As someone who writes I try to avoid cliché at all costs, but clichés don't just occur in writing. When responding to a comment on my last post Lessons to be learned I said that although there are people who scam, we need to realise that this is a minority and not use it as an excuse for prejudice.
But racial clichés abound. Scottish people are tight. The English are snobs. The Irish are stupid. Arabs are greedy. Americans are lazy.
I mean, seriously, in this day and age?
Yes, I know that some of these are used in jest, but some people think this racial stereotyping is accurate. Isn't that sort of terrifying?
In the comment that prompted this post I said "If a man steals a car we don't assume that every man on the planet is a car thief." That sort of sweeping generalisation isn't believed in (we'll get into the female "Men are rubbish!" generalisation another time!). So why are racial generalisations believed in?
Is it because we feel the need to define something different? For example, I personally would find having to wear hijab very restricting. It's not something that I would be comfortable in. I haven't been brought up with it, it has nothing to do with my religious beliefs. And while I don't really understand why you'd choose to wear it I'm not going to say "It's oppressive to all women!!" Why? Because what the hell do I know about it? For all I know, this is their choice and they embrace it happily for whatever reason. It's not for me, but it's also not for me to tell you how to dress. Some people, because they can't understand why this might be someone's choice, perhaps it's easier for them to decide it's a symbol of oppression. That's something they can get.
Is it easier to relate to people if you can lump them into a certain category? I can only imagine that this is the reason for this casual racial stereotyping.
We're all guilty of it, I'm sure. So maybe next time a generalisation rises to your lips, you can pause, reconsider.
All right, enough of the heavy stuff now, I promise. I’m actually planning another post on fashion and hairdos.