Overcoming Stereotypes and Stigmas

I was chatting over a Starbucks with a friend the other morning and we got to talking about how people can look at the same situation and have a different opinion about it. We delved specifically into “stereotypes” and “stigmas”. Those can be such ugly words, with deep meaning and lots of emotions and opinions tied to them. Obviously when someone says a word, you will conjure up all your personal experiences you have had, and they all culminate into your opinion.

Let’s take the word and profession of Real Estate Agent. What immediately comes to your mind? Well, if you have had nothing but awesome experiences with Real Estate Agents, and all your transactions have run smoothly, then you may have a very positive opinion about people in that profession. If you have never bought a home or needed to deal with them, you may not have a personal opinion at all. You may have an opinion, which you have gathered from other people telling you about their experiences. If you have had awful and horrible interactions with people in this career, or if you worked in this profession and had been jilted, you may have a very sour take on this word. The scenarios could go on and on and on.

It was very entertaining to think about this. My friend was beginning to delve into this profession, but she wasn’t sure if she would like it or if she was really going to jump in with both feet. The more we talked, it came out that she did not like the “stereotype” or the “stigma” that she felt hung over the Real Estate industry. She was not sure she wanted to be associated with this “negative” image or not. The more we talked; we realized I had a very similar situation that I was struggling to get my mind around as well.

Stereotypes and Stigmas are just judgments in disguise. Yes, individual people and situations may have helped us form these opinions, but let’s face it…ALL people do not fit the mold of these judgments. Real Estate Agents are not ALL robotic clones. We are all human and we all bring different traits and characteristics to the table. I am Italian. What do you think of when you read that? I think I eat Mexican food more than any other type of food. Do you see how easy it is to stereotype?

We learn these stigmas from the public, the media, and from other people more so than from our own individual experiences. In order to stamp out these unfair opinions, we need to go inside and ask ourselves what is our truth. What feels good to you? What makes sense to you? It is easy to be a lemming and think and do what others do. It takes a strong and courageous individual to think their own thoughts and not get caught up in doing what the crowd does.

Take Action: This week and moving forward, let’s be aware of the stereotypes and stigmas that we hold as truths in our own minds. Let’s begin to question why those thoughts and opinions are there and make an effort to put them aside and look at each person as a unique individual. Let’s value and celebrate our differences, and stop making unfounded judgments!

Because Together is Better,

Comments

  1. Great points, Deanna! Your post remind me a conversation i had a while ago with a bloggy friend. She said your are Turkish and you eat yogurt with everthing…lol..it is so healthy. We use it in so many ways but no..i don’t eat everyrhing with it!

  2. I’ve often said that if I had a superpower it would be the ability to suspend judgment from the human race. Just imagine…. 🙂 Great article!

  3. Such a wonderful reminder. I have a ZERO tolerance for stereotyping.

  4. It’s so important to challenge our own thoughts and biases… an important path to growth. Thanks.

  5. Yes, so easy to fall into that trap and make judgement. Have not yet figured out to not yet do this in every day life. One on one it is easier for me because I can pick up on the individuals energy. But in a larger group I pick up the energy of the collective and unfortunately that is how the stereotype has been formed anyways. A lot of similar experiences coming together manifested that ‘stamp’ . I have to be careful on my part to stop feeding the negative.

  6. The first photo is so telling of stereotypes. It’s important to be mindful of how experiences and especially the media perpetuate these stereotypes.

  7. Perfect photo to illustrate the meaning of your post!….as usual! “Only one is a convicted felon”…beautiful! Love the visual!

  8. Great post and you make great points above! I absolutely love the picture you chose of Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg to prove your point!! 🙂 I love your quote, “Stereotypes & stigmas are just judgments in disguise.”

  9. Great post- and so true. We form out opinions based on our own past experiences.

  10. I am Jamaican but I don’t have 4 jobs! Lol. This is a great post Deanna. We judge so much by our stereotypes

  11. I completely agree, we must learn to overcome our prejudices 🙂

  12. Fabulous post! I definitely agree that many people are judged every day by stereotypes and it’s awful. I believe that TV, movies, and media have a lot to do with that. We should always get to know someone and not pass judgement on them.

  13. I think we all have preconceived ideas about certain things and people. It makes it quick and easy to move on in our mind. It’s the reality we’ve created. I agree that you can’t judge someone by a stereotype. We’re all individuals and should be treated as such.

    • Yes, Deborah, there is such violence and unfair judgments based on these preconceived ideas we hold. We are all individuals and should be treated as such…I agree! -Deanna

  14. Dov Shapira says:

    A stereotype is a thought that can be adopted about specific types of individuals or certain ways of doing things. These thoughts or beliefs may or may not accurately reflect reality.

    Stereotyping is the easy way to define a person without actually doing any serious thinking or caring

    • Dov, I like how you put it, that “Stereotyping is the easy way to define a person without actually doing any serious thinking or caring”. That really hits home with me. We need to think and care more! -Deanna

  15. Great points. On the one hand it’s important to understand that we all hold prejudices – it’s our brain’s way of making shortcuts. But the pain, damage and danger is if we’re not aware of our prejudices and we don’t challenge them when they come up for us. Those thoughts and opinions we hold inform our actions – and our actions have an impact on the world around us.

  16. Great post. I always liked the quote of Martin Luther King, Jr.: “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” I don’t want to be a fool.

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