the positive aspect of the stereotype. So in order to break the negative aspects of stereotypes we must find the positive aspects of stereotypes.
The truth sets people free, not denial.
Stop Excusing Certain Stereotypes
What we mean is some groups excuse their stereotypes because they say they are true. Yes they may be true to an extent but an extent. They certainly should never be used as generalizations for everyone. Also, there are groups that know they fit stereotypes and then they justify it. What great example is that some groups have many within their group that act like they are victims. They then say we at like victims because we are victims. A person must make the decision to not be a victim and live above circumstances where they can be a victim.
Many within certain races/cultures have been victims for years. But everyone in their culture is a victim. Why? Because of different circumstances but more importantly they choose to not be a victim regardless of what happens to them. Listen, there are victims in every culture.
We are not victims if we are in Christ, we are Victors!
Stereotypes and Generalizations
This is why stereotypes can be so damaging and lead to racism. One of the biggest problems with stereotypes is that they are generalizations-they are not applicable to all people. They are only applicable to those who exhibit the stereotypes. To group all people of a certain race/culture into a specific stereotype is unjust. We should not label people.
Nobody wants to be told who they are because of some stereotype that is not even applicable to them.
We should not make the assumption all people of a race/culture are the same. That is being judgmental and breeds racism. To break the damage that stereotypes can cause we must see people as individuals.
Even if a person by their behavior and actions exhibits a certain generalization we do not know their heart, only God knows their heart. It is not our role to judge the motives of a person. The truth is because we are all fallen human beings we manifest certain behaviors that are not truly representative of our heart, more representative of our brokenness.
Breaking Stereotypes by Behaving Differently
This is the main focus of this article. If we do not like stereotypes of our race/culture it is our job to break the stereotype. We do our part to show the positive side of the stereotype, to show the stereotype is false, or to change the negative aspects of the stereotype that has some truth in it. If instead of us addressing the stereotype issue we just complain about the stereotypes we are not part of the solution. In fact, we may be part of the problem.
To many individuals are doing nothing to break the stereotypes but instead continue behavior to confirm the stereotype. Yes, of course, we can do all we can to break a stereotype and people with racism why still believe the stereotype-they have to, to justify their racism. But we already know we cannot stop people stereotyping and being racist, but we can do our part to try and bring positive change. I would say we are obligated to do what we can to stop racism, and if that means I challenge the stereotypes of my race/culture I should do it.
When we are not actively living different than the negatives aspects of certain stereotypes we are ultimately fulfilling the stereotypes. That is on use and we can’t blame others that they see us fulfilling the stereotype.
We are to reflect Jesus Christ, not a race or culture.
Examples of How to Break Stereotypes
Some readers are not going to like what we share about this because they are still in denial about some of the stereotypes of their culture. They are going to say there is no truth in them. All that means is that they will continue to walk out the stereotype instead of breaking out of the stereotype. Their identity is so wrapped round their race/culture they are unwilling to see any flaws in their race/culture. They will just keep repeating the victim role that they have for years. Only confirming stereotypes instead of breaking them.
Stereotype-Blacks Hate Police
Of course this is a stereotype. Not all blacks hate police. There are blacks that show respect to police and some are police officers. However, when mostly what is heard from blacks is that police are racist, it will be easy for people to start making generalizations about blacks. Many times we hear more from the blacks who hate police than the blacks who support law enforcement.
So how does a black person break this stereotype? Acknowledge that there are many blacks that show a hatred towards police by their music, their disobedience of the law, and disrespect for police. Because of this the black person goes out of their way to show their support to law enforcement. Not condoning the bad cops, but praising and respecting the good police. Going public about their support of police. By obeying the law. Becoming a police officer themselves. The person is not going against the generalization of the stereotype but is showing the stereotype is actually in many cases. Thus every person that runs into them realizes and has to acknowledge no matter how prejudice they are, that there are black people who do not hate the police. In fact they show an appreciation for law enforcement. Their behavior helps to break the stereotype. If a person who leans towards racism keeps meeting blacks who respect law enforcement they are more likely to realize the stereotype is a generalization, not a fact.
However, if when there are riots, arsons, etc by blacks and a black person does not condone the behavior but supports it, they are just feeding the stereotype and the prejudice. In fact, it makes it harder for whites to come against racism in the culture if blacks do not do their part to break stereotypes. Being silent is not the solution.
Stereotype-All White People are Racist
Of course this is a stereotype. Not all white people a racist. But are there white people that are racist? Absolutely! To deny so would be foolish.
So how does a white person break this stereotype? Acknowledge that there are still even today white people who are racist and who would even go as far to have segregation initiated all over. Make it clear you are against any form of segregation. Develop healthy relationships with black individuals. Open your house up to black people, should not be a problem if you have friends that are black. Invite black people to your organization and find individuals that we raised as leaders in your organization. Listen to their stories of injustice. Don’t try to be black, you’re not black, you’re white. Their behavior will help break the stereotype. It will be harder for a person to still all white people as racist if they see your ongoing behavior that proves that stereotype is false.
Stereotype-All Jews are Cheap
Of course there are Jews that are cheap. In every culture there are people who are cheap. But is the issue that many Jews are cheap or are they thrifty-wise wih money? Saying cheap is being negative to defend maybe a prejudice or racist thought. Sounds terrible to call somebody cheap instead of saying they use their money wise. Are most Jews wise with their money? Not sure but there are certainly are many successful Jews in the business realm. Why is that a bad thing?
So if you are Jewish are you cheap or thrifty? If you are cheap, admit it and do something about it. If you are thrifty who cares what somebody says. You know who you are as a person. As a Jewish person I can certainly say that there are people with Jewish heritage than can be foolsihly cheap and others that are wise with finances. I can say I lean towards being cheap at times. I am aware of it so I make sure I am not being foolishly cheap.
My wife is Filipino and we joke that she must have Jewish blood in her because she is cheap or thrifty most of the time. Does that make her Jewish? Of course not. This proves that a stereotype for one culture may be true for others. I have seen many people from Asian descent to be bigger finaglers than any Jewish person I know. Well maybe I don’t know enoughJewish people to know that. Or maybe I just have been around too many cheap Asian people. Who knows. That is the whole problem with stereotypes. Here is what I do know. As a person of Jewish descent if I don’t like people making the generalization all Jews are cheap, then I don’t be cheap myself.
So your goal is to break off the negative stereotypes of your race/culture. To prove they are just generalizations and some have no valid truth in them. Be an example of an outstanding individual within your race/culture. Be a person of integrity, honor, humble, caring, accepting, loving, and respectful to any race/culture. Those are traits that people cannot deny about you.
Laugh at the Stereotype
Too many times we as a people get offended too easily. Who ultimately cares what people think. They are not our judge. God is. People are people. We live above the stereotypes of others.
People who are secure in who they are and know their identity is in Christ really don’t let what people think and say affect them. When people say stupid stuff based upon stereotypes laugh it off. If the show does not fit. Laugh it off if people are trying to get you to wear a shoe that don’t fit.
Joke about the stereotype. “Yeah I know you can go to just about any type of black church regardless if Baptist or Pentecostal and they are going to loud, clapping, having a good ole time. We like making some noise in your church.” Or, “Yeah that is true but let me take you to my church. You will be shocked. You will think all the black people have got a bunch of white blood in them.” “It’s hard me to make fun of what black people eat. My grandmother was Jewish yet I eat ham hocks and love pigs feet. I clean those bones better than any black person. In fact I got black buddies you say how can I eat those pigs feet. I guess stereotypes are not always correct are they.”
We cannot completely break stereotypes but we can do our part. If we don’t like a certain stereotype about our culture we can choose to not reflect that stereotype. We can personally state our opposition to those who reflect that stereotype that is negative.
To grumble and complain about stereotype and then do nothing about breaking stereotypes we are just part of the problem instead of the solution. Be the solution!!!
Our next article will address specifically address the topic of Identity in Christ.
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Racism in America-The Solution
Is There Still Racism in America? Part Two
Why is There Still Racism in America? Part Three
Solution One-Acknowledgment of Racism, Part Four
Solution Two-Addressing Stereotypes, Part Five
Solution Three-Breaking Stereotypes, Part Six
Solution Four-Identity in Christ, Part Seven
Solution Five-Expose It, Part Eight
Solution Six-Police and Racism, The Solution, Part Nine
Ben Carson on Black Lives Matter, Part Ten
Black Lives Matter and Racism, Part Eleven
Black Lives Matter-All, Part Twelve
Blue Lives Matter, Part Thirteen
All Lives Matter, Part Fourteen
White Privilege, Part Fifteen
Solution Seven-Focus on Unity, Part Sixteen
Solution Eight-The Gospel of Jesus Christ, Part Seventeen
Racism in America-Conclusion, Part Eighteen